UMass Band Day; Recollection

Photo Source: UMass Amherst

Photo Source: UMass Amherst

Dillon Metcalf, Writer

After four UMass Band Days spanning over five years, I have a chance to retrospect on the joys and experiences of the last UMass Band Day I will attend.


On UMass Band Day, high schoolers from across New England flock to UMass Amherst for a performance with the Minutemen Marching Band. Between 2500-3000 students perform at the halftime show alongside the college Minutemen. Some high school students, such as those from our very own Pentucket Pep Band, need to rise early for a long bus ride to get to a 9:00 AM rehearsal. 


Photo Source: Chaney Goldstein


Arriving at school on a Saturday at 5:30 AM is not typically how a typical teenager would wish to spend their weekend. However, to the band, this is the highlight of their year. Students bring blankets and pillows to sleep, food and games to entertain themselves, and band sportswear to show off to the other schools. Some students, as shown above, build blanket forts to have some fun while riding to Amherst. The vibe of the bus definitely varies; some students are eager and excited to watch college football and perform, while others just want to go back to sleep in the comforts of their homes. 


Arriving on campus, students immediately set up their instruments, gather their belongings, and run to rehearsal. College Minutemen await schools to arrive and share their exuberant jubilation for the day’s festivities. The air is always significantly colder at Amherst than that of West Newbury, so students came prepared with woolen hats and fingerless gloves to stay warm while playing at rehearsal.


Photo Source: The Minutemen Club


McGuirk Alumni Stadium is a large stadium, and thousands of people file in to find their section on the field. I was alone in my section, so I was forced to make quick friends with other section mates as I found my spot. The UMass students are always amazed at the number of saxophones that were in one place, and I found their amazement to be inspiring for their passion and excitement for music. The UMass tenor section usually had ten or so tenor saxophones. On this day, the UMass band had a total of 110 tenor saxophones. Being the only tenor saxophone at Pentucket, I was just as excited to be among so many peers on the field.


Photo Source: UMass Tenors Instagram


As rehearsal goes on, high schoolers are mentored by the college students in the same section (those that the same instruments). As the indoctrination of college tradition ensues, students were given the opportunity to take valuable lessons and experience for themselves. Personally, I found this experience rewarding and exciting that only furthered my musical career every year I attended. Not to mention, college students are really fun to hang out with.


Although the game was lackluster, UMass lost to Liberty, both the Halftime Feature* and the UMass Minutemen Feature Show* were phenomenal and fun to participate in and watch respectively. This year, the UMass Minuteman Marching Band played a selection of songs including Chic Corea’s “Night Streets” and “Spain” The half-time piece included a medley of songs from High School Musical including “We are all in this together” and “Can I have this Dance?” Both of the performances were fan favorites of many young musicians, so the excitement was very high throughout the performance.


*All performances can be found in the google album link at the bottom of this article.


Photo Source: Disney Plus


I am applying to UMass Amherst this fall, and UMass band day has definitely driven me to that choice. The event has shown me what dedication and passion can create. UMass Band Day was a staple of my high school career for the delivery of strong mentorship and valuable experience. As a musician, I had the chance to play with some of the most talented young people, and as a high school student I got a taste of college culture several years beforehand. I recommend all young high school musicians to attend this event for its insights and exciting atmosphere.


Photo Album from UMass Band Day

Compiled by Chaney Goldstein

Photos Taken by Chaney Goldstein, Alex Donovan, Julia Spalding, and Pentucket Band


UMass Band Day 2022 World’s Largest Rock Beat, and more!!

Source: Ean Goreham