Marching to a new beat: the Pride of the Profs take center stage

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The Pride of the Profs marching band practicing for a Saturday night, Sept. 16 football game. - Contributor / Heath Bernstein

They’re back, baby! The new Rowan Marching Band, now called the Pride of The Profs, made a triumphant return thanks in part to a generous six-figure donation from philanthropist John H. Martinson. The Pride of the Profs features woodwinds, brass, drumline, front ensemble, and color guard. 

The band started practicing in August under the direction of Megan Cooney, the director of athletic bands. Now that the semester is underway, the band practices three times a week. According to Cooney, the former version of the marching band folded in the 1980s. Resurrecting the band in 2023 presented a unique set of challenges.

“Since it was gone for so long, we didn’t have literally anything left over from it. So all the instruments, uniforms, and equipment are new. Finding rehearsal space and time. Literally building all the instruments by hand from scratch,” said Cooney.

There was also the matter of finding students interested in joining. Cooney decided to open up recruitment to all students, even those not in the music program.

 “We ran a lot of social media campaigns. I think I’m a pretty persuasive, charismatic person. So it helps that I have that going for me. To the current students, it was just a lot of setting up tables, campaigning, getting fliers in people’s hands,” said Cooney. “We put out a lot of things in the Rowan announcer to current students in the college or performing arts. For students who weren’t at Rowan yet, we just did a lot of social media stuff, and that seems to really work.”

Cooney sees the band having some other plans further down the line this year.

“We will shift over into a pep band model for the spring,” said Cooney. “That will hopefully be at all home basketball games, men’s and women’s, and then we’ll start working in some ice hockey games as well.” 

Sophomore Rachel Gavi from Deptford plays the French horn for the marching band and is also a music education major. She played in her high school marching band and didn’t think of marching in college until she saw the band perform. 

“I saw them in a parade and I said, ‘I want to do that,’ but I had to join the band first. So I think now that it’s here, I feel like I have more of a place because that was a really hard challenge for me coming into Rowan and because I was prepared to have basically hung up the jacket I was set on. I was like, ‘I’m never gonna do this again,’ and now that I get to do it again. It’s really amazing,” said Gavi.

Gavi acknowledged that building chemistry and teamwork amongst the band is a work in progress. 

“That was really the main challenge because there were no traditions or existing culture. So it was really just making them up as we went through pre-camp and main camp,” Gavi said.  

Thanks to the leadership of Megan Cooney and a dedicated and talented band, The Pride of the Profs is here to stay. If you are interested in joining the band email Professor Cooney at cooneym@rowan.edu 

For comments/questions about this story DM us on Instagram @thewhitatrowan or email thewhit.newseditor@gmail.com

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