They clock more hours at the Williams Performing Arts Center than home. They have a better attendance record than football player mothers. They are “bandies.” They are a family. They are The Big Purple.
For Audrey Schaffner, junior English major from Vernon and two-year Pit Captain in the band, buying into the family business took little convincing.
“I decided to join because music has always been a passion for me,” she said. “I started playing music at a young age and always loved to sing. I started band in sixth grade and loved it. My mom was also in the Big Purple and encouraged me to join because of the good friends that I would make.”
Like many participants’ parents marching before them, The Big Purple boasts of a lineage, further verifying it a band of brotherhood.
And for an activity that only earns a one-hour academic credit, The Big Purple packs in the hours. During the fall marching season, the group holds practice for one hour Monday through Friday, not including rehearsals and out of town traveling for games.
“We don’t practice as much as a lot of other schools,” Schaffner said, “but that gives us the opportunity to spread out on campus and be involved in other things too. I really enjoy how close-knit our band can come together and love what we do, not trying to impress anyone, but just doing our best with the talents that God has given us.”
Contribution to ACU marching mob begins with individual’s commitment to their instrument and improvement. This is the key to each section being successful in the big picture of The Big Purple.
“I think that we are a little different than all of the other student organizations on campus in that we are one unit, but we are also separate,” she said. “Every person in the band belongs to a section depending upon their instrument, so you are friends with everyone in the band, but you get really close to the people in your section.”
Scaffner’s story is but one in the line of a group whose fellowship is found outside the WPAC household.
“We don’t only do band stuff together,” Schaffner said. “Band is really about experiencing life with a group of people and just having a lot of fun doing what you love. We have activities outside of band to build communities, do Bigs and Littles, and have a retreat in the fall that I wouldn’t miss for the world. We do prayer requests in band and just go through life’s struggles together. Overall, it’s really fun and encouraging.”
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