Marching band impresses at Catholic University
The crowd yelled together, counting the number of pushups that sophomore Ola Ekundayo completed on a board elevated by Catholic University cheerleaders. After 20, the cheerleaders, along with the JC band, cheered as Ekundayo ran back to the bleachers and picked up her trombone.
Ekundayo and the rest of the marching band attended a Catholic University of America football game Sept. 29. The Catholic University Cardinals played the Hampden-Sydney Tigers, winning 41-28. The band played and cheered during the game and performed their halftime show.
“We have a band on campus, and they are doing a great job of organizing and growing, but they are still in their early stages of development, so we needed to look outside the university walls to find a band. With [JC] being so close to Catholic University, we felt it was a natural fit for us to reach out and extend an invitation to see if the band would mind coming out to a game,” Assistant Athletic Director for Communications Mike Stagnitta said.
A band playing for first downs, time-outs, kick-offs, and touchdowns was a welcome change for Cardinals cheerleader sophomore Reagan Murphy.
“[The band] kept the energy up, absolutely. It’s refreshing to have a band here with us because we don’t have one. I had a big band in high school, so it’s nice,” Murphy said.
The cheerleading coach allowed Ekundayo to do the pushups on the board as part of a tradition when the Cardinals score a touchdown.
“They had a cheer that they do [after a touchdown] and then they have a cheerleader get up on a board in the air… and she does pushups for however many points they have. Mr. Bolden asked if one of the band members, me, could do it, and they said I could, so I went down while they were doing their mini cheer… and I did it and it was fun. They lifted me up and everything,” Ekundayo said. “I was so nervous because I’m afraid of heights and I was hoping that they wouldn’t drop me.”
Playing at a college football game, as opposed to a JC game, exposed the band to a new audience and energy level.
“The crowd was bigger and much more into what we were doing. Being directly in front of the Catholic University cheerleaders allowed us the opportunity to cheer along with them and they followed our cheers. Also, their school doesn’t have a marching band at all, so they’re not used to having a band in the stands or during halftime. People really appreciated that,” Music Department Chair Marc Bolden said.
Drum Major senior Carol Zubrowski also felt a change in attitude from playing at JC.
“I felt like we were much more appreciated because we’re not always there. They don’t have a band, so to have a band playing at quarter changes and first downs and stuff made a lot of people happy,” Zubrowski said.
Zubrowski also found humor in part of their performance. The band struggled to change their cheers to fit “Catholic University” instead of “John Carroll,” often lapsing into giggles by the end of the cheer. However, she still expressed pride in her band.
“I think we did a really good job. I mean, other than parts when trying to change our cheers to their school didn’t really work. But we did it a couple of times and eventually got it,” Zubrowski said.
Despite occasional hiccups, Stagnitta expressed nothing but appreciation and gratitude.
“College football games need a band, just like they need tailgating, face painters and cheerleaders – it’s tradition. There was a noticeable difference on Saturday with the [JC] band at the game. The songs they played throughout added to the overall atmosphere and got the crowd involved, and their halftime performance was great to listen to and watch.”
Martha Schick is Multimedia Chief for The Patriot and jcpatriot.com.