Meet the Band

Meet the Band

Meet the band: Dr. Arris Golden, Associate Director

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Dr. Arris Golden – Assistant Director of Bands
Associate Director, Spartan Marching Band

WHAT ARE YOU EXCITED ABOUT FOR THE 2018 SEASON?

I am excited about the shows that we have planned for the group, but I am even more excited to work with the students and staff of the SMB!

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE PART OF THE SMB?

Two parts actually. The camaraderie and community that exists within the SMB as well as the traditions that make the SMB the group it is.

WHAT BRINGS YOU BACK TO MSU?

The opportunity to be involved with a total band program that is progressive, that is on the cutting edge both artistically and musically. Also, the opportunity to work within the MSU College of Music, was not an opportunity I could refuse.

WHAT ARE YOU EAGER TO BRING TO THE BAND IN YOUR NEW ROLE?

I am very much looking forward to creating new musical arrangements for the SMB and Spartan Brass. I am also looking forward to working with Dr. Thornton and the rest of our instructional staff in creating presentations that are both exciting and innovative.

WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR THOSE NEW TO THE SMB?

Get involved and get to know people ASAP! The SMB is filled with amazing people from all around the MSU campus. Getting to know them means that you are not just a member of the SMB, you are also a member of the Spartan family.

TO READ MORE ABOUT DR. GOLDEN, CHECK OUT HER BIO!
https://www.music.msu.edu/faculty/profile/arris

Meet the band: Lupe Dominguez, Administrative Assistant

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TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT YOURSELF

I am a graduate of MSU (Public Administration and Public Policy, History 2011 ) and am the proud mom of a great 10 year old son, Aiden, who I am sure will be seen around the office once in a while. I am an avid reader, and am a HUGE Harry Potter fan! I have a book blog I run, am a co-moderator of a book group on Goodreads, and am a co-host of a book club that meets every other month. When I’m not reading, I’m running Aiden around to his various sports activities and going on all kinds of field trips with him.

WHAT ARE YOU EXCITED ABOUT IN YOUR NEW POSITION?

I am so excited to be in this position because I basically get to surround myself with the one of the things I love (band) and those I’ve always admired (the Band). One of my friends, as I was describing my job, interrupted me and said, “So basically, this is your dream job” and I had to stop and think about it and say, “Huh, you know what? You’re absolutely right!”

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE THING ABOUT MSU?

My favorite thing about MSU is just the campus. This campus, to me, is the most beautiful place. I love the sense of community that we have here and how we are able to spread that to not only East Lansing, but the greater Lansing area as a whole. I’ve been part of the MSU community since I was a child, my mother worked here and I had other family members who worked/work here as well, and so I feel a deep connection to MSU and East Lansing. I absolutely love this place.

HOW HAS MUSIC BEEN A PART OF YOUR LIFE PRIOR TO THIS?

I’ve been a musician of some kind since I was 10 years old, between choir, a brief stint in orchestra and band. I played the flute, mainly, but self-taught myself the oboe and alto saxophone, in hopes of joining the SMB my senior year of high school. I’ve always been a HUGE fan of the SMB, watching practices and staying for post-game shows during football season.

Meet the band: Jaren Scoggins, Drum Major

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Jaren Scoggins – Drum Major
4th Year, Grand Ledge

WHAT ARE YOU EXCITED ABOUT FOR THE 2018 SEASON?

Helping the freshmen grow throughout the season. One of my favorite things about being in the band is seeing the progression of the band and the freshmen from the beginning of the season to the end.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE PART OF THE SMB?

It’s impossible to choose one, but I’d say performing in Spartan Stadium. The energy that the audience puts out is electric and I love how loud the stadium gets when the band kicksteps out during pregame.

WHY DID YOU AUDITION FOR THE BAND?

I had the opportunity to see the SMB up close every year in high school at the Grand Ledge Marching Band Exhibition. The wall of sound that the band makes blew my mind and I knew it was something I had to be part of.

WHAT HAVE YOU LEARNED THROUGH BEING A PART OF THE SMB?

