Greensboro College Department of Music

Greensboro College Marching Pride

Article from Greensboro College Magazine - Fall/Winter 2001-2002

Greensboro College Marching Pride

"It" is the experience of the Greensboro College Marching Pride!! We'll try to put it into words for you, and photos will help, but this is one thing that must be experienced in person for a fitting appreciation.

The elite group of highly trained and amazingly talented musicians took center stage for the first time on Sept. 1, delivering a new level of excitement to the Pride's opening football game and its appreciative audience of almost 2,000 fans!

"What an AWESOME experience," said senior Justin Weik. "When they first lined up on the field and spread out in a "V" formation - showing off their shiny instruments and new uniforms - they loooked sharp. BUT," he added, "as soon as the horns started playing, I felt chills spread over my body!"

Weik went on to exclaim: "What an outstanding inaugural experience to be a part of. Such a powerful sound. Man - I can't wait for the next home game!"

Greensboro College Marching Pride

Things will never be the same at Greensboro College. It was a fun place before; now it is a FUN place. Vice President Tiffany McKillip Franks was at the opener. "I sat there thinking 'this is sooo much fun!!' And just think - we were enjoying maybe 80 football players and 45 band members, many of which might not have been here just a few years ago. It's a whole new dimension to the College!"

According to Assistant Dean of Students Cecily Crow: "The crowd gave the band a standing ovation when it took the field for the first time prior to kickoff. Then at halftime the band was VERY IMPRESSIVE. You never would have known that they had only practiced together for a few weeks."

Greensboro College Marching Pride

How can that have happened? Two words: Benjy Springs.

This amazing man, Greensboro College's concert and marching bands director, is nothing short of a band director genius. A 1981 graduate of the University of North Carolina at Greensboro School of Music, Springs was a featured soloist and lead trumpet player with UNCG's Jazz Ensemble as well as being the prinicipal trumpet player in the Wind Ensemble. After graduation, Springs became director of bands at Eastern Randolph High School, whose band program consistently received superior ratings for 20 years at jazz, concert and marching band festivals. He worked closely with colleges and universities in North Carolina to help prepare student teachers to become music educators, and he hosted student teachers every year for the past 16 years.

What's more, the man can DO what he teaches, having played trumpet behind many musical giants, including Aretha Franklin, Bob Hope, Lou Rawls, The Four Tops, The Temptations, The Spinners, The O Jays, Johnny Mathis, Clark Terry, Joe Williams, Tony Bennett, the Manhattan Transfer and Cab Calloway. He still performs with the professional North Carolina Jazz Repertory Orchestra.

Students listen and watch in awe as Springs demonstrates firsthand what he wants them to do. A consummate teacher, he is the perfect person to launch such an ambitious program at the College.

Greensboro College Marching Pride

"This makes Greensboro College one of only a handful of small, private colleges in the Southeast to offer marching and concert bands for its students," said Franks. And the marching and concert bands are not limited to music majors or minors. "Any student with a passion for music can come and continue that involvement at Greensboro College," said Franks.

The marching band will play in the fall and the concert band will play in the spring. Greensboro College might also offer a pep band, a smaller group of the marching band that would play at sports and special events. You think Hanes gym came alive in the past? Wait until this band rocks the walls!!!

Students who particpate in the marching band receive one credit in the fall and one credit in the spring. Students playing the clarinet, flute, and trumpet play their own instruments, and the College provides larger brass and percussion instruments.

Students interested in becoming a member of the Greensboro College marching and concert bands must have prior high school band experience. The band is composed of trumpets, sousaphones, mellophones, trombones, saxophones, flutes, clarinets, percussion and a color guard. Here's another bit of good news: band service scholarships are given to students who participate in the marching and concert bands.

Were the band members nervous before that opening appearance? Not according to trumpet-tooting Josh Lovings, who transferred from Chowan to join the Marching Pride band. "We had worked so hard to get ready," he said, "that we weren't nervous - just eager to hit that field!"

They certainly strut their stuff...AND play like consummate musicians. Treat yourself to some fun - check 'em out.