Story by Bryan Edwards, Contributing writer
Murray State Racers won’t be the only ones making their way to Roy Stewart Stadium this season, as Coach Mitch Stewart prepares his team for the upcoming season. The field will be shared, as it is another year for the Racer Band to make their mark with the usual pregame and halftime entertainment.
The 2016 edition of the Racer Band is standing at 210 members this season, said John Fannin, the director of the Racer Band. Fannin, in his 22nd year directing the Racer Band, has had this season in preparation since December 2015.
“There are little things that are planned throughout the year,” Fannin said. “But the major planning begins in December after the season.”
Fannin does this so the Racer Band can be ready to tackle the next year when August comes. Fannin hopes to get a jump start on the upcoming season and to be full force by the time games begin.
The Racer Band will be doing two different marching shows this season, collecting pop hits from Queen and Imogen Heap to satisfy the die-hard classic rock fans, as well as music performed by Ariana Grande and Justin Timberlake. Fannin refers to the process for picking music for the upcoming year as “The Post.”
Students who will be participating in the upcoming season, as well as some who will be in the stands to listen, will post different choices of music that they believe fans will want to hear.
Fannin is not alone, however. Along with band director Dennis Johnson and Todd Hill, director of jazz studies, Fannin has developed a leadership team. The team, which is composed of Murray State students, will help him run the 210-member group. The positions vary from Racer Band president, to the band’s secretary, all the way to the Band Ambassadors of the Residential College (BARCs). Fannin said the students do everything, and are really taking control. Lucas Morgan, Racer Band president and Murray State sophomore, said the leadership team is very important and he couldn’t do it without them.
Roy Stewart Stadium will not be the only place that the Racer Band will be performing. They plan to visit surrounding high schools to recruit for the organization. The Racer Band will be traveling to Hopkinsville, Kentucky, for the Kentucky Music Educators Association (KMEA) Hopkinsville Super Regional Marching Band Competition on Oct. 22, as well as another trip to a location to be announced on Oct. 1. Murray State will also be hosting the annual Festival of Champions on Sept. 17, at Roy Stewart Stadium.
A busy schedule as always for Fannin and the Racer Band will be tough, but senior Zach Samuelson said the band is very capable and prepared to tackle the test.
“This year, the entire band has done a great job learning and retaining the information that Mr. Fannin and the leaders are giving them,” Samuelson said. “We’re moving very quickly for how early it is in the season.”
The Racer Band begins their season at 6 p.m. Sept. 10, when the Racers play Missouri State at Roy Stewart Stadium. Fans are encouraged to arrive early to watch the pregame show and stay for the halftime show as Racer Band takes the field.