A New Director- Purple Raider Marching Band - The Dynamo: Arts & Entertainment

A New Director- Purple Raider Marching Band

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Posted: Tuesday, September 11, 2018 9:15 am

As Mount Union is gearing up for another exciting season of Raider football, fans won’t only be amazed by our 13 time national champion football team. The pride of the University- The Purple Raider Marching Band is also geared up and ready to show off their new show! To get the inside scoop on this years marching band, I sat down with newly promoted Director of Bands, Mr. Jeff Neitzke

Vinny Camma, Reporter, RSM: “Alright, Mr. Neitzke, tell me, how do you pronounce your last name, Correctly?”

Jeff Neitzke, Director of Bands, UMU: “Night-Ski, like skiing at night”

Camma: “What is your favorite mispronunciation of your name?”

Neitzke: “I got a piece of mail addressed to me that was Jeffray YM Whitey. But most people pronounce it Nietzsche and ask if I’m related and I say well it’s spelled and pronounced differently, so probably not.”

Camma: “Alright, so to kick things off, we understand this isn’t your first year with the University of Mount Union Marching Band. What is it about Mount that kept you coming back?”

Neitzke: “Of all the different jobs I’ve had, Mount Union has an energy about it that I’ve always appreciated. I think one of the things is the pride mount union has in mount union and the constant evolving desire to make students and situations and everything Improve and get better. So, there’s this constant push towards ‘let’s not just stick with the status quo. Let’s not just do something because that’s how we’ve always done it, we’ve always done it that way. Let’s not be afraid to reinvent the wheel.’”

Camma: “You alluded to how we are not rooted in the same thing always. Where do you see tradition fitting into that?”

Neitzke: “Tradition is also huge. For example, the football team has a tradition of excellence dating back and so having things that touch on our traditions is really important, but that doesn’t mean you can’t add or expand other things. I think what we in the band are trying to do is incorporate Ideas of the past and hold onto those ideas while adding new ones and forming new traditions.”

Camma: “What would you say is the Band’s big tie to tradition?”

Neitzke: “The Band’s tie to tradition, that’s a tough one because we have had a lot of changes even since I’ve been here. The fight song evolved from just a short version, then a break strain was added, a fanfare at the end was added. The alma Mater is the same, but obviously in the time that I’ve been here we’ve gone from being a College to a University, so part of our tradition goes if you sing the words to the alma mater, the last line of the first stanza is ‘Dear old MUC’, and we are not getting rid of that even though we are now a university.”

Camma: “You were promoted to director of bands this past summer. Purple Raider fans in recent times have wanted more interaction with the band. What can we expect this year?”

Neitzke: “Our goal, first of all, is we are now having a home before games at the chapel and I want faculty and students and fans of the band to know that we will be there before games if you want to come meet the band, talk with the band, hang out with the band, and interact with the band. Also, during the game, part of our job is to keep the energy going and keep the crowd entertained and also support the football team and I think part of the changes we are making, the idea of not taking a quarter off. We are going to be there during the third quarter to play for the team, for the fans- “

Camma: “From start to finish?”

Neitzke: “From start to finish. And Ideally, some of the things we do in the stands become known to the audience, so that the can interact with us.”

Camma: “Sources from inside the band tell us that “Ohio” is prevalent in the music selections for this year. Can you give us a rundown of the band’s setlist for this season?”

Neitzke: “Yeah, sure. For a while I’ve wanted to pay tribute to Ohio because there’s a lot of good music that comes out of Ohio, and we are only touching on a few of them. We are going to start with a piece of music by a group called The Ohio Players called “Fire”, and then we will play “Play that Funky Music” by Wild Cherry, a group also formed in Ohio. Henry Mancini, famous movie and television score composer, we are going to play one of his most popular tunes, “The Pink Panther”. We are going to end our show with the Isley Brother’s “Shout!”, which is very popular and well known-probably being played in some wedding reception right now somewhere as we speak. Paying tribute to the state Mount Union is home to is very important. Our second “Made in Ohio” show will be more of a rock/pop-oriented show, so we are going to do a Nine Inch Nails tune, a 21 Pilots tune, we are going to do a Foo Fighters Tune and we are going to do the song “Whip it” by Devo. It should be a pretty eclectic show, but this first show is more of the Funk/Soul/Jazz and the next show will be more of the Rock/Pop.”

Camma: “What piece were you most excited to play this year?”

Neitzke: “I think Shout, because in many ways that was sort of the lynchpin to the entire show. I knew that we were going to end with that before I had almost any other tune picked. I knew that we were going to feature our trombones and I knew we were going to end the show the way we end the show as far as the shape on the field. I will not reveal what that is to see if people can figure it out.”

Camma: “If there was one word or phrase you could use to describe the band this year, what would that be?”

Neitzke: “That’s a tough one. Words I think of when I think of the band are Exuberant, Powerful, Energetic. But I think the mission for this band and what I think it would be if I were to encapsulate it in one phrase, “Mount Union Proud” would be what I would go with.”

Camma: “Some say there was a shift in culture in the band over the last few years, can you elaborate?”

Neitzke: “We’re starting to find an identity. And when you have a mission statement, and you are clear on what your mission statement is, I think that helps provide a culture. And we are a band that performs at the football games of one of college football’s most historic and most winning franchises. At a very small school we have a football team that for all intents and purposes, looks like a Big Ten football team. So, with that in mind, Mount Union’s band should have that same vibe. So, we want to have a band that rivals the energy of the football team. I like to tell people that we are like a Big Ten Band at a very small

school. That is the culture we are trying to create. Energy, excitement, entertainment, good music, relevant music, and something that rivals what the football team is putting on the field. The identity of the Mount Union Band is more in focus now that it has ever been.”

Camma: “Is there anything else you would Like to tell the readers of the Dynamo?”

Neitzke: “I think the most important thing That I want people to realize about the band is the band works extremely hard because they are extremely proud to be a member of Mount Union and they’re very committed to showing that pride and showing the best musical example for our students our faculty, our alumni, everybody. And I want people to know that this is a labor of love for these students and there’s an extreme amount of work that goes into making this work and I also want people to realize how much we appreciate their support when they give it to us.”

As it shows, Mr. Neitzke is very excited to share the pride of the University with all fans, students, and faculty/staff. Come out to our next home football game on Saturday, September 21, to hear the Purple Raider Marching Band live in person!

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