AthElites: The Blugold Marching Band

 

“Even if the football team loses, the band always wins.”

 

Obviously, this was my favorite motto in high school, because it was true. And Eau Claire is lucky enough to have both a stellar football team and a stellar marching band ­— it’s a win-win situation!
So, in the spirit of Homecoming, the AthElites this week are all 300 BMB members ­— the most spirited musicians on campus!

 

Editorial Editor Taylor Kuether sat down with clarinet Hayley Kubler and mellophone Matthew Mitchell and talked about all things BMB.

 

 

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Taylor Kuether: How long have you been involved with the BMB/how long have you been playing your instrument?

Hayley Kubler: This is my third season with the BMB. I joined as a transfer student when I came here as a junior from UW-Stout. I’ve been playing clarinet for 12 years now, since I was 10. I have wanted to be in this marching band since I was a freshman in high school, so right now I’m living the dream.

Matthew Mitchell: I have been with BMB for three years now and this is my first year in a leadership position within the BMB. I play the mellophone right now, which is definitely the best instrument on the field, and for those who don’t know, a mello looks like a big trumpet, but it’s what french horn players march with since it helps to have a bell that faces forward. I’ve been in music, though, for 10 years now. Five on trumpet, five on french horn.

 

TK: What do you love about the BMB?

HK: I love that I can be in this band even though I’m not a music major or minor. It really adds an interesting mix, and we all combine our talents to help put on this show. The majority of us, we were the dorks in high school, and now we’re suddenly in the limelight so we’ve been figuring that out together. We always have to assure the freshmen that yes, we’re different, and no, you’re not going to be made fun of. Watching their faces light up after they see the crowd’s reaction for the first time is such a high for me. We are humbled by the support of our fans. I really enjoy playing at high school competitions as well. I first saw the BMB at Chippewa Falls and I remember just being shocked. They were dancing, they were singing, they were playing popular music. Playing for the future BMB members reminds me of my marching experiences in high school and it feels good to connect with those who do what we do.

MM: The thing I love most about BMB is the communication experience. The skills I learn in band don’t just apply to band, they apply to all my activities outside of band. I know I am a better person because of BMB. I know that I have a better work ethic, I’m more responsible, and I am quicker to listen before talking because of BMB.

 

TK: What qualities do you think an AthElite should have?

HK: An AthElite should, above all, be respectful and encouraging to those just starting. I believe that any sport or activity opens a door to a community, and helping it grow and thrive is crucial. This is especially important in college, when there are students coming in where this is (their) first time on their own. You should offer to help, both on and off the field. Having a team is like having a family, and an AthElite should support that mindset.

MM: I’ve always felt that when publications name someone as Athlete of the Year or MVP or anything like that, the person they’re referring to should be someone that little kids can look up to as a role model, say, ‘I want what they have,’ and if they truly get what they have, they’d have a great life. You know, down to earth, responsible, that sort of thing.

 

TK: Why do you think the BMB is an AthElite?

HK: We are a strong family. We work together to achieve a massive goal, and we have to trust each other. When you see us perform on the field, have you noticed that we never look around? We are able to run backwards and believe that we will not be hurt because of this bond that we have. We put in countless hours perfecting what you see, and there is pain along the way. But the reaction of our fans is always worth it.

MM: I think the BMB is an AthElite because of their leadership, enthusiasm and image. I mean, if The Spectator outlines an AthElite as someone who is enthusiastic in their sport, you can’t get much better than the BMB. Sometimes when we play exhibition games, games that don’t involve the UWEC team, the band is more enthusiastic than the fans and gets more cheers than the teams!

 

TK: Lastly, what are you going as for Halloween this year?

HK: I’m a huge nerd so I’m still in the planning process. Last year I was a Victorian zombie from Pride, Prejudice, and Zombies and I have to show that up. I can’t decide between being a Pokemon trainer or a Little Sister from the video game Bioshock.

MM: I’m going as Sheldon Cooper from The Big Bang Theory.