Band Day in Amherst with Thousands on the March

Today was band day, and a glorious fall day it was in Amherst. There more than 3500 kids dressed up in 67 different band uniforms performed together at halftime of the UMass football game. Sixty-seven units and the resounding boom of those hundreds of drums must have carried over to Hadley. I thought about the various different schools that sent their busses full of band members to the game. Some wore the full regalia, the military look with braided epaulettes, high cap with feather on top, and rayon slacks with stripes. These, I thought, must come from school districts where high taxes allow for the luxury of sumptuous band budgets for uniforms. Other bands wore matching red golf shirts. A tier lower were the bands who could only do printed tee shirts.

But on the astroturf, first, was the ‘pride and class of New England:’ George Park’s famous UMass Marching Band. There are more than 400 of these elite cardinal-clad musicians, and they danced with their sousaphones and swung their trumpets. The warmed up the crowd….but the massing 3100 other younger high school musicians were eager to play. The whole group took up the entire 100 yards of the field, with five conductors on stepladders leading the tune.

After the bands, the game got interesting. Villanova and the Minutemen played four quarters to a tie. Then they went on to play four overtimes with UMass finally coming out on top by a touchdown.