|Volume XXIX Issue 8||October 9, 2003|
The Fire of the Carolinas: Burning with Elon
Aric Berg - Reporter
Band, horns up!"
With these commands, the air ignites with the furious sounds of trumpets screaming, saxophones swooning, drums pounding and cheers flying from the Fire of the Carolinas, Elon’s small but proud marching band. From College Coffee to football games, one cannot help but yield to the hypnotic beats of the drum line and climactic choruses of brass and woodwinds.
At the end of the summer, while most students are still home packing for their return to school and saying their good-byes, the members of the Fire of the Carolinas are already on campus, marching in blistering heat and putting up with countless bug bites. In the end, the pain is well worth it. The extra week these students spend at Elon is intense, learning and memorize music, as well as the intricate drills that come together to make the halftime shows that amuse spectators at football games.
Every year, the band has plenty of obstacles to overcome, and the 2003 marching season is no different. One of the biggest changes this year is the coming of a new band director, Tony Sawyer. Sawyer had been the assistant director of bands and athletic bands at the University of West Georgia before coming to Elon.
"I felt I’d done all I could do [at West Georgia]," said Sawyer. His search for a new place to direct stopped with Elon. "The college was enticing, and everyone was just so nice."
Despite Sawyer’s enthusiasm, he was faced with a problem. He had less than three months to do almost a year’s worth of planning for the coming marching season.
"Planning kind of stopped and started again, and we needed continuity," Sawyer said. However, with the help of students in the band, he was able to organize and plan the coming band season with ease.
Among those who helped prepare for the marching season were drum major Samantha McDaniel and band manager Greg Piel. Both McDaniel and Piel have been actively involved with the Fire of the Carolinas since they came to Elon.
"I marched all through high school, and as a music education major, with an emphasis on marching and conducting will help prepare me for my career," said McDaniel.
Piel joined the Fire of the Carolinas for a different reason. "I attended spring orientation, and saw the band table set up. I couldn’t help but stare at the (tape of the band) marching, mesmerized," he said. Though he did not play an instrument, managers were needed for the band, and Piel jumped at the opportunity. Piel was not a music major, puts a great deal of time and effort into the band. He and McDaniel work closely with Sawyer to ensure the band is always working positively and efficiently.
What future path will the band take? Sawyer said he "hope[s] to get the band more involved with exhibitions, as well as go to a few away games, to fraternize the band and bring us even closer together."
"I think Elon lacks a lot of school spirit, and I believe the band can help bring that back," said McDaniel. I want the Fire of the Carolinas to be at the center of our school’s spirit. "
"I want to see the band evolve into a group where spectators will be attending football games because they know they’ll be seeing a show by the Fire of the Carolinas," Piel said.
|Print Advertising Staff Info Contact Info||
Elon University Pendulum © 2003