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Minnesota State University, Mankato
Minnesota State University, Mankato

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Maverick Machine Band a Big Part of Game Day

Marching band is now over 100 members strong.

2016-10-24
Robb Murray, Mankato Free Press, 10-21-2016

These days, Minnesota State University, Mankato’s marching band, the Maverick Machine, is 100 members strong and growing, a loud and proud presence at campus football and hockey games, a swarming mass of purple and gold pride.

But there was a time when it wasn’t so … proud.

In fact, the marching and pep band dwindled more than a decade ago to much humbler numbers. It dipped so low, in fact, that it just sort of died off. The band went away and no longer occupied its familiar place at Maverick home games.

And then, a few years ago, thanks to band director Michael Thursby, it came back.

It started small — maybe 30 members at first, wearing just purple T-shirts at hockey games. But they were good, and spirited, and that spirit was infectious. And today, after several years of solid growth, the Maverick Machine is indeed a machine. More than 100 members strong, they’ve become an undeniable part of gameday for both the football and hockey teams.

They march on the field and bring their increasingly big sound to the Verizon Wireless Center where they are the heart of the student section.

And now they’re holding the first of what they hope will become an annual event. It’s called Band Day and it takes place Oct. 29. It aims to give area middle and high school students the chance to actually perform with the Maverick Machine at a football game and attend clinic sessions for students interested in wind instruments, percussion, colorguard and baton performers.

“This is one of our big recruiting tools,” said Katelyn Royce, the band’s president and drum major. “We’re hoping to reach out to as many people from the community and local high school bands as possible, to say ‘This is what’s happening, do you want to join us?’ It’s a really, really great opportunity for people thinking about MSU and thinking about marching band.”

Royce said the band is starting to implement some new traditions. One of them is gathering together near the goalpost post-game and singing the Minnesota State Mankato Hymn. Perhaps one day the student section will join them.

“Singing the hymn was a good way to get it more well known,” Royce said. “When you think college gameday, you think face paint and marching band and burgers on the grill. We want to be a part of that.”

The entire version of this story can be read in a print copy of the Mankato Free Press. Call the Mankato Free Press at 625-4451 or (800) 657-4662 to find out how to purchase a print copy. The Free Press also prints select stories online at www.mankatofreepress.com.

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