Alumni Testimonials

What former members are saying about their experiences.

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I had a lot of success in Marching Band because it forced me to become more responsible with my time as well as my academics. It managed to make me into someone who needed to balance my time in order to be successful. Because of this, my career after college has been a much easier transition. Keep in mind though; I never felt that it took away from my academic time because school was always first when it came to marching band. As far as my social time, when I joined it felt like making 300 friends instantaneously and I couldn’t ask for anything different, especially coming in as a freshman knowing no one. Marching band created leadership opportunities to add to my resume that greatly increased my chances in pursuing careers that I wanted. I am currently a career firefighter in Connecticut and I know that my leadership skills as a section leader, Junior Representative for Band Council, and various positions in the band fraternity, Kappa Kappa Psi, has prepared me for the skills I need in my career. As a firefighter and an emergency worker, one needs to be personal at times with those they interact with, whether it be co-workers or the citizens they serve. Learning to be a more interactive person with others was something I was able to achieve in the marching band at UConn.
Jeff Erhart Class of 2004
I found that I did better in fall semesters than Spring as I had no time to procrastinate on assignments. I also liked that I knew 200 people before the first day of classes and there were often at least one band member in most of my classes my Freshman year. Most of my lasting friendships from UConn are friends I made in the band. It is easy to get lost on a campus as big as UConn and not be able to get to know anyone in the first couple of years because it isn’t until you get to your major course work in your junior year that you start to see all the same people in your classes. I loved that I had a life outside the dorm floor. Many of the people I knew on my floor struggled to fit in because they had no organization to be a part of. I always encouraged people to be a part of some organization on campus even if the band was not the right one for them. That way you feel you belong and you are no longer just a number. Being in an organization the size of the band helps you learn to deal with different people and to work together as a group to a common end. If you choose to be a section leader then you can have leadership experience, but you also learn how to manage time, take direction, give direction, and work as a team to get the job done by the deadline. If they are worried that band takes up too much time and there wouldn’t be enough time for the socializing that happens on campus. We all know that the band finds plenty of time for social events. Band members always look out for each other. As a member of the band you can then become a Brother or Sister and find that much more belonging in your UConn experience.
Vicki (Yanosy) Hintz Class of 1998
I joined the UCMB 26 years ago and one of my best friends today is Lapdog who I met on my first day of band camp for freshmen in August 1980 before the school semester started. Many of the friends I have today I met through the band and guard. The bus trips were so much fun and the European tour we did in the late spring of 1982 was one of the best trips I’ve ever been on. I would never have had that opportunity or met these friends if it wasn’t for band. Furthermore, we all get together each year when the UCMAB meets and still play on the field once a year. What a blast! School work is very important too. I found that having band practice in my schedule actually helped me. My days were very structured and I got my work done before band. I also drove a university truck with the campus mail room and was in a fraternity. I graduated cum laude with a 3.4 GPA. By having a schedule it made you get your other work done so you can do everything and then we used to go out at night and party. Also, it’s been shown that music improves math scores, retention of memory, and generally makes you a happier person. I recommend the UCMB as part of your LIFE experience and it’s your ticket to the UCMAB. You won’t regret your decision to join the band and you will look back and treasure all of your time with the band in 25 years or so like I do.
Michael ``Dudley`` Antonini Class of 1984

