New uniforms represent the start of ‘something great’

Senior Tyler Schultz is one loyal band member. In his fourth year, he’s seen the lows and the highs.

In addition to being selected to serve as president of the Marching Band this year, Tyler’s loyalty is about to pay off when the band marches through campus and into Hoernemann Stadium in their new uniforms for the first time today.

There’s an added level of pride for Tyler, a senior music major from Sandusky, Ohio, who had a hand in selecting the new uniforms.

“The new uniforms really heighten our purpose and our distinction,” said Tyler. “They just define who we are.”

It all started last summer when Band Director and professor Jon Waters took Tyler along to the Midwest Clinic International Band, Orchestra and Music Conference in Chicago. As part of the conference, they had the opportunity to walk around a huge exhibit hall with hundreds of vendors, including those who manufacture uniforms. One particular design caught Tyler’s eye. He took a picture and texted it to Jon, and left it at that. A couple of months later, Tyler was asked to join a committee of Jon, Dr. Carol Dusdieker and Pat Page from the School of Music and Theatre, and Ashley Helmstetter from the Office of Alumni Engagement, to select the new uniforms.

Donors to the Strike Up the Bands fundraising campaign had stepped up in a big way with generous gifts to purchase band uniforms earlier than anticipated.

Tyler was surprised that his preferred design was ultimately selected. “It’s an amazing time to be at the Berg,” he says. “We were able to make a decision about what we wanted our ensemble to be. I want us to be taken seriously. (With the new uniforms), we look like we are representing the school.”

He remembers the days – not long ago – when the band wasn’t taken seriously. Although few in number, he appreciates those who stayed in the stands to support the band during his first two years. “That’s what kept me going,” he says.

He and his band mates also feel indebted to the Strike Up the Band donors who provided funding not only to outfit the band in new uniforms but to begin to build the instrument inventory. To date, the School of Music & Theatre has purchased 7 trumpets, 2 mellophones, 3 baritones, 2 trombones, 3 sousaphones, 3 bass drums, 3 snare drums and 1 set of tenor drums for the Marching Band and new chimes and a glockenspiel for the Symphonic Band, with more to come.

“We feel ecstatic to have our uniforms,” says Tyler, who also feels privileged to be playing a new sousaphone. “Wow, I can’t wait. We’re going to look amazing.

“As soon as we march onto the field, I think it’s going to be very powerful. It’s going to bring about a better sound and quality. And feelings of pride.”

There was raucous cheering at the Oct. 13 home football game when Jon reminded the band members that that would be the last time they’d be marching in polos, khakis and ball caps.

“When you put on a uniform in a group, it gives the group an immediate sense of credibility, a sense of belonging, a sense of identity,” Jon says. “They’re ready.”

That’s really what Tyler Schultz has wanted all along … that, and to be part of “something great.”

Published in Music & Theatre

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