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Thank You Golden Buffalo Marching Band: Four Great Years

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The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at CU Boulder chapter.

In May of 2020, before even arriving on campus, I knew my future college life had changed forever because I submitted my application to join the Golden Buffalo Marching Band. Now, before this month, I was so adamant about not joining the marching band in college simply because I had succumbed to the stigma about it being harder than high school marching band. If it were not for my mother sitting me down and saying 2020 would look completely different when it came to schooling and that she wanted me to have a bit of normalcy, I probably wouldn’t have joined the band.

My first year of college marching band was pretty much a blur—it might have been because marching band practice was on Zoom or on Folsom Field, where we were spread out between three-to-four isolated sections. The best thing about my first year was not having to learn to play the piccolo while the sky was red and ash was falling from the sky during the Colorado fires of 2020; it was the people I met and how they are still some of my closest friends to this day. On the first day of marching band, I met my best friend–I sort of forced her to be friends with me because we played the same instrument, lived in the same neighborhood and were enrolled in the same program at CU. To this day, I think it was the best decision for me to ride my bike to band camp. The first year went by in a blink of an eye—by the time it ended, it felt like it was still just  starting.

My second year in the program was somewhat-normal, even though COVID-19 was still prominent. I got back into marching and was reminded of why I loved it so much. I faced some challenges, one of them being becoming an alternate for the pregame show. I was disappointed—I thought I’d tried my best, but I would not let it ruin my season. I still got to learn and be part of everything, and I got to improve upon my marching skills because I had to learn five different marching spots. I could not become stagnant learning these different spots–in fact, the task made me want to hone in more. Marching band is more than just playing music, it’s also about time management, which I had to relearn since all my classes my first year were on Zoom. My second year was full of fun memories, from stepping onto Folsom Field in a packed stadium and engaging with Buffs and other fans at Stampedes to early call times, running to Starbucksand laughing and singing while getting ready in S134 right before stepping off.

I think the most challenging year for me both school-wise and marching-band-wise was my junior year, so much so that going into my senior year, I was contemplating if I wanted to quit the marching band. However, during junior year, I decided I would try out for a leadership position and I became squad leader. By the end of the season,I learned more about myself than anything. I would rather be a leader behind the scenes than upfront. I did not know how to deal with confrontations or handle challenges, which is okay. I knew time management, communication, and other things that I think functioned better behind the scenes. 

During this year, I also fell in love with running our section’s social media page—it became my driving force. I’ve always loved social media, but my peers gave me the opportunity to let me hone in on this passion and see if this was something I’d want to continue pursuing. Junior year became more about the laughs and interactions with the whole band in general rather than the games, since that year we were losing 1-11. Going to the games and staying the entire time became a struggle–let’s be honest: no one likes losing, and we did a lot of that. 

Now, we are here at my last season: my senior year. This year was packed with so many different events and games. I got to be part of First Take and I gotta see Shannon Sharp and Stephen A., and be a part of First Take which I never thought would be possible. We were a winning team for the first half of that season. I came into this season with an open mind because I held no leadership position. Almost all my best friends were still in the marching band with me and I wanted to make it a good last season. Looking back, it was my best season yet. I made new friends while strengthening connections with old ones, I had more opportunities as a senior and I wanted to end on a high note which, for me, meant fewer tears than the year before. My favorite memory is having sleepovers at my friend’s apartment every night before a home game—it was just us laughing about something that had happened during the week at band camp, then waking up before the sun, not prepared to march. After practice was over, both of us would chug our energy drinks to get us through the game, then we’d head to iHop to get pancakes. By then, it was well deserved.

Looking back, without The Golden Buffalo Marching Band, I don’t know where I would be or who I would have turned out to be. Band has been a big part of my life, characterized by 11 years of playing an instrument and another 8 years of participating in marching band. I am so thankful to every person in the marching band because without them, my college experience would have been a little boring, to say the least. 

Kennedy Pickering

CU Boulder '24

Kennedy is a Senior at the University of Colorado Boulder majoring in Media Studies and minoring in Women and Gender Studies, as well as Sports Media. I love to write about my life, and the nerdy hobbies that have taken a hold of my life, but I mainly love to write about different versions of feminism as well as my life as a Black student that attends a PWI. When I am not writing you can find me binge-reading the new young adult romance novel, all the movies in the Harry Potter series, rewatching Disney classics from TV shows to movies.