Alumni Band Virtual Event

Russ+Coleman%2C+who+has+been+the+director+of+bands+for+32+years%2C+is+conducting+in+front+of+the+Alumni+Band+members.+%22It%27s+too+bad+we+can%27t+get+together+to+play+this+year%2C%22+Coleman+said.+%22But+time+will+tell+when+we+can+have+time+to+play+again.%22+

Photo by Alumni Band Historian Pat Setser

Russ Coleman, who has been the director of bands for 32 years, is conducting in front of the Alumni Band members. “It’s too bad we can’t get together to play this year,” Coleman said. “But time will tell when we can have time to play again.”

Written by Meah Copeland, Sports Editor

 Every year, the University of Central Missouri Alumni Band performs at Homecoming, where they play the school fight song during halftime of the football game. Usually at concerts, Russ Coleman would conduct two pieces, and Anthony Pursell would also conduct two pieces.  However, because of the pandemic, the group was unable to get together. The president of UCM Alumni Band Bret Fischer and director of bands Anthony Pursell made the decision to have a virtual event during the We Are UCM celebration week. Fischer oversees and communicates with the alumni to keep in touch with the current band. Pursell manages the UCM band along with Julia Baumanis. 

  The UCM Alumni Band is made up of graduates who were members of the Marching Mules.

   “It is a great way for everyone to stay connected with each other and the university,” Fischer said. “It gives us an opportunity to make music together.”

The Alumni Band practiced in February 2020 for their upcoming event. They were getting ready to perform on President’s Day. Russ Coleman is conducting the group. They spent three hours practicing before the concert started. (Photo by Alumni Band Historian Pat Setser)

  The alumni virtual event was hosted by Fischer and Pursell. There were about 30 people, mostly alumni, in attendance. UCM President Roger Best attended the event, along with Eric Honour and Russ Coleman. Honour is the head of the music department. Coleman was the UCM director of bands for 32 years. He has made an impact for everyone who knew him by most alumnis. 

  During the event, there were two presentations given. Best welcomed the Alumni Band and talked about the impact they had on the Marching Mules. 

  “So grateful for everyone’s support,” Best said. “[The Alumni Band is] making such a tremendous impact for our current students.” 

  Pat Smithson, a representative for the College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences, gave a presentation to the group about the projects for the Marching Mules.  

  Pursell put on a powerpoint presentation for the alumni. He talked about the donations that were given to the band, which made the purchase of new uniforms possible. They purchased 285 new uniforms, and the band now has five racks to hang the uniforms. Pursell said the ideal goal is to purchase one more rack for the rest of the uniforms. The Marching Mules are also looking for more donations so they can replace old instruments and give more scholarships to high school students. 

  The alumni virtual event concluded with their board meeting. Some people stayed online to talk with one another. Last time they were together was in February 2020, so everyone liked listening to each other’s stories and about how their lives have been since the pandemic started.  

  “I think that it was a wonderful event and it shows how much of a family that we are,” Alumni Band Vice President Sandy Green said. “It’s something that I look forward to each year.”