Oct. 10-23, 2003
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Pease drumming up interest in band
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Pease drumming up interest in band
William Pease, new director of bands, met students in Old Cabell Hall Sept. 24 to discuss U.Va.’s new marching band
Photo by Andrew Shurtleff
William Pease, new director of bands, met students in Old Cabell Hall Sept. 24 to discuss U.Va.’s new marching band.

By Jane Ford

William Pease has a game plan for U.Va.’s new marching band, but coming up with the plays will be up to the students.

William PeasesDuring a visit to Grounds in late September, Pease told more than 50 students that he is looking to them and others to take leadership roles.

Students will be involved in all areas: deciding when practices are held; acting as section leaders, color guard captains and drum majors; designing drills; selecting and composing music; helping select instruments; setting up a Web site; writing the rule book; and helping decide what the uniforms will look like.

“I am about student leadership,” he said.

Pease emphasized good attitude along with student leadership as the keys to making the band a success.

That sounded good to first-year Woody Wingfield, who waited until the last days of April before deciding which school to attend. “I was leaning toward [James Madison University] or [Virginia] Tech because they have bands,” he said. When he heard U.Va. was starting a marching band, there was no question in his mind where he would go. “This [U.Va.] was the decision,” he said.

Pease also laid out his vision. The band will not be all music majors, but instead the largest percentage will be nonmajors.

He expects band members will span a range of abilities, from those who play at a high-school-band level to semiprofessionals. “I’m the educator. It’s my job to teach them, to make them better,” he said.

He also expects students to work hard and be efficient. He emphasized that there will be no extra practices.

“Academics come first,” he said.

Students asked about styles of marching, the possibility of joining a national service fraternity and whether there would be a summer camp.

Beginning with a seven- to 10-day pre-season practice session, Pease told prospective members the band will be treated like the athletes. Housing and meals will be paid for during summer practice. When travel to away games is required, transportation and meals will not be out-of-pocket expenses. No fund raising would be required, he told them.

“It’s important that you feel special on Grounds,” he said.

Pease went on to talk about the band’s job — “to keep things going no matter whether the team is winning or losing. You need to get the whole crowd going at the same time, in unison.”

He envisions a pregame program, a halftime program and songs between plays.
“A college marching band is the identifying factor,” he said. “It’s all about the spirit and making it happen.”

As Pease concluded the meeting, he added, “I hope it becomes a big family and something you are proud to be part of.”

About 15 students grouped around Pease at the end of the session, eager to be part of the planning process.

First-year student David Broom is “totally pumped. The addition of a marching band is amazing. It will raise the spirit [at the games].”


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