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Tigers in Rome

At the end of December and into January, Olivet’s marching band plans to travel to Rome for ten days to perform and explore the historic city. One hundred students are committed to this venture as well as 25 chaperones, including Dr. and Mrs. Bowling. The marching band is scheduled to participate in the legendary New Year’s Parade and the concert band will perform Christmas music and hymns at a Roman church. The band will also perform at Frascati, a summer home of government officials.

Every four years, the marching band embarks on an international trip to share their talent with new audiences and to experience music in new, exciting environments. The decision to go to Rome this year was largely due to the band’s relationship with Destination Events, which is the same company that provided services for the marching band’s trip to London in 2016. Dr. Matthew Stratton, who serves as director for the ONU Tiger Marching Band, chose to work with Destination Events for a second time due to their first-class service.

While in Rome, the band will not only showcase their musical abilities, but also take time to discover the city. The band plans to visit the Colosseum, Trevi Fountain, the Roman Forum, Vatican City, and take a day trip to Pompeii. Dr. Stratton had the opportunity to tour Italy last summer for inspection. He is eager to go back with his marching band in tow to revisit the historic city, walk its cobblestone streets, and savor its gelato.

In accordance with Olivet’s Christian values, the band will not only be performing and sightseeing, but they will also be serving the community. During the 2016 trip to London, they organized a clothing drive to provide the needy and homeless with warm clothing for the colder months. The band plans to serve in this fashion once more in Rome. They will take up a collection of clothing items to provide for those in need. Donating clothing items to the band is one way parents, churches, friends, and fans of the ONU Tiger Marching Band can get involved.

Outside of these clothing donations, others can aid their trip to Rome by taking advantage of the many fundraisers they offer. At $3,400 per student, the band members are working tirelessly to raise enough money to go on the trip. The band is partnering with several Italian restaurants in Bourbonnais including Olive Garden, Tucci’s, and Papi’s Pizza to host “restaurant nights.” They have also partnered with businesses such as Yankee Candle and Fannie May. They are currently selling T-shirts of their “When in Rome” field show that can be purchased through their Facebook page, “The ONU Tiger Marching Band,” or Instagram, @onumarching.

This fall marching season, the band is working on a field show entitled “When in Rome” to inform and celebrate their upcoming overseas journey. The show is an Italian spectacle including “Scenes from an Italian Restaurant” by Billy Joel, a brass fanfare, and a percussion feature written by Dr. Matt Jacklin. According to sophomore Jessica Buffa, who serves as the color guard’s assistant captain, the field show incorporates a colorful Italian set and costumes.

Atop twelve tables decked out with red-and-white checkered tablecloths, the color guard stands, dances, and spins props. Clad in Italian garb, the guard will also make use of their costume for the routine by integrating scarves into their choreography. As a twist, the field show will also involve the marching band who will be moving tables and dancing around them.

Senior drum major Ellen Fennell reveals that the band practiced dances during band camp leading up to the field show to help the band members grow more comfortable with dancing on the field. She says they are enjoying it and will continue to work hard on the routine.

Beyond all the excitement of the trip to Rome and the new field show, the ONU Tiger Marching Band stays grounded in each other and in faith. During every rehearsal, they state their hashtags in unison: #family #forthelord #onuband. Whatever the band does and wherever they travel, they keep Christ at the center. Dr. Stratton states, “God leads the band and so we just pray that we have enough energy and resources to follow.”

Photos by: Marching Media

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