For college football players, training camp is no walk in the park.
With a little over a week before the first game of the season, the Shippensburg University football team has been practicing nonstop in the August weather.
However, players are not the only ones fighting blood, sweat and tears to prepare for football season.
The Shippensburg University Red Raider marching band, also recently proclaimed as the “12th man” of the Raiders, has been hard at work to ensure that its performances this season are at the best they can be to support the football team and entertain audiences.
Just before classes start, the band endures nine demanding days of band camp, which is not considered a laughing matter as depicted in the “American Pie” films.
The majority of these nine days consists of practices lasting from 8:30 a.m. until 10 p.m. or later, with one of these days lasting until midnight.
Each band member is required to learn and memorize his or her appointed positions on the football field for each song performed.
With five different songs this season, it takes a lot of practice in order to perfect the band’s constantly changing formations throughout the show.
Add the memorization of music, good posture marching technique, possible visuals throughout the show and band members can be considered extremely skilled multitaskers.
Band director Trevor Famulare, who is in his 13th year working with the band, believes that the preparation for band camp is more difficult than band camp itself.
From November through the beginning of August every year, Famulare and the rest of the band staff are constantly buying merchandise, selecting songs and drills, and keeping track of who will be joining the band.
With approximately 157 members, it can be quite difficult to keep organization in the band.
As crazy as it is to work with such a large band, Famulare’s favorite part of being a director is working with each of the members.
“The band’s willingness to always do a great job makes me want to work harder with them,” Famulare said.
“No matter how many years go by, and no matter who comes and goes, it’s always a joy to work with this band.”
With a very diverse field show this season, Famulare expects the band to bring excitement to the audience.
Along with fast-paced, electrifying portions of the show, there is also a lot of soft, calming music. With so many changes of pace in the show, Famulare has high hopes of emotionally impacting the crowd.
After the Raiders took the No. 1 spot in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference Eastern Division (PSAC East), a huge target was not only placed on them but on the band as well.
“We’ve created a monster with this band, because now there is more pressure to make sure that we support this monster of a team properly,” Famulare said.
“With every passing year, this band is growing and becoming more recognized, not only by fans and bands but by other coaches as well.”
With high expectations for a great season, the Red Raider marching band is working hard and looking forward to supporting the football team at games.
Win or lose, the 12th man will always be there on the field to cheer on the team.