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Laker Pride marching band debuts on Saturday

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

“And Now, Ladies and Gentlemen: From Erie, Pennsylvania … Mercyhurst University proudly presents ... under the field direction of Senior Drum Major Kevin Timko and Sophomore Assistant Drum Major Lacey Tologo – Laker Pride - The Mercyhurst University Marching Band.”

And with that introduction, the university’s athletic bands will debut a new marching ensemble during game day Saturday at Tullio Field, when the Lakers meet the East Stroudsburg University Warriors at noon.

If the choreographed drills and the popular tunes aren’t enough, the Laker Pride will also be brandishing new uniforms in Mercyhurst shades of green, blue and white.

“We couldn’t be more excited,” said band director Robert K. Reid of the university’s new marching corps, which evolved from a standing unit to a marching unit in just a year.

Reid, a 40-year veteran of the band scene, came to Mercyhurst in 2014 as band director, taking a program that in 2012 had only 15 musicians to one that this year boasts over 70.

Reid credited the support of President Michael Victor’s administration, athletics leaders Joe Kimball and Lauren Packer Webster, coaches and admissions personnel. Everyone worked together to recruit a great group of student musicians.

“We have students who have never marched and others who were in competitive programs in high school,” Reid said. “Our students represent nearly every major on campus and come from as far away as Las Vegas and Texas.”

Assisting Reid in readying the band for Saturday’s debut are music teachers from Erie County: Dian Smith, visual coordinator and percussion instructor, Brian Gresh, brass and drill instructor, and Kim Smrcka, pit instructor. The actual drill was designed by Carl Miller.

“The audience can expect a full marching show, choreographed from beginning to end,” Reid said. “And while some bands play music that a lot of people don’t recognize, we like to play songs that everyone is familiar with, like the Hoagy Carmichael classic ‘Georgia,’ and the rock group Kansas’ first top-40 hit, ‘Carry On My Wayward Son’.”

Laker Pride will perform at home and away football games as well as other campus events, pep rallies and alumni tailgates. The Athletic “Pep” Bands play for men’s and women’s ice hockey and basketball contests. Additionally, these bands can be heard at volleyball and soccer events.

(PHOTO: 2015 athletic band file photo)