The Spirit of Northwestern, known as the best sounding band in the land, acquired a record-breaking 342 members for the 2019-2020 season.
With so many students in the program, there are difficult and rewarding facets. Some challenges include watching over a multitude of students, controlling instrument inventory, uniforms, travel and scholarships.
Director of Bands Dr. Jeff Mathews said the most rewarding part is looking out onto the field and seeing 342 performers.
“It’s a great feeling to have that many students arrive on campus that are participating in the band program,” Mathews said.
He also states the alumni-based supporters and additional band directors in the surrounding regions have helped with the recruiting process. Dr. Mathews, Dr. Daniel McDonald and Dr. Oliver Molina came together in a team effort to recruit the tremendous number of new students.
The Spirit of Northwestern was not always this large. Senior tubist Gustavo Corrales said as an incoming freshman his class was not nearly as massive, but this year, all the new faces come together with a larger sound and more improved band.
To be a part of the largest group in history The Spirit of Northwestern has ever seen is remarkable. For freshman tubist Manny Barnes, it is “empowering” being involved in this historical experience.
Band members and Mathews agree that the atmosphere of the Spirit of Northwestern is very positive and family-oriented.
Corrales said whether away or at Turpin Stadium, the band has one goal: to perform and be the best musicians on the field. There is a comradery among all members regardless of major, which is very imperative for the university.
For those thinking about joining The Spirit of Northwestern in the future, there are a few things to keep in mind. For Barnes, some advantages include learning the campus before others step foot on the university, meeting new people and making new friends.
Corrales said it is time well spent, and anyone that is interested in being a part of the program would enjoy themselves, especially because of the music and friend-making aspects.