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Spirit of Stony Brook Marches in their Fifth Homecoming Ever

The Spirit of Stony Brook performs for the halftime show at one of the Seawolves first games of the season. (Kenneth Ho / The Statesman)

If you’re one of the people who considers Stony Brook to be a “suitcase school,” you have yet to witness Stony Brook’s marching band perform. The rumble of drums, the clish-clash of cymbals and the first-rate precision: the group looks like majestic red soldiers. They sound like an in-sync armada.

They’re a family marching to the beat of one drum. And with more than 160 members, they dominate whatever arena they are thrown into.

“This is our home,” says Megan Spicer, 20, a journalism major. She is the first female drum major for the marching band. She is positioned at the head of the band, and is responsible for leading most practices and performances.

Spicer has been marching since the 6th grade. Initially, she did not intend to join the band when she came to college.

“I wanted to go to college and experience it as it is,” Spicer said. “I didn’t want to march.”

After doing some research, however, Spicer found that the Stony Brook band was the  only college marching band on Long Island. In fact, it is one of only five college marching bands in all of New York state. Always being pushed towards music (and her new shiny silver saxophone) by her mother, Spicer eventually chose Stony Brook.

“I think my mom just wanted a reason to go to football games,” Spicer laughs.

This October particularly, the football stadium was more packed than ever as the marching band prepared to show their homecoming spirit. Founded in 2006, the band performed this year in it’s fifth homecoming ever.

“Homecoming is a big deal for the band. We understand that the crowd is going to be much larger,” Spicer said.  “For a lot of the alumni, there was no marching band when they were students here.”

John Leddy, the official director of the band and writer of the ever popular “Go! Fight! Win!” chant, couldn’t agree more about the importance of homecoming.

“We know that this will be the largest home crowd of the year and we are happy to play in front of a large Stony Brook contingent,” Leddy said. “We also look forward to seeing our own alumni again. I like to encourage our students to stay involved with the band as the alumni have done.”

Still, no matter how rowdy the crowd ended up getting during homecoming, the spirited marching band always knew how to direct the enthusiasm to the game. All at once, the roar of the powerful melody echoed through the stadium. One band member screamed out “Whaaaaaat” similar to rapper Lil John.

Wolfie felt the beat too, and began to cartwheel. For numerous people in the crowd, the prideful music took over and forced them out of their seats and into a dancing frenzy.

“People’s ears perk up. You can’t ignore us. We’re a force,” Spicer said.

Fellow band member Jeff Arscott agrees. A 19-year-old, computer science major, he joined the band because of his love of the trumpet. “It’s a fun way to continue playing the music that I love and a great way to get the crowd involved too,” he said.

Chris VanHoulen, 23, a Red Zone member, says that, in a word, the band generates “motivation” for the football players and their supporters. In fact, more and more band members are now cheering for the lacrosse, soccer and hockey teams.

The Stony Brook marching band was even invited to perform on Extreme Makeover: Home Edition this past summer. Though it was only about 15 seconds of fame, the band stood tall and loved every minute of it.

Today, they aspire to march in the annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, a dream that has to be put on the back burner until they build up their band resume, Spicer remembers watching the parade and thinking, “We have to do this.”

Unfortunately they’re “not too close” just yet. Nonetheless, the mob of red, blue and white will continue to strive for success, starting with cheering for the university sports teams.

“When you’re up there, you forget the crowd is listening,” said Spicer. “It’s you, the band, and the music. Nothing else seems to matter.”

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  • M

    Megan SpicerOct 21, 2010 at 1:54 pm

    Hey Dima,
    This completely went over my head and I didn’t realize that I was wrong until someone pointed it out to me and I looked it over again.

    Reply
  • D

    Dmitri KrassovskiOct 21, 2010 at 10:43 am

    Fifth homecoming

    Reply
    • F

      Frank PosillicoOct 21, 2010 at 11:45 am

      Thanks for the correction, according to a drum major this was the fifth but alums have only marched in four. Our mistake.

      Reply