By Johanna Murray
Out of breath, with his heart pounding, Steven Eddy looks around Waldo Stadium after running onto the field for the pregame show. The roar of the crowd rings in his ears as he slowly brings his trumpet to his mouth, takes a breath, and plays the first note of the WMU Fanfare; the first song the Bronco Marching Band plays at every football game.
“It was just this huge wall of sound, and you just kind of feel like you’re back and everything’s right in the world again,” says Eddy, 21, a senior biochemistry major at Western Michigan University.
After marching for two hours a day everyday for almost four months in the parking lot across from Lawson Ice Arena, the marching band prepares for a moment that didn’t seem possible to Eddy if you had asked him his freshman year.
“Getting a chance to play at the Cotton Bowl is something that I had never dreamed of,” says Eddy, “I am so grateful to be a part of this.”
Having an undefeated football team has given both of them some experiences that they wouldn’t have had otherwise. They’ve gotten to appear on ESPN’s College GameDay, went to Detroit’s Ford Field for the Mac Championship, and will travel with the team to the Cotton Bowl on Jan. 2 in Texas.
The Bronco Marching Band will perform two songs from their first halftime show of the season entitled “Latin Fire.”
Music has been in Eddy’s life for years. He has been marching since his sophomore year of high school at Harper Creek High School and began playing the trumpet since he was in the fifth grade.
Eddy says that playing in a band drew him in because he found it was something at which he excelled. Marching band, he says, is more fun than concert band because it is like a family. That family aspect is what kept Eddy in the band all of these years.
Eddy met his current fiancé, Kaylah Babcock, through band. “We were in marching band together in high school,” says Babcock, a sophomore elementary education major at WMU, “and concert band and jazz band, so we spent three hours a day together.”
“I definitely wouldn’t have met Steven if it weren’t for band,” she says. She said she doesn’t want to think about what a life without band would be like, since she wouldn’t have met her current friends and fiancé.
Both Babcock and Eddy agree that the marching band is a huge time commitment, but that the experiences and friendships make up for the difficulties and for the sacrifices they’ve had to make.
“It’s very cool to be a part of WMU history. Being able to attend a bowl game would be a memory that we will all have forever. Traveling with the band is one of the coolest things I have ever experienced,” says Babcock. She says she’s excited to travel with all of her friends to Texas and perform for such a large audience.
Although this is his senior year, Eddy plans to come back next season to be in the Bronco Band for one last year as he finishes up his requirements for graduation.
The family Eddy created in band is one of his favorite parts. “I take pride in what I do,” says Eddy, “and I like that aspect of knowing that there’s, in my case, 70 people that you know and you could talk to about anything.”