Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Make music: life with the Spirit of San Antonio

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To experience being in marching band in high school is to experience feeling like the life of the crowd. Being responsible for the rhythmic percussion, peppy brass notes and enthusiastic woodwind sounds makes for a unique experience at sporting events.

While many students feel they must leave their band days behind them upon entering college, this doesn’t have to be the case to join The Spirit of San Antonio (SOSA), UTSA’s marching band. An interest in music, along with some ability to balance hard work with play is all it takes to become a SOSA member. Freshman biochemistry major Sara Dibrell can attest to this.

As Seguin High School’s 2014 valedictorian and a member of their band’s front ensemble for all four years, Sara learned early on how to manage her time. She’s transitioned from her high school’s percussion section to playing percussion with her fellow SOSA Roadrunners with ease.

Sara knew that she wanted to continue with band in her college career, but was still apprehensive about the audition process that SOSA requires of all its incoming students, which involves not only an initial musical assessment, but also evaluations of performance and attitude throughout the band’s summer practices.

“It was kind of nerve-wracking,” Sara admitted. “But I was still in the swing of things; it was pretty fun.”

Sara’s time commitment has changed since high school. In high school, she rehearsed every day. Now in college practices, Sara has longer rehearsals, but fewer days. SOSA rehearsals take up about ten hours a week, and all students in band must register for it in the fall semester as a Monday-Wednesday-Friday class. Sara says that this type of scheduling makes it easier for her to balance school, work and band, although she still had to make some sacrifices.

During the spring semester, band takes up the entirety of Sara’s weekends, which she would otherwise have used for homework or volunteering. As a member of Top Scholars, one of UTSA’s prestigious scholarship groups, Sara was able to balance band and academics well enough to earn a spot on the Dean’s List during the fall semester. Also a member of the volunteer organization VOICES, Sara has had to cut back her hours with the group significantly during the spring because of the pressures of competition season.

A brighter note is the social aspect of band. Many of her close friends are band members as well. They rehearse together, they have fun together. Band, she says, is kind of like a big family, “…especially the drumline.”

Despite her participation in band throughout high school, Sara considers this year as a totally new experience. Sara has traveled for competitions and performed in parades. She still enjoys football games the most.

“The atmosphere is a lot more exciting [than it is in high school] in the Alamodome with a bigger audience and more pressure,” she stated. “But it’s also more fun, because everyone who’s there really wants to be there. Everyone just wants to get better.”

Overall, Sara classifies her experience with SOSA so far as “pretty fabulous,” and believes that anyone with an interest in music should give it a try. And with roughly 80 percent of the band’s members being non-music majors, why not? A love for UTSA is what’s really important for joining the organization.

“It’s such a good way to get school spirit,” Sara shared, “because you really gain a lot of pride in your school.”

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