For Music Education Majors

I attended UConn from 1976-80 and to this day, cannot envision how different my life would be had I not had the UCMB experience. My major was in Music Education, so in a practical way, UCMB was “on the job” training. While I never directed a marching band after college, I DID direct the Georgetown Univ. Pep Band for 3 years and have been overseeing the Pep Band as part of my job during my 22 years with Georgetown. In addition, I currently oversee over 19 performing arts groups encompassing music, theater and dance. My work in Arts Administration and Arts Education have benefited directly by my experience at UCONN where skills including but not limited to: leadership, musicianship, collaboration, problem solving, public relations, marketing, scholarship, intellectual inquiry and responsible celebration of self and one’s accomplishments were learned. Our mentors at that time (Allen Gillespie and Dave Maker) were creative, intelligent and giving individuals. I learned so much about music and life from them. Most importantly, are the friendships. My central core group of friends is still to this day those I made in marching band. We are all a part of each others lives, our children’s lives and despite the distances, we try to spend time together every summer and during the holidays when schedules and travel permit. I think in recent years, it’s been popular for college age students to demonstrate diversity in one’s activities. It seems the more you know a little about a lot of things, the more likely you are to succeed in society, or so the thinking has gone. But I believe that while diversity is indeed good, having a driving force and focus to one’s life allows for a depth of experience that you cannot achieve any other way, and that for me, that experience was the UCMB. I suppose I could’ve been involved in other activities, or even in the rest of the music program (which I was to a large degree through groups like the jazz ensemble and university orchestra among others). But it was the UCMB which has allowed me to be the person I am today, and there isn’t a day which goes by that I don’t think about my UConn friends and my UConn days as a part of the UCMB.
Ron Lignelli Class of 1980
I graduated in 1996 and we had some incredible times in band. My fondest memories of college are mostly about band. I started out as a music major and I will tell you that being in Marching Band was great for me. It taught me how to budget and plan my time. It also was a great support system as well. We encouraged each other to go to class and get your studying done. Many a time several band members and I would trek to the library and study together. It was very helpful and I think beneficial to anyone that wants to participate. Yes it’s a lot of work and time but it’s all worth it in the end. Band became my family and many of my friends now are band members as well. You not only become a member of a wonderful organization but you also make lasting friendships that really can make a difference. I went onto to become President of the Alumni Band for two years. Now I have kind of gotten away from it having started a family but I always keep the UCMB close to my heart and I’m very eager to see what new stuff Dr. Mills and Marvin come up with at the beginning of the season. Being in the UCMB is a truly rewarding and life altering experience that I would recommend and encourage to anyone to join. TUP!
Jen Bradshaw Class of 1996

For Pharmacy Majors

I tried out for the band in the summer of 1969, was first an alternate, but I was a “first-stringer” by the summer of 1970, the year to band toured Europe. When I recall my years at UConn, inevitably my mind takes me to my band experiences. I am now the Director of Pharmacy at the University of Maryland Medical Center. The pharmacy program is one of the most rigorous, but I was able to handle my band and classroom/study obligations. I am not a natural learner–I had to study hard, but I still had time for all. In fact, having multiple obligations forces you to handle multiple obligations, a valuable, life-long skill. Having the multiple-obligations forces one to stretch, and once you do, the success builds confidence. The confidence becomes internalized, and later, you face the peak challenges with calm and assuredness. Also, being part of something that is great teaches you to recognize greatness, learn the elements of greatness, and learn how greatness is achieved. It also teaches you that the result is always worth the sacrifice and the hard work. Remember it’s just for the fall semester; comparatively, the spring semester appears easy. Also, two of my best life-long friends are UConn band members. My kids have recently viewed a UConn band video. They have plans to play in marching bands as well. The rewards don’t end. I advise all to take the plunge. Don’t miss the totality of the college experience.
Marc Summerfield Class of 1974
Just prior to starting the Pharmacy program at UConn, I was advised by my counselor to not initially get involved with Marching band until I got used to college life and the rigors of a demanding program. Of course I didn’t take his advice, jumped right into marching band and had my best semester while at UConn. Joining Marching band as a freshman allows you to get to campus earlier than everyone else, get yourself over the initial transition from home, socialize and start to appreciate what being at UConn is about. Having been in Marching band, Pep Band, Jazz band, etc., the experiences will stay with you forever. Personally, I’ve gotten probably more than I could have imagined then out of a hospital Pharmacy career and realized that you can keep a really satisfying side interest in playing after your career is over.
Harvey Martin

For Parents

I was an Electrical Engineering major back in the 70’s and found plenty of time to do marching band – about an hour and a half every weekday (Monday – Friday) and a good chunk of nearly every weekend all fall. Back in those days, the band could travel in 4 buses and we went to many away games because they were all pretty nearby (UMass, URI, UNH, BU, etc.). I never gave it much thought to be honest – time wasn’t an issue. I also have the perspective of a parent. My son went to Penn State and had the honor of marching with the PSU Blue Band. At one point his grades were slipping a bit and my wife questioned whether or not he had the time to do marching band – maybe that was the problem, she thought. So being the engineer that I am, I said “Let’s do the math.” OK, here goes:
In a week of 7 days, 24 hours each, there is a total of 168 hours. Assume (and I am rounding very high here, I think you will agree): 9 hours of sleep every night (yeah, sure) and 3 hours for 3 square meals every day, that leaves just 84 hours. Now assume 18 hours of classes per week and 40 hours of homework (a very heavy load), leaving just 26 hours. It is a rare week that marching band takes more than 20 hours, so there’s still almost an hour a day to goof off.
So no one can say there isn’t enough time to do marching band unless they are also trying to work full-time or watch too many hours of TV every day. The fact of the matter is that I found having marching band in your day puts structure around your time and helps you manage it better.
Jim Ray UCMB Parent