I learned different ways to lead and teach. People learn in a lot of different ways and you have to be able to identify which ways of teaching will help different people learn to be an effective leader.

WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR THOSE NEW TO THE SMB?

Use every opportunity to just take in the moment. Your 4 or 5 years in college will fly by, and the marching band seasons will go by much quicker. Enjoy the moment because it will be over before you realize it.

Devon Davidson: Merging music and business

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SMB IN THE CAREER WORLD

The college experience is a transformative time for many people. Opportunities to participate in campus activities are significant in providing skills and experiences that are foundational in future employment. For many, participation in the Spartan Marching Band is formative is shaping leadership, communication, and life-skills. An added bonus is when students are able to connect these skills immediately through their schooling or summer opportunities, like internships. As we begin the fall 2018 season, we are going to take a look at some ways our members apply their experience in the SMB in real-world.

Devon Davidson is a trombone squad leader in the SMB and, this summer, he has worked as a Legal Audit Intern for GreenStone Farm Credit Services. As a squad leader, Devon teaches and reinforces marching fundamentals and leads a squad of four during pregame and in parades. In his role as legal audit intern, he works with Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA) data making sure the company complies with regulations. Additionally, he assists in the financial reporting group with monthly financial reports.

We asked Devon about his time in each organization and how his experiences relate.

WHAT SIMILARITIES ARE SHARED BETWEEN YOUR LEADERSHIP POSITION IN THE SMB AND YOUR WORK WITH GREENSTONE FARM CREDIT SERVICES?

Many similarities they share is in marching band you have to pay extreme attention to details and this is also true when working with large data sets such as the HMDA data. Another obstacle is that when trying to teach another person how something is suppose to be done or how something works you have to explain it in many different ways. This is especially true with teaching new marchers as everyone learns things differently. I use this in my internship because not everyone understands data results the same way. Some people are more graph oriented but others may just want to see the numbers behind the graphs. When explaining your process you have to explain it differently depending on how the person you are talking to learns the information. Effective communication is key in both marching band and at GreenStone. This allows everyone to understand what is being done and how to get to that point.

HOW HAS YOUR TIME IN THE SMB ENABLED YOU TO BE MORE EFFECTIVE IN YOUR INTERNSHIP?

In the SMB you have to learn how to manage your time extremely well between class, exams and marching. Learning how to manage my time carefully over the past few years in the SMB has greatly helped me balance my time between projects at work. Also paying close attention to details and being disciplined when working is a great skill that has been refined by the SMB. The band has also helped me with my communication skills. Being able to communication and teach in different ways and help people understand is a huge benefit on the field and in the work force.

WERE THERE ANY UNUSUAL SKILLS THAT YOU GAINED FROM YOUR TIME IN THE SMB THAT WERE SURPRISINGLY HELPFUL IN YOUR INTERNSHIP?

Being able to think quickly and effectively has helped me pick up on new information quicker. As a marcher you need to be able to multitask and adapt quickly to maintain uniformity and this helped with my transition into my first internship.

HOW DO YOU SEE YOUR TIME IN THIS INTERNSHIP AND THE SMB EFFECTING YOUR FUTURE EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES?

This internship has given me tons of new skills that I can use in my future careers. My co-workers have shown me many new programs and process to help manage data and to work effectively within a farm credit system. The SMB and music as a whole has taught me how to be disciplined and function well under pressure. It has also advanced my communication skills and has prepared me for future success no matter what career path I choose. Also, the fan base and alumni base have built a strong network for me in my future goals in life.

TO LEARN MORE ABOUT DEVON’S INTERNSHIP AND HIS TIME WITH GREENSTONE, CHECK OUT HIS ARTICLE!

http://www.greenstonefcs.com/newsandmedia/greenstoneblog/Lists/Posts/Post.aspx?ID=345

Meet the band: Taylor Evon, Vice President

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Taylor Evon – Band Vice President
4th Year, Ithaca, Michigan

WHAT ARE YOU EXCITED ABOUT FOR THE 2018 SEASON?
I’m most excited about meeting all the new first year members coming into the band. Playing a role in their development is something I’ve enjoyed the past few years. Everyone comes in eager to learn and carry on our traditions.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE PART OF THE SMB?
My favorite part about the SMB is the sense of family everyone has with one another. It’s a big group, but if you ever need any help or advice someone is always willing to help. Whether you know people well or not, everyone is willing to help.

