Titan Thunder Band debuts on Saturday


Photo: UWO Flickr

Katie Pulvermacher, Managing Editor and News Editor

After more than 40 years without the marching band at UW Oshkosh, the Titan Thunder Marching Band will make its debut at the Titans football game against East Texas Baptist University on Saturday at 1 p.m.

“I’m most excited to see our students have a great time,” Director of Athletic Bands Joseph Scheivert said. “It’s an important thing for our fans, the athletic department and the university for this group to be successful, but I know that participating in this is something that makes a big difference in our students’ lives.”

Starting Aug. 19, the 75 band members began the inaugural preseason camp with practices 8 a.m. – 9 p.m. daily through Sept. 2.

“This band has no experience to draw from,” Scheivert said. We’re starting many students from square one.”

Marching fundamentals, physical stretching, music rehearsals and field rehearsals are included in practices to quickly get the band to a collegiate level.

“One of the keys to marching bands looking great is a regimented manner,” Scheivert said. “It’s a really complex process to put in place.”

Practices are off to a great start, he said. 

“Everyone is really motivated to help each other and learn quickly,” Scheivert said. “Our goal was to march and play the pregame show in week one, and that’s exactly where we are.”

An application and audition process took place in early spring 2022 to identify section leaders. 

“Section leaders, especially this year, are much more than just the leaders of their section,” senior clarinet section leader Hannah May said. “We’re all helping to run things behind the scenes and make sure new students have a smooth transition into the band and life away at school.”

Section leaders helped select music for halftime shows. The band will participate in the Titan March to the stadium and perform a pregame show and a halftime show. 

“The Titan March is for the team and the band to go to the stadium before the game starts,” Scheivert said. “We’re leading the team over to the stadium and through the tailgating lots as an opportunity for us to be publicly visible in that pregame atmosphere.” 

At 11:45 a.m. on Saturday, the band will march with the football team from the new Titan Athletic Bands Center to the stadium to begin the pregame show. This show features the university’s new fight song, “Go Mighty Titans” written by UWO alumnus and accomplished composer David Gillingham and debuted on Jan. 5 with the student pep band, Bolt Band.

“We want the students to enjoy what they’re playing,” Scheivert said. “I want to make sure that we look well-polished, sound and confident in what we’re playing.”

The halftime performance on Saturday is “Bring the Thunder,” featuring songs with thunder in the title. These include “Thunderstruck” by AC/DC, “Thunder” by Imagine Dragons and “The Thunder Rolls” by Garth Brooks. Show number two’s repertoire was chosen by the students, currently called “Throwback to 2010,” with popular songs from that decade including “California Gurls,” “Bad Romance,” “Dynamite,” and “DJ Got Us Fallin’ In Love.”

May said once she heard that Titan Thunder was in the works, she wanted to help create it. 

“The best word I can think of to describe the energy of the band is electrified,” May said. “I think we are all very excited to see our hard work from the past year coming to life before our eyes.”

Scheivert said if you didn’t join the marching band this fall, there are still opportunities to play in athletic bands. More information will be sent to the student body in October about playing with the Bolt Band during the basketball season.

“Both basketball coaches felt like we really helped transform the atmosphere [during Kolf basketball games],” Scheivert said. “We’d love to have a bigger band in Kolf, and we’d love to have more students involved in that game day atmosphere as well.”

Whether interested in joining Bolt Band for the basketball season or Titan Thunder Marching band next fall, the bands are open to all students who can be accepted to UWO. This includes Lawrence University, Ripon College, Fox Valley Technical College and others.

“We’re not in a position to say that people cannot join,” Scheivert said. “Given that it is an audition-based class, people need to match what the group is doing.”

The UWO athletic department is also looking for more ways fans can get involved in the game day atmosphere. 

“They’ve opened up parking lots in hopes of establishing more of a tailgating culture before the games,” Scheivert said. “I’m hopeful that people will not only want to come and see what the band is doing, but that it’ll help boost people’s interest in being a part of the game day experience.”

May said she knows the band is going to be something long lasting and impactful for the community.

“Titan Thunder is going to be more than just a band,” May said. “We’re already a very close-knit group of students who are all passionate about making good music, and that atmosphere is so uplifting.”

Titan Thunder will continue practicing to perfect their craft until game day.

“Whether you’re marching or in the stands, being a student is something that does not last very long,” Scheivert said. “Being a part of this as a student is something you want to take advantage of while you have the opportunity to. I want you to come excited and involved.”

Photo: UWO Flickr — The Titan’s new marching band did a full uniform practice in late August at Titan Stadium at JJ Keller Field.