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MSU band celebrates 150 years

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Posted at 9:10 PM, Nov 22, 2019
and last updated 2019-11-22 21:10:14-05

LANSING, Mich. — While it may be a tough year for the MSU football team, there is one thing the Spartan's can celebrate, their bands.

This year marks the 150th anniversary of bands at MSU, making it the second oldest in the Big Ten.

"Like many college bands, when it started, it came out of the ROTC. And at Michigan State, it really started as a small brass band," Kevin Sedatole said.

And boy has it grown. Now nearly 800 students are a part of bands on campus ranging from concert and symphony to marching band.

"It's all one big family and that's what we are celebrating," one person said.

And this big family has been through a lot, including performing for three presidents, playing in and out of the country and marching in multiple Rose Bowl parades.

"We knew we deserved to be there, we always had a great band and we waned to showcase that on a national scale," Bob Gould, MSU trumpet player from 1986-1989, said.

And besides 150 years of history, for both current and alumni band members, it's clear what sets MSU's band apart from others across the country--tradition.

Tradition includes the marching band's performance in the streets to Spartan stadium, their kick-step entrance on and off the field and the spinning "S" formation.

These traditions mean even more to Ilene Gould, the current vice president of the marching band.

"My parents met in the band 30 years ago and the fact that we get to share these traditions now and the ones I've seen them do and i get to do now is honestly to coolest thing ever," Gould said.

Now the associate director of bands is looking forward to expand on these traditions and to continue the university's bands successes for years to come.

"Its a unique challenge to see what we can do better, just continuing to push ourselves just to be different and inventive every year," David Thornton, associate director of bands, MSU marching band director, said.

The university will continue to celebrate 150 years with alumni concert at the Wharton Center in April.

The MSU bands are also looking forward to the grand opening of the Billman Music Pavilion, which will offer more rehearsal and performance space.

The facility is expected to be done in April of 2020.

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