EAST LANSING, Mich. — As the sun sets on the banks of the Red Cedar, it's rising on a new season for the Spartan Marching Band.
“We’re all so so so excited to be back,” said band President, Drum Line and Snare Line section leader Yates McLaughlin.
For some, like drum major Samantha Barringer, this was her dream.
“I saw the drum majors and I just remember making it a point like I'm totally going to try to be a drum major," she said.
For others like band Vice President and alto saxophone section leader Tyler Stump, he didn't know this is where he needed to be until he auditioned.
"I auditioned thinking I wouldn't get in because I came from a really small school and then I got in," he said.
McLaughlin wasn't so lucky the first time.
"I was, what some people call, cut from the group during the audition," McLaughlin said.
But it was meant to be.
"Dr. John Webber decided to call me in the middle of the summer and say 'hey, someone got hurt we got a spot for you,'" McLaughlin said.
This year is extra special because last year didn't happen.
“We got to go to the bowl games and stuff," McLaughlin said. "Then it was nothing."
"A huge piece of my heart is in marching band, why am I not enrolled in that right now," Barringer said.
"A lot of us lost the ability to connect with our horns, to connect with the people we play our horns next to," Stump said. "Also, just kind of lost what this community meant to us."
But this year they got the good news that this season was a go.
“It was a really big moment for all of us to embrace each other and kind of remember that this is home," Stump said.
They got right to dusting off their instruments and playing with all 300 members together.
"Every time we're here at practice, everyone is just pumped and ready to go and like the sound is just amazing," Barringer said.
Getting ready to hype up the crowd in Spartan Stadium and taking in every moment.
"We're not guaranteed another rep, we're not guaranteed another show, we're not guaranteed another day really on this university because of what's going on in the world," Stump said.
“We’re back and we're better than ever," McLaughlin said."
The Spartan Marching Band will take to the field at the first home game Sept. 11 where the Spartans will take on Youngstown State.
Their halftime show will pay tribute to the victims of 9/11 and first responders during the pandemic.