SPRINGFIELD, Mo.- Driving down Benton Avenue between Central High School and Drury University, you may hear the tunes of band instruments playing the Drury fight song among a few Top 40 hits.

Fall 2020 is the first beginning of the Drury marching band and color guard. Troy Peterson heads the program. Peterson has been in Springfield since 1992, where he has spent that time as the band director at Kickapoo High School.

“I saw an opportunity for me to retire from public education and come to the university. I love teaching, and for me to be able to retire and continue doing what I love to do, I’m just so excited,” says Peterson.

Peterson isn’t the only person excited about the band, Samantha Black, Megan Scholl, and Cody Lewis were happy to hear about the program coming to campus.

“This just gave me the opportunity to get back into it again, because it’s new and exciting,” says Black.

Black is a sophomore at Drury and says she took a one-year break from music since the university didn’t have a freshman year program.

“I actually didn’t know that Drury had a marching band until after I committed to going here, so it was a really nice surprise to find out,” says Scholl. Scholl is a freshman and says she will continue with the band the rest of her time at Drury.

Peterson says starting a band from the ground up is more than putting out “musicians needed” flyers around town.

“There’s a lot of moving parts and pieces to the activity. First of all, you have to recruit students to be apart of it. We have to buy instruments and all the equipment they use to perform on,” says Peterson.

Currently, many band members are playing their instruments; Peterson hopes to change that and have everyone play instruments provided by the university. The program just finished a fundraiser with hopes of raising $10,000. They raised $16,000. Peterson says there has been overwhelming support from the community.

Peterson says COVID-19 hindered recruitment for the band and color guard but had around 40 members sign up. The program counts as one credit hour, and students do not have to be music majors to join.

COVID-19 has limited the band on where they will be able to perform.

“This year because of COVID, we’ll probably do a lot of pop-up performances around campus, we’re holding out for parades. We are going to try to do a winter guard, which is a winter color guard. We’re going to try and do a winter drumline. The instrumental side of this will be the pep band for basketball games, so we’ll keep the activity alive throughout the entire school year,” says Peterson.

Students in the band wear masks while playing to control airflow from their nose while cutting a hole in the mouth part to play the instrument. Instruments also have coverings on the openings to limit air being blown out.