While marching in a storied band program with years of history and tradition can be a great experience, being a founding member of a new marching band can be equally exciting and special. The students marching this fall in the Kentucky Christian University (KCU) Marching Knights will have the chance to build a program in its inaugural year.
KCU, a small university in Grayson, Ky., started its football team in 2008 and is now following up with a marching band. “This year for the band, my goals are to develop that we’re an entertainment band that is fun for the students,” says director Tracy Schumann. “I want to make it so that students find it pleasant and exciting, not to say that we don’t work hard. I want to develop a level of excellence that will increase throughout the years.”
Schumann travelled to area high schools to recruit interested students. “We’re able to scholarship our players and offer the same amounts that our football team gets,” he says. “Up to $40,000 over 4 years—even for players who are not majoring in music.”
This year the band includes a full battery and pit and limited winds—for a total of 22 students. They will perform five shows this season, including two in conjunction with local high school bands, using both a chair and a glide step. During the band’s nine-day band camp, members learned both marching styles, and four flutists learned completely new instruments.
Within the next few years, the band hopes to grow in numbers, add a color guard and hire a full-time band director. In the spring they plan to have some small ensembles, a basketball pep band and a concert band including members of the community.
“I have just been really pleased to see how well my students play,” Schumann says. “I didn’t know if we had critical mass to actually do an adequate performance, but as the students got here for band camp and really applied themselves, I’ve been tickled to see that they’re doing an excellent job.”