School of Music establishes new marching band

Augustana band associates Peter Folliard, Larry Petersen and others have been collaborating this past summer to create The Augustana Marching Band. The group hopes the band will bring a mutual sharing of love for music and a new way to be involved.

Petersen said he thinks there are great ways for students to take advantage of this opportunity. 

“This is an opportunity for the School of Music to be central to us moving forward with this Viking Bold campaign that President Herseth Sandlin’s vision ecompasses,” Petersen said. “It makes me feel great as a musician.” 

With a marching band, the School of Music can have a larger impact and presence in athletic events and the student body.

Folliard, dean of the School of Music and conductor of the Augustana Orchestra, is the head of the Augustana Marching Band. Last January, he had a conversation with Chief Financial Officer Shannan Nelson about the feasibility of a marching band. They both agreed they could make the marching band happen and have been working together to make the plan to create it.

“At least once a week, we get together to talk about plans, and we currently have mock-up uniforms,” Folliard explained. “It’s been a process, and we are working on finding a donor.” 

A donor for the marching band could provide more financial ways to afford uniforms, instruments, equipment and more scholarships.

The marching band is organized into a three-phase plan. Phase one was to create a Fall 2020 drumline directed by percussion instructor Dan Sailer. He was a snare line member of the world champion Phantom Regiment Drum and Bugle Corps, 2007-2010, and has received snare drum accolades at DCI and PAS competitions.

The drumline practices on campus every Friday. 

“Our goal is to provide a fun environment to learn music, perform and meet others who are excited about what we do at AU,” Sailor said. 

Phase two won’t happen until 2021 due to COVID-19, but supervisors are hoping to get students on the field. The third phase is to get between 80 and 100 students to sign up. The maximum number would be 150 students.

To incoming students, the marching band will offer a $3,000 automatic yearly scholarhsip and hopes determine more to offer current students. 

At future Augie football games, the marching band would welcome the players onto the field while the band is playing the school song, pumping up the players, fans and students.

“It’s an opportunity to participate in campus life that music has been present at,” Folliard said. “The drum line being the heartbeat of fans is a big deal.” 

Petersen, assistant director of bands and music education, will be the director of the marching band. With twenty years of experience, he said he is eager to step up as the leader and to show his love for marching band. 

He said that his favorite thing about marching band as a whole is “the camaraderie of the marching band  itself. A person on the field has an individual responsibility that contributes to the whole. There are no weak links, everyone is on the same page. It is a big team effort. Everyone contributes to the big picture of the show.” 

The marching band can create a larger authentic aspect to what game day will look like. Petersen said he hopes students who know how to play an instrument and don’t yet play for Augustana try the marching band anyways. 

Players don’t need any prior Augie experience to sign up for the marching band. 

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