This football season, when the Olivet Comets hit the field, fans won’t be the only ones making noise.
For the first time in more than 30 years, the college’s marching band will as well.
Call it sweet harmony or simple good fortune, but the band was reformed as a part of a conscientious effort to increase the sense of community at the Michigan school, says director of bands Jeremy Duby.
“The marching band really is the center of student life and school spirit, and so it really adds a whole other atmosphere to the football game,” he recently told the Detroit Free Press.
“It’s a much bigger way for us to support our team and to get the entire community involved and make that game a community event every Saturday.”
The band is starting this year with 25 students and will play at all football games, campus events and a New Year’s Day parade in Paris, France. Duby predicts it grow to about 100 members within five years — and become an ingrained part of life at Olivet.
“This is a great part of the college experience,” says an Olivet College alum who was a member of the band in the 1970s.
The move is part of a trend among smaller colleges, including those at Michigan, to invest in athletic facilities, clubs and other extracurricular activities. That’s because big public universities don’t have a monopoly on sports — or fun.
Indeed, that’s one key difference between big universities and Michigan’s top 15 independent colleges and universities.
Class sizes are small enough so students not only know their professors, they form lifetime bonds. Professors pride themselves on working closely with students to help them forge their own path, buck conventional wisdom and find a new way.
It’s an experience that simply isn’t available at traditional universities. And despite what you may have heard, independents are often less expensive and boast higher four-year graduation rates than four-year institutions.
Be bold. Be different. Go independent.