Campus News

The ‘Approaching Storm’ Drumline

Devynne M. Johnson

(Members of the Approaching Storm Marching band)

To celebrate the 130th Anniversary of Delaware State University, there was a Parade held on Saturday April 17th at noon. The parade lasted about 30 minutes, but a lot more details went into the formation of the parade. It began at the EH lead by the Elite dance team and the Parade procession ended at the MLK building.

There were nearly 80 participants making up the parade, a mixture of both the current Hornet Band members and Alumni Band members. This band has been alive and growing since the opening of the school. Though over time the band has slowed down, it is still well and alive.

The band played about four songs in their procession and had been practicing separately for about a month or two. The amount of dedication and practice that is put into the prep to preform in the band is equivalent to that of any athlete.

“We spend a lot of time practicing for a 10- minute performance or a 20 -minute performance, so to see all that hard work that went into the practice at performance is rewarding, because we sacrifice a lot to practice and preform,” said Alumni baritone player, Cortez Bull.

Approaching Storm Band Formation.

The reward gained from seeing the good results of all their hard work, is something that many of the band members share. Just knowing that all their practice and hard work will determine the end result of what they do, sounds unnerving to say the least.

“During the process of getting music and learning shows, …it can be very frustrating during that process, but after everything is completed you can look back and see how far you have come,” according to Alumni percussion player, Shawn Jackson.

“With anything where you have to put hard work in and you get to the performance, it feels good,” Senior baritone section leader, Ahmad Taylor, said .

The hard work has defiantly shown and also paid off in regard to the most recent parade after one year off because of Covid-19. But this did not create a rift in their relationship, it actually only made them stronger.

For some the hardest part is, “having the maturity to actually sit down and practice,” claimed Bull. For others the hardest part is, “getting everyone in the room to commit to what they are doing,” Taylor added.

Jasmin James stated that one of the more challenging parts is, “a person’s physical ability because everyone will be on different levels, so everyone has to build up together.”

That is something that can be said for anything that involves a large group of people, and the best way to solve this is by having great leaders. Not just in the band itself, but also those who conduct the band through their performances.

Approaching Storm Band at Practice Session

Both professor Jovan Wilson, DSU Interim Director of Bands, and Michel Purnell, percussions instructor of the Eye of the Storm drum line, have equally contributed to the power and force of the band.

They both have worked hard to make the band sound and become the best it can be with the support of their dedicated students.

“Having a staff that can help us do things helps out because our minds are always moving; Mr. Wilson has the band line while I have the drumline. The smaller things fall by the waist side, and we have each other’s back because one person cannot do this job,” Pernell concluded.

“We all came from this and we love it, so we come back to give our time to it. The students are like sponges, they absorb everything, and they give us back ten fold every time,” appreciative Wilson retorted.

Sounding like proud parents, the Director of the band and the percussions instructor of the band both gush about the hard work, grit and tenacity of there band. In the words of Mr. Pernell: ‘True leadership starts from the top and works its way down. Leaders show people how they are supposed to get things done.”

The marching band is a force to be reckoned with, full of students, who love their craft and teachers, who not only love their craft, their ‘aramata,’ but most importantly their students.

Categories: Campus News, HBCUs

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