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September 29, 2023

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Marching Band alumni return to University to play in Homecoming

Steven W. Echard

Alumni returned to field Homecoming Weekend.

The University’s Homecoming theme, “Once a Falcon, Always a Falcon,” held true the BGSU Alumni Marching Band.

The University invites alumni of the marching band to come back to the Doyt Perry Stadium for Homecoming to relive their days on the field.

“Homecoming is the only time that the marching band gets together …” Director of the Falcon Marching Band and Athletic Band Carol Hayward wrote in an email. “We are expecting around 130 in the Alumni Marching Band, with the oldest representing the class of 1970.”

On Homecoming, Saturday Oct. 4, the alumni marched on field with their bright orange jackets along with the Falcon Marching Band.

“The alumni band always plays the school songs, ‘Forward Falcons’ and the ‘Alma Mater,’” Hayward wrote. “They also combine with the current Falcon Marching Band to play the national anthem and a song of their choice from a past season. The Homecoming song for this year is ‘The Best of Times,’ which was performed by the band in 2007.”

Cayla Brown, 2007 graduate of Integrated Mathematics Education and 2011 Master’s in Intervention Specialist, traveled all the way from Madisonville, Texas.

“I came back up because I love BGSU and wanted to go to the game,” Brown said. “My sisters also did alumni band, so it is fun for all three of us to march together.”

However, it wasn’t just family that brought her back to the University.

“The FMB was redoing the Frontiers show from my freshman year, so I was very intrigued to see it,” she said. “All of these reasons made it an easy choice for me to come back.”

Alumni Laura Smith graduated with a Bachelor of Music in Music Education in 2005 and she spent her time from 2001 to 2004 in the Falcon Marching Band playing the piccolo. In the Falcon Marching Band, Smith served as flicc section leader from 2002-2004 and served on truck crew for the 2005 season.

She is currently residing in her hometown of Columbus, Ohio, as a general music and choir teacher to students in preschool through eighth grade at an inner-city Columbus City School. She currently sings with the Columbus Symphony Chorus.

“Homecoming is a wonderful opportunity to visit a place that has become so special to me. I love coming back to Bowling Green … what makes Homecoming extra special is that quite a few of my friends and fellow marchers come back, too.” Smith said. “It’s a lot of fun to share old memories, catch up with friends who are now scattered all over the country and world and to march and play in the stands during the game.”

Smith has returned to Bowling Green to march with the Falcon Marching Band for Homecoming six times.

“The only years that I have ever missed have been because I have had concerts in Columbus with the Columbus Symphony,” Smith said. “There are actually quite a few BGSU Alumni singing in the Columbus Symphony Chorus … whenever we have to miss Homecoming, we show up to Chorus rehearsal decked out in orange and brown and take a picture on the stage of the Ohio Theater … we hate to miss our annual trip to BG.”

Smith explains that the Falcon Marching Band helped her find a sense of belonging and pride for the University.

Senior music major Jake Stock played for the marching band from 2011 to 2013 playing tenor drums from 2011 to 2012 and bass drums for 2013.

“I thought the show was great; the drumline sounded fantastic and the horns sounded great,” Stock said. “Watching the band really made me miss being in the band.”

He goes on to say that after graduation he would love to come back as an alumnus to play again.

“I will continue to march for Homecoming as long as I am able,” Laura Smith said. “I would love to be that 75-year-old woman out on the field playing the piccolo and saying things like, ‘Back in my day…’”

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