|Diane S. Garber, head of Technical Services librarian at the Ehrhorn Law Library, playing the marimba in 1983.|
Liberty University marching band alumni are invited to jump back into the college beat at the Homecoming football game this weekend. The game kicks off the Spirit of the Mountain band reunion, and all alumni of Liberty’s band program are invited to reprise their instrumental role on the field.
The marching band will be playing “Moondance” during the halftime show, a tune that many alumni played while at Liberty. The finger-snapping, pop-jazz classic by Van Morrison has been made popular as of late by Michael Buble.
“Basically, the alumni will be on the sideline for the first half of the band’s show and then walk out onto the field to play that tune with us,” said alumnus and Director of Bands Dr. Stephen Kerr (’82). “We will play ‘Moondance’ while standing in place, so it is easy for the alumni to jump back into things.”
Immediately following the game, a band reunion dinner will be held in the executive dining room of Reber Thomas Dining Hall.
Liberty’s marching band was formed in 1977 with a handful of students. That same year Ray Locy was appointed band director and charged with bringing the small program to maturity.
Under Locy’s direction the band expanded and began performing on exciting stages, including the halftime show for a National Football League game and the 1983 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City.
“We had a first-class experience,” Garber said. “We got to tour New York City and the Statue of Liberty and then we played ‘Mambo’ from West Side Story and ‘On Broadway’ in the parade.”
Diane Garber (Sullivan), a band alumnus and marimba/xylophone player, said Locy is a perfectionist.
“He’s very gracious and creative, but he wanted us to do well in everything we did,” she said.
The band also began developing its sound and direction under Locy by playing tunes easily recognizable to its main audience: sports fans. When Kerr succeeded Locy in 2000 he continued to improve the quality of the program.
“The band really has become more contemporary in its flavor and more in keeping with modern drum corps,” Kerr said. “We have really developed the front ensemble and the shows are quite complex now. We have also added electronics, which gives us a more contemporary sound.”
Every spring semester Kerr sits down with band leadership to brainstorm ideas for the following football season’s show. This year’s theme is “iShuffle: Stuck on Replay,” and is a combination of 13 popular songs.
“It’s really a mixture of many genres, because most people today are very eclectic in their musical taste,” Kerr said.