The Daily Gamecock

USC Band invites all students with prior experience to play at Spring Game

Future director’s recruiting plan part of ‘new vision’ for USC band

If you’re a USC student — undergraduate or graduate — and have marching band experience, dust off that tuba because “The Mighty Sound of the Southeast” is inviting you to play at the Spring Football Game on April 9.

Students just have to show up for check-in at 10:30 that morning at the new Band Building on 324 Sumter St. An open house will be held for students to check out the new facility, refreshments will be available on the practice field and free Spring Game T-shirts will be available while supplies last.

At 11 a.m., the band will have a 30-minute rehearsal before pizza.

Afterward, the players will head to Williams-Brice Stadium to begin the pregame music at 12:30 p.m. and will play for the duration of the game.

“Typically, only the members in the marching band over the past season were given the opportunity to come to this,” said Rebecca Phillips, the current associate band director. “What we’ve decided to do this year is open up this event to anyone who is a USC student who has had any experience with marching band. And by coming to this they are not committing to being in the marching band next year, they are just showing that they have interest in what we do so they have an opportunity to make a decision whether they’d like to be with us.”

Phillips is now set to become head of USC’s band next semester after the university moved current director Steve McKeithen to another position. The move came after President Harris Pastides formed a commission to review the marching band in response to criticism.

“If students aren’t comfortable playing, like they haven’t played in a while but they want to come just be part of us, that’s absolutely fine,” Phillips said. “As long as they have had previous marching band experience; this is not just an open house for anybody, everybody who has never played an instrument.”

Phillips said there will be no test of participants’ musical aptitude and that she’ll just ask them to be honest.

“South Carolina is a wonderful state for bands, and it’s known for having great high school bands,” Phillips said. “We have a lot of kids on this campus who participated in their high school bands but decided, for whatever reason, that in college they weren’t going to be in band.”

Phillips also pointed out that band members automatically get in free to regular and post-season games and get great seats. She described the move as one in a series of recruiting events aimed at pursuing a new vision for the band.

“The students and the fans want to see our marching band bigger and louder, and it starts with who we have here on our campus,” Phillips said. “It’s the students we already have here who understand Carolina football and understand the spirit of this university, and we want to get them involved first.”


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