|MARCHING SAINTS GETTING READY TO BRING ATMOSPHERE TO LIMESTONE FOOTBALL GAMES|
While head football coach Bobby James and his staff are readying the Limestone College football team for its inaugural season in 2014, the brand new group of “Marching Saints” are also working hard to make a lasting first impression.
The Saints will play their first-ever football game on Saturday, Sept. 6, 2014, against Wingate University at Gaffney High School’s stadium, and Limestone’s Marching Saints plan to add plenty of fun and tradition when they also take the field for the first time at the famed Reservation at GHS.
The Marching Saints are being led by Dr. Douglas Presley, Director of Bands at Limestone College. Dr. Presley is assisted by Parker Denson, the Associate Director of Bands.
Just like their counterparts who will be competing on the gridiron, the Marching Saints plan to do their part to make game days exciting for the fans.
“We will have a presence during three phases of each game,” Denson explained. “We will be a part of the pre-game activities, we will perform at halftime, and we will be playing in the stands during the game. Before the games start each Saturday, we want to help get everyone excited with pre-game cheers and new traditions we will get started. We will do a halftime routine, and during the games we will feature some really cool things that we think the crowd will enjoy.
“Along with the cheerleaders and dance team, we will create a home field advantage that our fans will love and opponents won’t like very much,” he added with a smile.
Denson also pointed out that it’s also important to the band to work hand-in-hand with the football staff and team members to create a relationship that is mutually beneficial.
“We want to see what we can do to make sure the players know the fight song, and things like that,” Denson noted. “We’re anxious to see if Coach James can come out during band camp, or at any other time, and speak to our members. There are so many moving parts involved in the game day experience, and we want the entire Limestone College community involved.”
The Marching Saints’ new uniforms have been designed, and should arrive sometime in November. The uniforms will feature pants in Limestone’s traditional blue color, along with a jacket that is blue on one side, white on the other, and trimmed in gold. The shako, the traditional tall, cylindrical shaped band hat, will feature a tall gold plume.
“Band uniform materials have come a long way over the years, and these lightweight uniforms will enable us to be fully dressed for even the early season games when temperatures will still be quite warm,” Dr. Presley said. “While every game will be a learning experience, we plan to be 100 percent ready for that first game. When you see us in action that first time, you will get a vision of what it will be like at all our games. We are very fortunate that our marching band is starting up at the exact same time as the football team. That’s not always the case. There are examples all over the country of colleges adding football programs and then the marching band coming on line years later.”
Dr. Presley said that the Marching Saints band currently numbers 45 members, including 20 new students who have joined 25 returning students. That number is expected to grow even more in the coming months. While the average for a high school marching band in South Carolina is 81 members, most small private colleges have bands that number between 60 and 80 members, he said.
“Our hopes are to exceed 100 members soon and over a short period of time grow to the largest student organization on campus,” Dr. Presley said. “The great thing about marching band is that we have students with all kinds of different majors – we attract students from all academic areas. And that makes marching band a great recruiting tool for Limestone College. And not only do we have all types of different majors, we even have student-athletes in our band. We have volleyball, softball, golf, soccer, and field hockey players.”
Denson added that he’s also excited that Limestone is exposing some local residents to not only college football, but to collegiate marching band as well.
“We do things a little differently than they are done in high school – I’m not saying we do it better, just different,” Denson said. “I believe area fans are going to enjoy seeing some things done a different way. Between now and the start of the season we have so many logistical issues to work out. And that’s the joy of being a part of a brand new marching band. But it’s also going to be great when we have all those things worked out and we can just get into our groove once the games start, and have a blast with our team, our fans, and our Limestone family.”
Limestone’s band will make its debut at the 2014 London New Year’s Day Parade and Festival. The group will leave on Dec. 28, 2013, and return on Jan. 4, 2014. In addition to the parade, the band will also perform during evening concerts while overseas. More information about that trip will be announced soon.
Limestone College is a four-year, liberal arts institution in Gaffney, SC. Established in 1845, Limestone offers bachelor of arts, bachelor of fine arts, bachelor of science, bachelor of social work, associate of arts, associate of science, and master of business administration degrees through traditional and non-traditional educational opportunities.