As the first football kickoff draws nearer, something is still missing. Players? Check! Hyped 49er fans? Check! Marching band? Maybe later.
“It was always our intention and still is our intention to have a marching band,” said Darin Spease, senior associate ahletic director for Business Affairs. Due to funding, however, UNC Charlotte will not have a marching band when football begins in Fall 2013.
Until UNC Charlotte has its own marching band, other bands, including local high school marching bands, will be invited to play during halftime shows.
Spease noted, “It’s part of the DNA of college football to have a marching band. [Marching bands] are part of why fans get to the game early—to watch them perform. They’re why fans stay in their seats—to watch them at halftime. Those are all things we want our fans to experience.
In initial talks about bringing football to UNC Charlotte, marching band was part of the discussion. In 2007, Chancellor Philip Dubois commissioned a group, including UNC Charlotte faculty, students, Charlotte community members and business owners, to assess the feasibility of adding a football program.
In their 2008 recommendation to the chancellor, the UNC Charlotte Football Feasibility Committee listed football expenses, including funds for a marching band.
The report states, “As a complement to football, the committee feels strongly that the addition of a marching band adds to school spirit and the recruitment of gifted student musicians to the university.”
Chancellor Dubois assessed the recommendations from the committee and after further research, presented a plan to the UNC Charlotte Board of Trustees. As part of his statements, the chancellor said, “My proposal would defer the implementation of a marching band program for three or four years, perhaps fewer, depending upon what the budget will permit.”
The board unanimously endorsed the chancellor’s recommendations on the football program.
Spease recognized the importance of marching band to the entertainment and culture football games. “There’s an energy that a band brings, [without a band] there’s a void, something is missing.”
Associate Professor of Music and Director of Bands, Dr. Laurence Marks, had no comment for this article.