Victoria Socolosky, a freshman marketing major, rides the T every Tuesday and Thursday toward Boston College (BC) on the Green Line. Miscellaneous Emerson cuisine in one hand, tenor saxophone in the other, she leaves the Emerson campus at 6 p.m. As she stands on the subway, pressed against the man in front of her in the crowded car, Socolosky eats her food - she needs to fuel herself for her three-hour rehearsal.
Socolosky joined BC’s “Screaming Eagles” Marching Band this year through its partner school program, which allows her and 13 other students from schools around Boston play with BC students. Student musicians aren’t the only people able to participate in the partnership program; students from Boston-area schools can join the dance team and color guard as well. Socolosky said she first heard about the program through ProArts Connect, a website that notifies followers what Boston schools are doing.
Marching Band Director David Healey encourages students like Socolosky to join the partner school program. Healey has been working with the band for 14 years and continues to be proud of the new members who join every year, saying they are always dedicated. Half of the new members have never marched prior to joining, he said, and with practice are well-versed in the band’s routines.
“Ten days prior to classes, and frequently 10 days prior to our first game of the season, people come in from all different backgrounds and levels,” he said. “We are able to, in that short period of time, get them ready for performances in front of 45,000 people in person [and] hundreds of thousands who watch on television.”
Socolosky said she loves Emerson, but likes to have a little taste of what she called a typical college experience, which the BC marching band program allows. Football games, cheerleaders, and the smell of pizza coming from the stands form a refreshing change of scenery that Socolosky occasionally experiences when she performs with the band at home or away games.
“Emerson is so unique for what it is,” she said. “And to try adding in the typical college experience, you are going to mess it up. People go to Emerson for a reason, and it is not to see a football game, and it is not to play in the marching band.”
It is tough to have a marching band when you are in a city, said BC senior finance and information major Michael Wellington, because there is not enough space.
“It is especially hard because Emerson does not have a football team, and the marching band centers around football,” he said.
Wellington said he only applied to schools that had marching bands because music is a major aspect in his life—he said he has been playing the trumpet since fourth grade. The partnership program is the next best thing for urban students who want to be in a band, he said, because they receive the same privileges and opportunities as BC students.
According to sophomore Tyler Salomon, Emerson students attempted to create their own marching band. However, it never took off because there was not enough student interest, and it was not approved by the Student Government Association. Only a couple of people went to the meetings, said Salomon. He told the few students that were interested in the band about BC’s marching band partnership because he said he felt that it is the best program available.
Salomon, who is both a trumpet player and stand conductor, said he leads a double life studying journalism at Emerson and playing music at BC.
“How many people can say, ‘I perform in front of 40,000 people?’” he said.
Although Salomon played in his high school band, he said nothing compares to the overwhelming fanbase at BC. Salomon said he remembers his first college game vividly, recalling how he looked up at the stands and was amazed at the number of energetic people yelling from their seats. Remembering moments like these, he said, reminds him that the time and money he invests in band is worth it.
BC’s marching band went to Montreal in September to perform in the pregame and halftime show for the Montreal Alouettes, a Canadian football team. Salomon said his fondest college memory came from that trip.
“The feeling you get when you are performing, there is nothing like it,” he said.
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