Band and auxiliary are living up to this year’s expectations

The Robert Morris University band and dance team are seen at every home football and basketball game, helping stir up spirit in the fans and athletes.

The director of the marching band, pep band and jazz band, Elisabeth Charles had expectations of excellence going into this school year.

She feels that excellence has been seen through the performances these groups have done this year.

“Due to the increased size of the band, auxiliary and dance team, there is an increased spirit,” Charles said.

The band does alter their play list according to what goes on in the games, and they correspond with the athletic department and work around any special events they plan.

“We add to the enthusiasm and excitement at the games. We have a preconceived schedule that we follow, but sometimes things happen and I make sure that what we play is appropriate. If the game is going normally, we play what we had planned, but we always have to be prepared to kick in something special,” said Charles.

The auxiliary coach, Diana Sektnan, says that she feels they bring spirit to the games. She says they are full of energy this year and are staying enthusiastic and positive.

“We only had three to five last year and now we have 11 [members],” Sektnan said. “We are looking to build our numbers to about 15 and keep the energy level up.”

Charles said that she is especially looking forward to the basketball season and seeing what the RMU team can do and is hoping to go into post-tournament play.

In addition to the upcoming basketball season, the jazz band currently plays upbeat, well-known music at hockey games as well as has their own concerts.

These musical groups take part in events outside of sports, too.

“We collected school supplies at the very beginning of the school year for underprivileged children. So, in addition to bringing spirit to the games and civic and university events, we do things for our community because I feel like the band kids are pretty blessed,” said Charles.

One of the civic events the band and dance team took part in was the Pittsburgh Labor Day parade where they won first place in the senior band division.

Charles views the win as an accomplishment.

“We do not have a school of music at Robert Morris, so all the young people in the band are doing it because they love music, they are not studying music and I think that’s fantastic that we took first place.”

As the RMU band director of four years, Charles feels the “band gets better.”

“Every year the band gets a little bigger. We are attracting better musicians, better marchers,” she added.

There were about 30 musicians her first year. Now, the band is up to more than 50 this year plus 17 in the auxiliary.

For next year, Charles wants bigger, better everything and said that the rookies from this year and last year come in with an attitude about what band is supposed to be.