As Wooster students, when we think of kilts, many of us immediately think of the marching band. A unique and historical group on campus, the marching band holds many traditions. But it is also moving into a new era. This year the band has three new faculty leaders – Joel Graham as the Director of Bands (this position is in charge of not only the marching band, but the band program as a whole), Ed Kline as the new marching band director and Mario Marini as the new percussion instructor..
Kline comes to the College after 25 years of experience and as a previous fan of the Scot Band. When asked about the traditions at Wooster, Kline was very clear that “the traditions here are, in my opinion, sacred and will not be changed.” In a meeting with the upperclassmen, Kline worked to further understand the traditions and how to ensure that they were kept intact, while also bringing in a new energy to the program – an energy and excitement he promises will be noticeable at the games.
This year, the band will be playing multiple shows, much like in past years. The first show is a hard rock/heavy metal theme from the 70’s and 80’s with songs such as “Back in Black,” “You Shook Me All Night Long,” “School’s Out,” and “Enter Sandman.” Boyband lovers will enjoy the next show with its pop music of this millennium theme; and we can all maintain an excitement and curiosity about what the last two shows will entail! Marini feels that “audiences witnessing the marching band will be excited by the amount of collaboration with various college performing groups” as well.
All three directors are experienced musicians coming to Wooster with well-rounded backgrounds and knowledge of the field. The Scottish influence that runs through Wooster and the band means that the band’s program is different from most, but a difference that Kline, Marini and Graham are excited to take on. Marini, an Ohio State University for undergrad and Belmont University masters alum, considers himself a “total percussionist,” or someone who can be comfortable in all the many areas of percussion; because of this, the differences that the Scottish influence brings to percussion has been a fun experience for him as he has been able to grow as a percussionist.
Graham was drawn to Wooster because of the care for the program held by our students and faculty. He realizes that what he does is mostly behind the scenes, but all with the ultimate goal of making sure that “the students have something they can be proud of.” Looking ahead to the spring, Graham has exciting plans that every student here at Wooster can be proud of. Besides the annual spring tour in March, Graham has planned a new work commission from award winning composer Paul Cravens. “Wooster has joined a consortium with a handful of schools across the Northeast to get Paul to write this new work,” says Graham, providing our students with a unique opportunity.
As a whole, Kline, Marini and Graham have come to Wooster because of the community here on campus and they aim to not only fill the shoes of their predecessors, but also to give back to this community and add their own personalities and ideas to it. The Wooster band program is special and we are excited to see the ways that these new directors will continue to improve the program.