When the Choctaws Come Marching In/by Austin LaBrot
Mississippi College football fans will see more action than just touchdowns, field goals, and tackles at next year’s home games.
MC’s own marching band will make the perfect addition to football games in Fall 2020. Coming to Mississippi’s oldest university is Duncan Goff, director of the marching band. With over 30 years of band experience, Goff can make the Mississippi College marching band a success. He will have two assistant directors: David White and John McDonald.
Goff is looking forward to collaborating with students, faculty, and administration to create a band that marches to the beat of its own drum. “It is not an easy take and will take everyone to make a marching band,” he said.
A Mississippi College alumnus, White is excited to be a part of the marching band return. “We hope to create a fun and energetic band that both members and audiences will enjoy. I encourage any student currently on campus with any band experience to consider joining us next year,” he said.
The number of performers for the marching band have yet to be determined, but the directors are eager for 75-80 Choctaws to rock Robinson-Hale Stadium.
“We’re all excited,” said Craig Young, Mississippi College’s band director since 1999. “We have so much support from administration.”
MC’s current band already received new uniforms, complete with bright blue hats and polos.
The marching band is looking forward to new music, new sound equipment, and a color guard during these transitioning semesters said sophomore Grace Bailey, one of many clarinet players on the recently formed band.
The Choctaws previously had a marching band that disassembled in 2011. “Marching band is very intense, and [former] students wanted a pep band model,” Young said.
President Blake Thompson wanted to resurrect the marching band according to Young. It will take an estimated $70 thousand to get the marching band on its feet. The new uniforms alone cost around $50 thousand, with updated equipment projected around $20 thousand.
Many aspects to the marching band are still being arranged. Where, when, and how practices will be conducted remains an issue.
The Band Hall is located near University Place (“The Pods”), and Robinson-Hale Stadium is several blocks away on the opposite side of campus. Not only will getting to the stadium take some coordination, but moving equipment will take some configuring.
Young anticipates a major renovation of the field next to the Band Hall as well. “You need your practice field near where the equipment is located,” he said. “It would be inefficient to hold marching band practice at the football stadium.”
The land near the Band Hall is hilly with a small creek running down the middle, not suitable for a marching band.
The Mississippi College Department of Music also offers pep band, a jazz band, and symphonic winds, a concert band. Students with musical talent can learn more about getting involved with the bands at music.mc.edu. Scholarships are available to band members.