WHY DID YOU AUDITION FOR THE BAND?
I auditioned for the band because of the deep-rooted history and traditions the SMB has. The staff is historically excellent and I wanted to be a part of a group that was the best of the best.

WHAT HAVE YOU LEARNED THROUGH BEING A PART OF THE SMB?
I have learned that you can always do more. You can always be a better marcher, musician, and person. You should always seek to lend a helping hand, improve yourself, and learn all you can.

WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR THOSE AUDITIONING FOR OR NEW TO THE SMB?
The advice to new members I have is to take risks and put yourself out there. If you do that, you won’t have any regrets. Breathe. It seems so simple but taking a deep breath when you are nervous goes a long way. Be open. Be open minded and seek to learn from others. And lastly, have fun! This is such a
special and unique experience… make the most of it! You are only in the SMB for a short period of time

Meet the band: John Scharf, President

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John Scharf – Band President (second from left above)
4th Year, Lake Orion

WHAT ARE YOU EXCITED ABOUT FOR THE 2018 SEASON?

I am most excited for what the band can bring in 2018. We had a great start with Dr. Thornton and It will be exciting to see the continued growth. We have a planned trip to perform at Bands of America. The production for that show is going to be very fun and I’m intrigued to see the creative juices that go into the show. Lastly, there is also a huge buzz around the football team. When 19 of the 22 starters are set to return for the football team, that always draws interest.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE PART OF THE SMB?

My favorite part of being in the SMB would have to be all the opportunities we have to perform and cultivate relationships. Some of my life-long friends were met through this ensemble. The support we have from each other and the community is truly what gives this group a family-like environment.

WHY DID YOU AUDITION FOR THE BAND?

Growing up, I knew that the MSU drumline was one of the top college drumlines in the country. A handful of my instructors, and friends had been a part of it and I did not want to miss out. It was also a great opportunity to learn from Dr. Jon Weber, someone I had known about since I was 14. Since then, Dr. Weber has been one of the largest influences throughout my time here at Michigan State.

WHAT HAVE YOU LEARNED THROUGH BEING A PART OF THE SMB?

The SMB has taught me that this group is much like a strong tree. The roots are strong, and we continue to grow taller and stronger. It is a welcoming group with individuals that will go out of their way to make sure your experience is one that you won’t forget.

WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR THOSE AUDITIONING FOR OR NEW TO THE SMB?

My advice to those auditioning would be to have fun. Auditioning is very scary, I understand that. But, the more you can be yourself and allow your personality to shine through, the more enjoyable it will be. Everyone is rooting for you and we all want to see you at your best. Also, if you know people in the band, reach out! Those people are good resources and would be more than willing to help out.

Meet the band: Nikki Sanford, Drum Major

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Nikki Sanford – Drum Major
5th Year, Traverse City

WHAT ARE YOU EXCITED ABOUT FOR THE 2018 SEASON?

I am excited about this next season as the leadership team has already begun preparing for it. We have big shows planned and always consider student feedback to further improve our band. I am looking forward to the big games that will be held in Spartan Stadium as well as our travel to BOA.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE PART OF THE SMB?

My favorite part about the SMB is the people and the support from the community. I have made some of the best friends in my life through this organization. We all work hard towards a common goal bigger than ourselves which is something that I am very proud to be a part of. On game day, our hard work pays off through our performances and the love that we receive from the community and alumni.

WHY DID YOU AUDITION FOR THE BAND?

I auditioned for the band because of its stellar reputation for a high standard of excellence and the community support that comes with being in the band. It was a great way to be welcomed into Spartan culture before school even began. I feel like I am giving back to my school while participating in music in a way that is unlike anything I had prior to the SMB.

WHAT HAVE YOU LEARNED THROUGH BEING A PART OF THE SMB?

