CCSU Marching Band is Revived After 3 Years


Savannah Moore

CCSU’s Blue Devils Marching Band in Fall 2019

Katherine Neilan, Staff Writer

Football games, pep rallies, and other sporting events are about to get more lively next semester as the Central Connecticut State University marching band makes its return after three years.

Dr. Charles Menoche, who is the Department of Music Chair, said he wanted the band’s comeback to be stronger and more structurally put together than in previous years.

“I was also advocating for having it come back but stronger, which we have,” Menoche said.

“Hence one of them being scholarships. The $50,000 scholarships are the first time we had any scholarships for marching bands.”

The marching band took a hiatus in 2020 due to COVID-19, which means the majority of instrumentalists currently on campus have not been able to participate in the band at all during their time at Central.

The essence of school spirit at home games and pep rallies has been lost due to the absence of the band, Menoche said. The band was an outlet for music and music education majors to be a part of the campus environment.

“It changes the experience when being at the games,” Menoche said. “The pep, the chanting, all those kinds of things that come in with the music for that have changed.”

Between battling cautionary efforts to limit the spread of covid, and former band directors leaving or retiring, the music department had to get things in order before the marching band returns, Menoche said.

The program is now offering $1,000 scholarships to 50 students, and the money will be split between the two semesters. The scholarships are available for students of all majors, Menoche said.

“Students who usually work in their free time are in the marching band,” Menoche said. “Either if they have to be or want to be, the scholarships help at least compensate for that and are a kind of way of saying ‘thank you’ for the contribution.”

The band is also pending approval on increased funding, which will offer more coaching staff, fielding, better equipment, and more competitive opportunities for joined members, Menoche said.

Clarinet player Diemen Duvermont, who is in his second semester at CCSU, said he will be taking advantage of the scholarship money. He said he was going to join regardless, even if he did not get the scholarship.

“The marching band is a mix between being a sport and performing arts,” Duvermont said. The thrill of perfecting a certain drill or section, and then performing it at the games is what Duvermont said he looks forward to the most.

“We love to excite the student section, and also do well at the pep rallies and football games,” Duvermont said. “Giving the football team motivation to get a touchdown and all that is what it’s all about.”

Solana Freeman, who is a second-year student, has been playing clarinet for over ten years and was a member of her high school’s marching band. She said the close-knit experience and having the opportunity to make friends while on the team is why she decided to keep playing in college.

“I liked the opportunity to get to work with people and to work on something that we all wanted to do,” Freeman said. “The competition experience is also very fun getting to meet people from other schools and basically nerd out over the same thing.”

The inviting community within the CCSU music department is only going to get better with the marching band’s return, Freeman said.

“Anyone who comes in is immediately welcomed with open arms,” Freeman said. “I think the marching band coming back will only intensify that.”

While Freeman is joining the marching band as an extracurricular activity, Duvermont said he is planning on joining the marching band to equip new skills for when he graduates and becomes a band director.

“I want to be a band director. Let’s say I learn the actual obstacles or the warm-ups, I want to use that for my actual band for when I graduate,” Duvermont said. “I want to continue learning drills, like doing sectionals.”

Duvermont plans on graduating from CCSU and getting his master’s degree at another university, so he can teach high school kids in marching band. He said especially after the pandemic, marching band directors across Connecticut have been dying out and becoming less popular.

“I want to get certified to teach high school so I can make a band and do parades and all that,” Duvermont said. “That’s my job. I want to bring the high school marching band back and make it competitive in CT.”

The music department is currently looking for a new director that has the entire package of things that the band is going to need, Menoche said.

“This person is going to be wearing multiple hats,” Menoche said. “They’re going to be conducting a concert band, they’ll be doing marching band and things like that.”

Students like Freeman and Duvermont encourage anyone interested to consider joining, saying it will be an experience you won’t forget.

“If anyone were to join the marching band, then that would be the best decision of your life,” Duvermont said. “Please join and have some fun with us.”

Edited: May 8, 2023 “The scholarships are only available for music majors. Although, non-music majors are still encouraged to join, Menoche said” changed to “The scholarships are available for students of all majors, Menoche said.”