Ask Stuart Estes what instrument he performed in his school marching band five-plus many years in the past, and the reply will get sophisticated.
“It’s an attention-grabbing story,” stated the 75-year-old from Shippenville, a 1968 graduate of what’s now Indiana College of Pennsylvania.
Raised in Potter County close to the New York line, the one instrument he knew methods to play throughout his freshman 12 months was the flute, however the band had no place for it in its performances. As an alternative, he was requested to fill out the final of 96 positions, holding a clarinet he didn’t know methods to play.
“I simply held it to my mouth,” Estes recalled. “I marched to the formation and seemed like I used to be enjoying an instrument. I didn’t have to fret about studying the music.”
Marching bands are extra than simply footsteps and mileage between reveals. At a centennial reunion this weekend at IUP, tons of of alumni of “The Legend” band are celebrating bonds they developed over their shared love of music and sacrifices wanted to get the performances proper — even when that meant pretending to play an instrument.
Estes went on to show music for almost 4 many years after commencement. He’s probably the most senior former band member attending deliberate occasions Friday and Saturday.
Established in 1921, the band’s first efficiency was in Could 1922. The Legend had its a hundredth anniversary in 2021, however postponed the centennial celebration till 2022 due to the pandemic.
Initially a 60-piece, non-marching ensemble, the band now has 101 members, stated IUP spokeswoman Michelle Fryling. Uniforms first arrived in 1936 and for a interval the group was all male.
Over the many years, The Legend has performed some high-profile gigs. It was the official band on the U.S. Structure bicentennial celebration in 1987, in line with an IUP band historical past. Based mostly partly on discover achieved from that efficiency, Jacques Chirac, then the mayor of Paris, invited The Legend to carry out at a celebration of the French bicentennial in the summertime of 1989, officers stated.
The identical 12 months, the band was in Washington, D.C., for reveals on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial and the Troopers and Airmen’s House.
It additionally has carried out within the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York Metropolis and on the base of the Statue of Liberty. It has performed at NFL video games and highschool festivals in Pennsylvania and neighboring states.
The Legend’s crimson pink and grey uniforms are a well-recognized sight throughout occasions at IUP, together with half-time reveals at dwelling soccer video games.
The band’s oldest residing member turned 96 years previous final week.
Louise Ashbaugh, of Ligonier, graduated in 1947 from what then was Indiana State Lecturers Faculty. She will not be capable of attend this weekend’s reunion however spoke enthusiastically of the The Legend and the campus recollections it generated.
“I loved the fellowship,” she stated.
A clarinet participant, Ashbaugh enrolled in 1943 and joined the band whereas many male college students and school have been away combating in World Battle II. “There weren’t many males then. We have been there till the veterans got here dwelling my junior 12 months.”
She went on to show music for 29 years earlier than retiring.
Estes additionally spoke of the bonds that got here via participating in band camp and hours and hours of rehearsals. He stated it was the very best a part of his years at IUP, apart from assembly his spouse of 54 years, Vivian, additionally an IUP graduate.
“You’ll be able to’t start to explain the sensation of being in a bunch that’s working so laborious collectively to place out a product that pleases so many individuals, together with your self,” he stated.
About 900 alumni and mates are anticipated for the weekend’s occasions. On Saturday, alumni will have the ability to play alongside present band members at halftime and after Saturday’s 2 p.m. dwelling soccer sport towards Clarion College at Frank Cignetti Subject.
The reunion will see the debut of “Sustaining Grace,” a documentary produced and created by marching band alumni Mary Megna, a 1984 music training (flute) graduate, and Jarrell Verbecken, a 2018 communications media graduate.
IUP stated the video chronicles the marching band’s historic journey within the years since adopting its cherished tune “Wonderful Grace,” organized by Chris McDonald, a band custom since 1981.
The video was created with contributions from a GoFundMe mission. It’s being supplied for a instructed donation of $30, with all proceeds benefiting the Marching Band.
Lengthy-time band director Charles Casavant stated a variety of kids of band alumni named their daughters Grace, in line with IUP. Officers there stated Megna was a sophomore when the tune was first carried out.
“The primary time we performed ‘Wonderful Grace,’ it was such a robust expertise. I’ve by no means forgotten it,” stated Megna, whose hometown is Mechanicsburg. “I’ve performed professionally with orchestras, with the Military band and at non-public occasions, and I’ve by no means had one other musical expertise prefer it.”
Invoice Schackner is a Tribune-Evaluate workers author. You’ll be able to contact Invoice by e-mail at [email protected] or by way of Twitter .