The Emporia State Marching Hornets continue to increase in size each year. At the start of the season, the marching band has grown to 125 members.
“It really is phenomenal to see how much we have grown since my freshman year of about 60 or 70 members to how we’ve grown to 125,” said Abraham Ruffcorn, senior music education major. “I have never marched in a band this big.”
The members of the bands are more than music majors, 82 members of the Marching Hornets are non-music majors, according to William Woodworth, director of athletic bands and assistant professor. Only 43 members of the band, out of 125, are declared music majors, Woodworth said.
This year the band has a tighter budget since there was a 33.5 percent budget cut to the Performing Arts Board. PAB is responsible for allocating funding to the band and the music department.
“With the cuts to the PAB last year, needless to say, things are very tight this season,” said Woodworth.
The operation fees include of copyright expenses for new musical arrangements, the ability to purchase new stock arrangements, needed percussion equipment, field and rehearsal equipment, color guard equipment, repairs, needed instrument rental costs and additional unexpected expenses, according to Woodworth.
The PAB funding is separate from the Athletic Band Stipend that allows all students in the band to receive a $500 scholarship.
The stipend comes from student fees, like the PAB does, but it is an entirely separate fund.
The purpose of the scholarship is to help offset the costs of being in the band, Woodworth said.
To be part of the band, students are required to pay several fees.
“Well, the members of the marching band have to pay a band camp fee of $35 that helps cover costs of the hat and shirt, they also have a uniform charge that includes sweatpants, shorts and a rain jacket,” Woodworth said.
While the cost for the uniform is nearly $80, students keep their uniform throughout their time in the band, Woodworth said.
After all of this, students still have money left over to add to their financial aid and they keep their uniform for all of their college careers and only have to pay the $35 fee for camp in future years.
“Once they have them, they get to use them for the whole course of their college career here,” Woodworth said.
The Marching Hornets season extends beyond football to include three parades throughout the year and the Hornet Revue, which is the pep band for basketball. During football season, the band spends approximately seven hours a week preparing for their performances, according to the practice schuedule on their website.
“(Marching band) is the first ensemble that students get used to when they are here at ESU,” said Robert Nance, senior music education major. “It’s just sort of a fall tradition, even if you like it or you don’t, it’s here, and it can’t help but become like a big family with how much time we spend together from practice, band camp, and the games.”
The Marching Hornets will play today during the home opener against Pittsburg State at 7 p.m. in Welch Stadium.