When Jon Waters arrived at Heidelberg about 14 months ago, he was greeted with blank stares when he asked about the instrument inventory for the marching band he had signed on to create.
“There were no uniforms and no instruments, but there was a group of pioneers who believe in me, who said, ‘Let’s give this a chance,’” Jon said Thursday night as a group of band benefactors, alumni, community friends and band family members, and ‘Berg faculty and staff gathered to celebrate Strike Up the Band.
Strike Up the Band is a $500,000 fund-raising campaign that launched in the spring to provide uniforms, instruments and other operational needs and an endowment fund for the Marching and Symphonic bands, which Jon directs.
The event was held at IronWood Steakhouse and was co-sponsored by Trustee Mitch Felton and an anonymous donor. The band entertained about 100 guests, and even had a special honorary member, President Rob Huntington, who marched with them as they concluded their performance.
“We started literally from nothing. But guess what? This band, in late October, will be in full uniform,” Jon told the cheering guests. Additionally, through the leadership and support of Strike Up the Band donors, he has been able to begin to build an instrument inventory as well.
“All of this is because of you, and there’s much, much more to come,” Jon said. “These band members are very special. They will make you all very proud. They are humbled stewards of a great tradition at Heidelberg.”
Band President Tyler Schultz, a senior sousaphone player from Bellevue, said the band feels the energy and support all around them. He described his first two years as a member of the band as “a little heartbreaking.”
“When we walked onto the field and started to play, people would walk away,” Tyler said. He added that Jon involved students in setting goals for the band and in helping to select the new uniforms. “That’s not something every student gets the opportunity to do.”
Tyler revealed that Saturday, Oct. 28 – Heidelberg’s Homecoming – will be “debut day.” The band will perform in their new uniforms for the first time that day.
That honorary band member, Rob Huntington, is among those who are looking forward to a magical day and to celebrating the hard work of the students and Jon.
“This is no longer an emerging Marching Band. It is THE Marching Band of Heidelberg University,” the president said. The reveal represents the magic of Heidelberg, he added.
We will show you the true heart of Heidelberg through music and through this band.
View the full photo gallery from Strike Up The Band.