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Greetings from Dr. Andrea Brown

Greetings, Band Alumni!

I hope this message finds you all enjoying a wonderful summer so far!

Now that I have been “official” for one entire month, I wanted to reach out to say, “Hello!” and to give you a few updates of what has been happening in the Band Office.

The month has been filled with meeting a lot of folks and trying to learn as much as possible about all things MSOM. I was very grateful to have the opportunity to meet with the UMBAO officers mid-June. There was lots of ground to cover, but lots of exciting opportunities are ahead! In the coming months we will be bringing you all more details about this year’s Homecoming celebration (it’s our 110th year!) as well as opportunities to interact with the current members of MSOM during Early Week. You as alumni are an integral part of the past, present, and future success of the Maryland Bands and we look forward to strengthening the ties that bind. I consider meeting and interacting with the alumni a very important aspect of my position and look forward to meeting and working with all of you.

UM Band History Project

Members of the 2014 (first year in the BIG !10), MSOM and Alumni Marching Bands:

We are about to embark on an exciting new project relating to the history of the University of Maryland Bands, and we need your help! In 2007-2008, as we worked on the Bands’ centennial history, Musical Ambassadors of Maryland, we gathered a great number of anecdotes, memories, and interviews to include in the book, many of which we drew upon as we compiled the text. We weren’t able to include everything, however, and we would like to use this new book to bring the Bands’ history up to the present. We are looking for additional anecdotes about any era of band history, and we are especially interested in events since the centennial year, including the first year in the Big Ten. We would like to compile these recollections into a new book, which we plan to release during Homecoming 2015.

Help the Mighty Sound of Maryland get the Best Band Van in the Land

The band has just launched a new crowdfunding event to raise funds for a new Band Van, which they desperately need. 

Director Rich Sparks is excited about the effort.  "Campus has invited us to raise funds on this campus-sponsored fundraising event online.  We have spent a great deal of time talking about this with the new Leadership of the Marching Band, and we are confident that this program can work for us.  As a result of our working with the campus Development Office on this project, we have their full attention for the first time in my 30 years here on campus."  

The program launched on April 18th, and will close on May 18th.  Donors should donate in the specific name of a current band member.  If you don't know a current band member, please donate in the name of L. Richmond Sparks.  For more information about the program, or to donate, please go to:


In Memory of John Turner

 It is with a heavy heart that we announce the passing of Band Alumnus John Turner, on June 19, 2010. He is probably better known as half of the Dynamic Band Duo Betsy and John Turner, and father of Chris Turner, another Band alumnus.

During his tenure at Maryland from 1970-1975, he played clarinet and tuba in Concert and Marching Band, and was ΚΚΨ President. He met his future wife in the band. "My first words ever to John was at the red/white game….I was playing drums and I turned around to him and said, 'Don’t tell the equipment staff, but I lost my plume!' I didn’t know it at the time, but he was the Head of the Equipment Staff. His comment back was, 'Your secret is safe with me.' Paul Deafenbaugh, whom I knew much better, was bent over laughing his head off, and I couldn’t understand why." The following year, one formation had John and his tuba hitting the same mark at the same time as Betsy and her flag. "I kept hitting him in the head about 3 steps out. John yelled a lot."

Baltimore Colts Band Documentary

The Band That Wouldn't Die Movie Night

On Tuesday, October 6th, there is going to be a premier of a documentary on the Baltimore Colts (which later became the Marching Ravens) band and how they continued to play in Baltimore after the Colts left. The story, detailing Baltimore's struggle to get the NFL to return to the city, is told through the eyes of the Band that continued to play without a team. The film was directed by renowned director and Baltimore native Barry Levinson and is part of the ESPN Films’ 30 for 30 documentary series featuring thirty films from some of today’s finest storytellers. Each filmmaker will bring their passion and personal point of view to their film detailing the issues, trends, athletes, teams, rivalries, games and events that transformed the sports landscape from 1979 to 2009. The film received rave reviews at the Toronto Film Festival and is a fantastic story for anyone who has participated in the marching band experience.

The premier is going to take place at M&T Bank Stadium on October 6th. Tickets to the event are just $5 and will be well worth the price of admission.

Centennial History Books Are Shipping!

Just as a quick note, the history books are finally en route. Your copy/copies should arrive in the mail very soon — if not already.

If you do not receive your full order by early next week (week of September 14th), please contact the publisher with your order number to get shipping confirmation.

History Book Shipping in August

The Band Centennial History Book will be shipping out in August. There were some tweaks that had to be made, causing us to miss the two-week summer break from the presses. During that break the presses were cleaned and we will be one of the first to roll as soon as the plant starts up again next week.

We are very proud of the book. It is beautiful, full of photographs, and the song book will be something everyone should have. After all, the last one was printed in 1941!

If anyone missed ordering the book, or song-book, the only book store to carry them will be the Maryland Book Exchange on Route 1, just across the street from our Chapel Field.

Thank you,
L. Richmond Sparks

Centennial History Book Deadline Extended (Again)

Extended one last time by the publisher — order by February 23rd!

I have great news for everyone! Taylor Publishing has allowed us to extend the order deadline for our Musical Ambassadors of Maryland: A Centennial Celebration.

Many of you have called to see if it is too late, and the answer is “It will be soon!” The new and final deadline is February 23rd. You must understand that there will not be a second printing, nor will there be any extra copies printed. This is an absolute pre-publication sale, so if you want a set NOW IS THE TIME! We will not delay the delivery of the book. You can expect it in mid-April. There are many who have not yet taken the opportunity to purchase this fabulous pictorial history book about YOU!