Wichita State University is getting a new marching band this fall.
Shocker Sound Machine will be the university’s first marching band since its football program was shut down in 1986.
While there are no football games, students will perform at other events across campus, including basketball games. The band will likely play four men’s and four women’s games this year. A smaller version of the band will play at those games to comply with NCAA restrictions.
“We cannot fit a hundred kids onto a basketball court,” said Aleks Sternfield-Dunn, the director WSU's School of Music. "So what they will do is they will also rotate in for different games.”
Dunn said the university is investing about $320,000 in the project. He added that the lack of a marching band has hindered recruitment and reinstating one has been part of the school’s strategic plan.
"We have literally been at music conferences with booths set up and had students walk up and say, 'Tell us about your marching band.' We go, 'Well, we don’t have one,' and they turn around and leave,” Dunn said.
Shocker Sound Machine won’t replace the Shocker Sound pep band, which already plays at games.
Enrolled students can audition for Shocker Sound Machine during the first week of classes.
Stephan Bisaha reports on education for KMUW in Wichita and the Kansas News Service, a collaboration of KMUW, Kansas Public Radio, KCUR and High Plains Public Radio covering health, education and politics. Follow him on Twitter @SteveBisaha. Kansas News Service stories and photos may be republished at no cost with proper attribution and a link back to the original post.