Alumni Spotlight: Jess VonVillas

Jason Reider

Introducing one of the UCMB’s fantastic Graduate Assistants and former Drum Major, Jessica VonVillas! Before she came back to the UCMB, she was living in North Carolina and teaching in a severe special education classroom.  She spoke with Marvin, who talked some sense into her, and while she loved what she was doing, she returned to Connecticut, knowing that she wanted to pursue a career in Music Ed.

How has the UCMB changed over time?

When she first joined in 2007, the UCMB was on a run of big, on the road performances.  At the time, the focus was very external and on producing a product for everyone else.  It is much more student driven now, with a greater intrinsic motivation.  There’s a lot more desire to do it for themselves, and each other, rather than just for spectators.  This created a greater feeling of family within the group.  While there were a lot of changes, such as a different style, different pregame, and focus on different values, the overall feeling friendship and belonging has remained the same.

What is your favorite UCMB memory?

Her proudest moment was standing on the field at Michigan, which was one of the largest crowds she had ever performed for.  It felt like the stadium was endless because of its size and the number of people in it, and was very inspiring.  It was also an unbelievable experience to perform with the highly reputed Michigan Band.  Another great moment was at the Papa John’s Bowl, in Birmingham, AL in 2010.  UConn played against the South Carolina band and smoked them, which was a very proud moment for her and the band.

What are your goals for the UCMB?

She wants the UCMB to thrive in the future, and see people still having a fun and life changing experiences.  With the end of an era on the horizon, she hopes that future leaders in the UCMB will continue to be as invested and allow the band to evolve and grow in its reputation.

What is something you hope to still see years from now in the UCMB?

In the future, she’d like to see people still loving and enjoying it as much as she did.  The UCMB should continue to be a place for people to have a good time and an enriching part of their college experience.  It must remain group that builds great people and leaders and continues to be a door for people to find the best of themselves and to achieve.