The Shippensburg University Marching Band (SUMB) put on their first halftime performance since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic at the football game last Saturday. Their 2021 show titled “Rise Above” aims to inspire perseverance, and encapsulate the challenges put forth by the pandemic. The band itself faced many setbacks over the past 18 months, only practicing in small, sectional groups with no real opportunities for performance.
Despite the break, the SUMB took the field with remarkable energy and their sound seemed to fill the entire campus as if they never left. Drum majors Juliana Baumgardner, Bryce Fisher and Chris Lehman lead the group as they performed “The New Moon in the Old Moon’s Arms” by Michael Kamen, “Birth of a Hero” by Two Steps from Hell, and “Zombie” by The Cranberries for an enthusiastic crowd.
The show was truly an inspiring one, and many of the band members felt a similar rush from their performance, especially those who had not yet received a full marching band experience. “I was so nervous before the game, but it was so amazing to finally be making music again. I finally feel like a family,” sophomore Allyson Ritchey said, a member of the low brass section. Ritchey is one of many “Rookie 2.0’s,” or those who joined the marching band last year but never had the opportunity to perform in front of large crowds due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Returning members also expressed their excitement surrounding the upcoming season. “Before marching into Seth Grove Stadium fully uniformed with my drum on my chest, I couldn’t help but get a little emotional. I couldn’t believe it had been two years since myself and the rest of my SUMB family had performed together,” Livv Faenza, junior drumline member said. “The adrenaline rush I experienced stepping out onto that field in front of a crowd full of such supportive SU fans was incredible. I am beyond blessed and thankful to be back doing what I love with some of my favorite people.”
Being able to finally experience both music and people again is a gift. This first of many performances was certainly one that these students and fans will not forget.
The band travels to Clarion University next week to support the Raiders football team. To learn more about the SUMB and other ensembles, visit their social media pages @shipuband.