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Behind the scenes of GOMB

Governor’s Own Marching Band is much more than just a marching band, GOMB is hard-work, 12-hour days, learning fundamentals of playing instruments while marching, but most importantly, GOMB is a strong family unit.

“This year’s group is really special,” director of GOMB Professor John Schnettler said. “We have a lot of new members, a lot of freshmen coming in with a lot of energy and positivity, and I think that this year’s GOMB has a lot to offer.”

The GOMB is primarily made up of non-music majors, which is about two-thirds of the group, and the rest are music majors. Each member is required to play an instrument or to spin a flag, but GOMB is open to all majors and all students who wish to join.

“Some things I look for in my members are an internal drive for excellence, they need to be self-motivators. Especially since we don’t have a lot of practice time, they need to have pride in their performances, but should be able to evaluate themselves on how they can improve.” Schnettler said.” They definitely need an interest in representing us, since we are one of the faces of the university, and we play in front of large crowds of people not just in our community either. So, their actions and maturity for how they represent the university and our organization matters.”

“I am hoping to take away lifelong relationships. I truly enjoy being a part of the GOMB because of the people that I get to be with every day,” sophomore Music Education Major and mellophone section leader, Yu Hirono said.

Each summer, the students come together for a week to practice each year’s themed show.

They spend about 12 to 13 hours per day on campus to learn everything from technique,formations, to the half-time shows and pre-game music.

“[Bandcamp] is nonstop pedal to the metal,” Schnettler said.

Among the student’s busy week, they manage to set aside time to make the week a little more enjoyable by having their own Spirit Week and each night is themed differently.Some examples are : “Meme Night” and “Skit Night.”

At the end of the week, they pick which instrument section had the most “spirit,” so it causes a lot of competition between each section.

Despite the competition, there are over 170 students in the band from all different backgrounds, religious affiliations and political beliefs.

They set all of that aside to come together and perform together.

“Those issues just don’t come up,” Schnettler said. “This is sort of what I wish would happen in society, but it is never an issue [with GOMB].”

This year’s theme is “Distorted,” and it has to do with the manipulation of time, the body and so on.

The songs from this year’s show are “Distorted” from Cirque du Soleil, which was the inspiration behind the title and has to do with body distortions (they are not incorporated into the show), “Psychopomp” by Thank You Scientist, and that has to do with time distortion.

There is a mash-up between “Seven Nation Army” by The White Stripes and “Sweet Dreams” by The Eurythmics, that is a distortion in itself as “Seven Nation Dreams” that was arranged by the music department.

Then, they finish the show with “Uprising” by Muse, which is a full-on rock song, with guitar distortion and it is high energy.

“I want people to take away an appreciation of what the marching band means. I want them to take away the energy and diversity we have to offer as an essential part of the game day experience,” Schnettler said.

GOMB relies heavily on student leadership, from outside instructors to graduate assistants, to undergraduate student leadership positions.

Graduate Assistants function as directors, and they offer structural and logistical support throughout the week.

GOMB’s graduate assistants this year are Zach Cheever, Jordan Bennett and Kacee Sanders.

“We cannot do any of this without them,” Schnettler said.

GOMB has student leadership positions that make everything possible for the band, and positions such as conductors (drum majors) and the the president all make a huge difference.

“If I could say anything to Mr. Schnettler or the GOMB as a whole it would be that I am so thankful for the many memories that have been created because of this group and I can’t wait to make many more,” a junior Social Work Major,and Drum Major for the band Howard said. “Also, just thank you for being my second family; I love you guys.”

 Schnettler has a message for this year’s GOMB:

“The palpable energy of a live GOMB performance can never be replicated – savor those fleeting moments.  The lifelong bonds we create with each other will last forever – appreciate these enduring relationships. You are the reason GOMB is and always will be a family.  Thank you for believing in this culture. Who are we?”

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