Welcome Letter to All Alums From Dr. Sparks

Welcome to all Maryland Band Alumni!

Homecoming is upon us and The Big Event will take place on Friday night, October 24th as we will be hosting all participants of the Maryland Band Program at a reception in the John E. Wakefield Band Rehearsal Hall. We are expecting band alumni dating back into the 1940’s. We expect all baton twirlers, flag twirlers, color guard members and we are especially proud that we have located our founding Pom Pom members and will have many of them back for this once in a lifetime Celebration. If you ever played a horn, beat a drum, danced, twirled, directed, or even just carried water and apples to the band members of this University — We want you here! This evening is for you!

The reception begins at 5:00 PM, just after the Homecoming Parade here on campus. Around 7:30 that evening we will conduct a short rehearsal for those who wish to participate in the game-day festivities in either or both our pregame and halftime presentations. Those who do not wish to participate will hold the party down while we go outside for a short while to get our thoughts and chops together for the game. I am pleased to announce that Dr. Henderson, Director of Bands from 1955-1965 has agreed to conduct parts of the pregame performance on game day. We will all be back to the band room by 9:00 to finish the food and see more of the great productions our own Dick Taylor has put together on video and audio discs. Many of you have been sending in photos and memorabilia. You just may catch your photos in this display at homecoming.

Maryland Bands CentennialI have made arrangements to make your stay as comfortable as we can. We will have shuttle vans to help those who wish get back and forth from the University College Hotel, and to and from our rehearsals, as well as the stadium on game day. Our University of Maryland Band Alumni Organization has worked very hard to make available commemorative t-shirts and a tailgate luncheon for those who want them. And they have done it all in the same traditions that we hold so dear to our hearts. The band alumni organization is still run by it’s own members. I would like to make one point very clear; they go way beyond expectations to make homecoming a wonderful event each year. The cost is only $42 and that gets you the following:

Commemorative t-shirt (our uniform for game day) $15; tailgate luncheon $10; $2 for the paypal online fee; and the remaining $15 goes to the band alumni organization for their expenses used for mailings and receptions like the one sponsored on Friday, October 24th.

The University still holds the band in highest esteem. Athletics still gives us the seats for the alumni band participants. If you have a family member or friend who wishes to attend, the band alumni organization has a selection for you to buy a discounted $25 ticket for that person. You may also order a tailgate luncheon, as well as a commemorative t-shirt for that family member.

I hope to have everyone who can, be a part of the halftime presentation. In my twenty-five years as director of the Mighty Sound of Maryland and now the Wind Ensemble, I have witnessed thousands of students pass through this program. I have seen this program enlighten their minds, unfold their lives, build confidence and self-esteem, and shape their talents, skills, and even careers. Just like you, they have carried the baton of traditions and spirit that still blaze the campus with pageantry and artistry. For that, they will forever hold the memories of being a part of something larger than life, and more importantly the memories of life-long friends that stood with them. We can all claim a big piece of the pride we get from building and maintaining a program glowing with the highest standards.

Now is the time for all good band members to come to the aid of their own program. I have a dream; a dream that we can bring in 500 band alumni to participate in this historic centennial celebration. Those of us who have participated know what band has meant to us. My dream is to show the world how important it has been to us. Let’s show the Maryland Alumni Association; the University of Maryland Administration; Let’s show athletics how important this program has been throughout the years. Let’s show the School of Music. Most important of all, let’s show the current and future band members how important this program has been throughout the years.

As of September 27th, we have approximately 150 band alumni registered for homecoming. We have two more weeks. We will need more than twice that many to reach our goal. Seems like a long way to go; however, it seems likely to me that our band alumni will not want to miss this event. The halftime presentation will be fabulous, starting with a replication of the very first band of 1908 in cadet-style uniforms. We will perform Home Sweet Home, one of the first tunes ever played by that band. We will feature our cannon section with a brawling rendition of the 1812 Overture. We will then close with a heart felt Auld Lang Syne, which has double meaning to us as it used to be an old ode to Maryland, but now the ties that bind. Imagine 500 band alumni combined with the 250 member current marching band. When will you ever have a chance to do that again? There will be no marching drill, just walk onto the field, stand and play the show, and walk off as we all play the Maryland Victory Song! There will be great photos of the bands throughout the years flashed across the jumbo-trons at both ends of the stadium as we perform.

I have to have a deadline date because athletics will need to release the seats they are holding for us. That deadline date is October 6th for online registration. All seats are being held for us in section 15 and 16 so we can all be together for this homecoming game. Please, stand with us and be counted in “The Best Band in the Land.”

Look forward to our Kaleidescope Concert, as well. We hope you will return to perform in our Pass in Review concert, December 12th. This will be the largest ensemble to ever perform in the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center. We hope to have as many drum majors on stage to conduct this first-time Marching Alumni Band On Stage. We will showcase our Alumni Symphonic Band at the Pops Concert in May.

Most Sincerely,
L. Richmond Sparks, Current Director


Dr. Sparks, on behalf of all of the alumni poms/dancers, we offer our sincerest thanks to you and your team of helpers for extending us the opportunity to reunite with all of our fellow band members and to relive the wonderful experience of being on the field with the Mighty Sound of Maryland. Many of us are traveling long distances, and leaving our families and businesses to be a part of this special occasion. Our efforts are a true reflection of our love for the Maryland Marching Band and the memories we hold so dear.

It is written that success in any endeavor depends on the depths to which it is an expression of one's true self. On Oct. 25th we will all express our true selves and together we will iluminate Byrd Stadium once again!

Congratulations for 100 Years of Maryland's Bands,
Your Alumni Poms/Dancers