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Quaker Valley marching band leaders say alumni members are 'legacy'

| Wednesday, Jan. 15, 2014, 9:00 p.m.

In an effort to build ties with alumni, Quaker Valley Marching Band leaders are searching for past members as the band's 60th anniversary approaches.

“A band with our history and legacy, to not be in touch with the very people who are that legacy, that's not something we can let stand any longer,” Director Cory Neville said.

Connecting with more marching band alumni through past members and social media is important for current and future student musicians, and for the community, Neville said.

“I don't think the current students have a clear sense of how big of a deal the marching band has been for the community,” he said. “The more informed the current students are about the history of the band, the more likely they will see themselves as part of that legacy.”

Neville said he wants to have a formal alumni group in place for the 2015-16 season — the band's 60th year. The band currently has 56 members.

Through a Facebook group, Neville already has connected with more than 150 past members.

“The exciting thing about getting them back together (is that) the alumni are already brainstorming about how they can help,” he said.

As federal and state educational standards focus on science and math, Neville said he hopes band alumni can help current students and parents understand the value of arts education.

“I find music teachers across the country are having a difficult case to make about why studying the arts is important and why participating in the arts is valuable,” he said.

“(Alumni) might tell you that discipline they learned in band set them up very well when they got to college, and the work ethic helped when entering the working world.”

Neville said he hopes formation of an alumni group would spur past members' interest in performing again. The push to connect with past members could usher in a new era for the band.

“As students become vested in history and alumni become involved, the path will become clear,” he said.

Bobby Cherry is an associate editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-324-1408 or rcherry@tribweb.com.

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