Augustana’s marching band returns to the field following 47 year hiatus

After removing the program in 1974, Augustana University has revived the Viking Marching Band. Students have been working hard during camp, putting in twelve-hour-per-day practices to accomplish these first steps as a team.

There are 72 students participating in the band with a variety of backgrounds. Whether it be performing with other bands in the past or never having marched on a field, these students are stepping up to new challenges.

Band camp began on Aug. 24, and the group will continue to practice Mondays through Wednesdays with performances on game days. Students are memorizing performance pieces, how to march on and off a field and how to work as a team.

“The progression of the group from the beginning of the year to what we will see in October/November has been growing quickly,” Senior drum major Max Outland said. “I am absolutely amazed by the progress that we have made, especially with the diversity of backgrounds of performances.”

All students are eligible to participate and still join in the marching band, whether they have marched in high school or have no marching experience at all. Everyone is working together to grow as one. With this growth in the band, they also have a new director, Andrew Hayward.

Hayward joined Augustana University from Keiser University in West Palm Beach, Florida. He has been an educator and performer in the field of marching band for 22 years. Hayward is the CEO and head designer of his own marching arts design company. He  had the opportunity to help conduct symposiums with other conductors and be a member of the College Band Directors National Association.

“He brings a calm enthusiasm and cool energy to the field,” School of Music Dean Peter Folliard said. “Then when the students are around and the music is starting, you can see the fire light up inside him, radiating out of him. He’s starting a whole new tradition.”

The support of the university and the Sioux Falls community has allowed opportunity for the band to thrive.

The new program has a few plans. So far they will play at home football games. These performances will be before the game, halftime and after. They will play some small pep songs in the stands between downs. They will also implement a performance during the Viking Days parade.

“Especially being a new program, with different experiences, the members [are] eating up all of the information,” Hayward said. “They’re excelling at it.”

The band debuted with “Bohemian Rhapsody” and “Somebody to Love” by Queen at the first home game Sept. 4 during halftime. There has been a positive response from students and families according to Folliard.

“I already know what we’re going to do for the next couple of shows,” Hayward said but would not reveal anything else about these upcoming performances.

Senior Morgan O’Neal plays the trumpet and is captain of the “highs.” They lead the trumpets, flutes and clarinets.

“It was really cool to see the support the marching band had with it being new and all,” O’Neal said. “You don’t really see the support you have until everyone sees you perform.”

O’Neal said they were nervous for being gone so long. Now they feel more confident with the growth and how strong everyone has turned out to be.

“Looking at photographs before, it looked like such an important piece of Augustana’s culture,” O’Neal said. “Can we come back full force, live up to Alumni standards, make everyone proud?’”

The Viking Marching Band will perform at the next home football game on Sept.18 at the Kirkeby-Over Stadium.