Band program marches onto C of I campus

The College of Idaho Music Department—and fans’ traditional march from campus to Simplot Stadium before home football games—just got a little more boisterous.

This fall, the C of I will add a new marching band program, complementing its outstanding musical tradition with a boost in brass, percussion and woodwinds. C of I Band Director Luke Strother already is recruiting outstanding marching band students to help launch the program in fall 2016.

 “As we build the marching band, we’ll also have students for symphonic band, jazz band and more musicians to participate in symphony orchestra and opera,” Strother said. “So it strengthens and adds to the College’s music department as a whole.”

The creation of a marching band comes two years after the reinstatement of the C of I football program. Coyote football has enjoyed great success on the field and has been a huge hit in the community, ranking No. 2 in the nation for NAIA football attendance. The addition of a marching band will further enhance the game day atmosphere and, like football, open doors for new students to experience the many benefits of an outstanding liberal arts education at the C of I. 

“This program has the potential to be so much more than a marching band,” said John Ottenhoff, C of I vice president for academic affairs and dean of the faculty. “We hope and believe that it will invigorate our music program and the entire campus.”

Strother, who specializes in the trombone, has already started to build the program. In 2015, he led a 20-student pep band that played during football and basketball games. Over the next few years, he’ll more than double the size of the group, utilizing the strong high school programs present throughout Idaho and beyond.

“We have great turnouts at our football games and it seemed like an official marching band was the last thing missing,” said C of I sophomore Dallin Kroon, president of the student drumline. “I’m excited to be part of The College of Idaho marching band in its infancy.”

This spring, Strother will visit local high schools to talk about the new program. An advantage of a smaller music department at the C of I, he said, is there will be ample opportunity for students to play. They won’t have to sit behind 40 older trumpet players and wait until they are a junior or senior before they get a chance to shine.

“Playing at football games is incredible, being right there on the field and being around all the excitement,” Kroon said. “The football program has been a big deal and I get comments from coaches and players about how much they love having us there. But students won’t stop with just the marching band. We have a jazz ensemble and other groups that would fill up and be beyond incredible with the amount of musical talent we have at this school.”

Students interested in joining or learning more about the C of I marching band are encouraged to contact Dr. Strother at [email protected].

The College of Idaho has a 125-year-old legacy of excellence. The C of I is known for its outstanding academic programs, winning athletics tradition and history of producing successful graduates, including seven Rhodes Scholars, three governors, four NFL players and countless business leaders and innovators. Its distinctive PEAK Curriculum challenges students to attain competency in the four knowledge peaks of humanities, natural sciences, social sciences and a professional field—empowering them to earn a major and three minors in four years. The College’s close-knit, residential campus is located in Caldwell, where its proximity both to Boise and to the world-class outdoor activities of southwest Idaho’s mountains and rivers offers unique opportunities for learning beyond the classroom.  For more information, visit