Every year, Missouri State University pride marching band leads the parade through the campus streets in feathered hats and maroon and white jackets.
Band students like Brad Jones, senior drumline player and electronic arts and audio studies major, see homecoming as an exciting day for the band.
Jones said homecoming gives the band a burst of energy, especially during the parade and game.
“There’s definitely a new level of energy,” Jones said. “We cheer louder; we play louder.”
Jones said he’s looking forward to a tradition the drumline calls heavy metal. The drummers play four bars of 16 notes, and they try to play the notes as loud as possible.
As they get to their starting point in the parade, the drumline will play heavy metal and add more bars than they played the year before.
“We’ll play like a stupid amount of heavy metal — like 115 bars,” Jones said. “I think two years ago they were like ‘On the third beat of the 176th measure, I want the entire drumline to do a 360 over your left shoulder in the middle of marching.’”
The band has a certain amount of freedom during football games.
For example, Jones said they are told only to play at specific times, but they may be allowed to perform bits of new material they have been practicing, as long as they still have a good sound.
Jones said he knew what he was getting into when coming back to band each year.
“It’s super fun,” Jones said. “Band overall is a really enjoyable experience. It’s probably the one thing that has stayed consistent for me all throughout college.”
After most of his college career with the band, Jones said he has noticed the sound quality of the band has improved. He said it may be due to Brad Snow, director of athletic bands, finding his stride after four years.
Snow said this year is a little more complicated because the band is involved in the university It’s On! event. He said the band has to go straight from the homecoming football game to the It’s On! event later that evening.
“It just adds a few more items to our plate to get ready,” Snow said.
Homecoming week for MSU’s marching band can be more time-consuming, so Snow said students have to be on top of their schedule to know where they need to be.
“We have a pretty high standard we set for ourselves in terms of level of performance,” Snow said.
The band practices every weekday for at least an hour and can often be heard by passersby.
Their practice consists of a 10-minute warmup in sections, then drills are announced by director Snow. Drills are used to practice parts of the band’s show where sections might be struggling. Rehearsal ends with the band running through the entire show.
At the end of the week, the band gathers to sing the MSU alma mater song.
“We like that we are right in the middle of campus and people can hear us,” Snow said. “It’s one of the things that motivates us on a daily basis because we are always in the public eye and onstage.”