I learned that SMB culture runs deep throughout history. Alumni who come back for games or see our band jackets share stories of their experiences in the band. The tradition of the band creates a shared bond between generations of people.

WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR THOSE NEW TO THE SMB OR THOSE PLANNING TO AUDITION?

My advice for those auditioning would be to come in prepared well musically because we have high expectations given the number of people who come to audition. I also would advise for you to have an open mind and be ready to learn about marching technique, especially if it differs from your past experience. For those new to the band, be open to meet new people. The vet members are thrilled to meet you and be a mentor to you. Be ready to work extremely hard and come prepared. With these things in mind, you will have a successful and rewarding season ahead!

Meet the Band: Baritones

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The Spartan Baritone section is comprised of eighteen dedicated members. As one of the smallest sections in the band there is a true family-like connection among the group. The section is led by section leader Alyssa Wauldron, and squad leaders Jacob “Pancakes” McCormick, Kevin Eccles, Mark Elinski, and Jacob Topp. Each section in the Spartan Marching Band is divided into squads, a four or five person marching unit. The Baritones make up squads 39, 40, 41, and 42 of the 54 squads in the SMB.

Academically, the section represents eight different colleges at MSU: the College of Engineering (7), College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (3), College of Natural Science (2), College of Music (2), Lyman Briggs College (1), the Broad College of Business (1), College of Social Science (1), and the College of Communication Arts and Sciences (1). Five members of the section are in the Honors College.

History and tradition are at the core of the Spartan Marching Band and are certainly a central component to the Spartan Baritones. The section has a storied history and numerous long-standing traditions of its own. The Baritones are particularly connected with the greater history of the SMB and Leonard Falcone, the beloved father of the MSU Band. Falcone was director of bands from 1927 through 1967 and was a world renowned virtuoso on the baritone horn. Take a listen to the MSU Shadows and you will hear a beautiful weaving baritone line penned by Falcone to showcase the warm low brass tone of the instrument.

Among the section’s most well-known traditions is “Hooah.” In 1988, the section was looking for something unique to put on its section shirts. Baritone squad leader Jim Starkey, who was also in ROTC, suggested “Hooah” as a possibility. The word is a military battle cry and slang for the “best of the best.” The section adopted “Hooah” that season and it caught on very quickly. Since 1988, “Hooah” has flourished and evolved from an exclamation and motto into a nickname for the section as a whole, the individual members of the section, the instruments themselves, and so much more.

Spartan Hooahs *always* wear shorts. Since 1985, and beginning with a dare between friends, the section wears shorts to every rehearsal no matter the weather. If you join the SMB for a rehearsal in late November with snow on the ground, you will certainly find the committed Spartan Hooahs sporting shorts in the bitter cold along with hats, scarves, and gloves.

In 1996, the Spartan Hooahs adopted their beloved section mascot – the rubber duck. You will find a rubber duck hidden in many section photos, including the formal photos taken around Sparty during preseason. The Hooahs have a number of smaller traditions as well. For a decade, the section has sang the song “Sailing for Adventure” from the film Muppets Treasure Island on every bus trip with the band.

In 2013, the section started the popular pirate defense cheer that accompanies the drumline during football games. The pirate cheer has since spread to much of the rest band. The Hooahs also have competed annually since 2011 in the Hoo-La Cup against the Otlas (alto saxophones), a series in which the Hooahs have reigned victorious with a 5-2 overall record. Additionally, during the section’s huddle on Adams Field on gameday, the Hooahs prepare for the game ahead with their “What Makes the Grass Grow” chant, which has been a staple since 2007.

The longest standing and perhaps most well-known tradition of the Spartan Baritones is Faygo! The section introduced Spartan Stadium to its rendition of the Faygo Boat Song, arranged by Matt and Andy James, in Fall 1976. Faygo, originally performed by the section during football games, would prompt the entirety of Spartan Stadium to stand, sway, and sing along. The section now performs Faygo on Adams Field as part of its gameday warm up routine. The Spartan Hooahs celebrated 40 years of Faygo in 2016 with a large gathering of alumni and a Faygo delivery truck brought from Faygo’s Detroit headquarters especially for the celebration. Each member of the section has a favorite flavor of Faygo Pop which they declare their first year in the band, the current section’s favorites are: Orange (5), Rock N’ Rye (4), Creme Soda (4), Root Beer (3), Red Pop (1), and Arctic Sun (1).

