Music program adds marching

Mario Saldana, Reporter

The band program at Bakersfield College has been expanding over the years, and now with the new semester, the Renegade Marching Band is back after a decade absense with the help of Tim Heasley and many of the music coaches.

If all goes well, the band will soon be playing at Memorial Stadium.

Many occasional pep band programs have come and gone over the years due to student interests. Heasley, a Performing Arts instructor and director of the drumline, has always wanted to develop a marching band program.

Heasley has been successful in developing the drumline, which started as an indoor drumline and has grown by going to the world championships in Dayton, Ohio, last year and winning sixth place nationally.

In 2014, the drumline expanded into a drum and bugle corps, an ensemble comprised of a drumline, a brass section, and color guard with 93 students participating in the program the first year. The next year the 115 students competed in Drum Core Internationals competition, and last summer grew to 132 students.

Heasley is attempting to develop a marching band that would do the same things that the band of decades ago did. The idea with this new program is to regrow what it once was and find student interest in the program. Heasley hopes the band will perform at BC football games, parades in town and eventually traveling out of town as well, just like the formal marching band before them.

He refers to the marching band in the past decades as “the most visible aspect part of the college. It was at all the football games, of course, around the community and even represented the college out of the state.”

Starting a new program is a challenge for Heasley and the couple of coaches who are working with him. They are trying to figure out a way to grow from scratch with limited resources and finding students. Though recently the band was a handful of students, they have had many students go in and check out the program, and have been open to students who have likely come out of high school who played in band and offer them a marching band experience.

With the size of the band and with the small group of students they are working with, they are brainstorming a direction they want to first start out on. Heasley mentioned that they want to start with more indoor-oriented venues like the drumline, having a smaller venue to support their ensemble and sound due to the size instead of being a small group playing at Memorial Stadium trying to fill their sound throughout the stands during games.

When asked about how soon will students be able to see the BC marching band perform at any games or events, Heasley’s response was that he really isn’t too sure of when they’ll start playing.

“What’s more important for the marching band staff right now is to not rush this program, to go out and play at a football stadium, but to give the students who are part of the marching band quality learning and starting at the right venues to find success as individual students, with all of them on board with it,” said Heasley.

Any students interested in the marching band or any other music programs are welcome to contact Heasley or come to his office in PAC 5.