The abundance of traditions and storied history of the Spartan Hooahs make the section an incredible group to know, befriend, and be a part of. With an incredible flair for humor and a consistently positive attitude, the Hooahs are a section and a family like no other in Spartan Nation.
Go Green! HOOAH!

Meet the Band: Featured Twirlers

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The 2017 Spartan Marching Band Feature Twirlers are Nicole Harris and Taylor Scheffer. Senior Nicole started twirling at the age of 5 and has been twirling for 16 years. Sophomore Taylor started twirling at the age of 9 and has been twirling for 10 years. Both women are members of the Twirl-M’s baton twirling group out of Walled Lake.

Rhonda Muscaro, along with various other coaches, have instilled their love of baton twirling from a young age. Nicole and Taylor have competed on the same team winning More than nine national titles. Each summer, the twirlers train every day in preparation to compete at the baton twirling national championships held at Notre Dame University. Once they return, they immediately head right into preseason training for the SMB.

smb twirlersThe twirlers started off preseason this year teaching Taylor the traditions of the previous feature twirlers. These traditions include the fight song, pregame, and series. These are traditions that the feature twirlers hold dear to their hearts because they have been passed down from generation to generation starting in 1972.

The most unique aspect of the feature twirler position is having the ability to choreograph their own routines for halftime and postgame shows. The twirlers have multiple sections that they create at the beginning of the season, and throughout the process of learning halftime, they mix and match the sections to create a combined routine. The routine changes every week and includes 1, 2 and 3 batons.

Although choreographing individual routines is exciting, the best part about being a Michigan State feature twirler is getting to twirl with one another. At the start of every season, the feature twirlers create a duet or multiple duet routines that they will perform throughout the season. Both Nicole and Taylor found this to be an extremely easy process because of their long history of twirling together. Both girls describe themselves as having the same twirling style and process of choreographing.

Even though the twirlers are a section of two, they find ways to integrate with the other sections of the band. Every game day the twirlers tailgate with the trombone section on Adams field. They also form a section with the drum majors and call themselves “Baton Squad.”

This is a bittersweet year for Nicole as it is her last year with the SMB, but for Taylor, her journey just began and she is excited to carry on the traditions.

Meet the Band: Trumpets

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The Spartan Marching Band trumpet section is the biggest section in the band, standing at 59 members for the 2017 year. The three trumpet section leaders, fifth-year senior Peter Richey, senior Bradley Arnold and junior Shannon Sheldrick, are joined by 11 other squad leaders: Lindsay Culp, Joey Swinkey, Richard Lewis, Alex Burns, Jacob Bonesteel, Adam Johanknecht, Emily Garman, Jake Bronson, Kyle Hanson, David York and Michael Perry.

The top eight players in the section are chosen to play the E-flat cornet, more commonly known as the “eeph.” The eephs have their own traditions, including their own Series and “Eeph Games,” which you can observe on game days when the band is in arcs on Adams Field.

Being such a large section, it can be difficult to bond, but the trumpets make sure to do so through a few group outings throughout the season. Every year to celebrate the end of preseason, they take a trip to Cracker Barrel and then go to IHOP after the Spartan Spectacular rehearsal in late October. Additionally, they go to Uncle John’s Cider Mill for cider and donuts during the fall.

The trumpets also have some very serious traditions, including playing “MSC” – Michigan State College’s original alma mater – on Adams Field before our march to the stadium. It is one of their most prevalent customs because it is a great way for the listeners as well as the players to remember some of the history behind the Spartan Marching Band, as well as to reflect on how far we have come.

The trumpet section includes many different personalities, but one thing is for sure: they will always be sure to greet you with a friendly “Hullo!” should you come across them.