East Carolina University’s Marching Pirates plow on towards a new school year with the determination to be a great source of entertainment for Pirate Nation.
The group, consisting of the ECU marching band, color guard and the dance team, will perform throughout the year at different events across campus. Members of the Marching Pirates have been preparing for preseason as early as August to make preparations for the 2019 school year.
Director of the ECU Marching Pirates, William Staub, said he has the privilege of teaching what he calls “the best kids at the university.” He explains that he was drawn to ECU by the avid fan base and the reputation the ECU marching band has culminated.
“Being the director of a large organization like this is an undertaking,” Staub said. “You have to be organized and you have to be multiple steps ahead of where you’re currently at in order to stay on top of what you need to be staying on top of.”
Staub said he hopes the team eventually will make it to the Cary Band Day Competition hosted in Cary, NC, which according to their website, showcases numerous marching bands. Staub claims he wants the team to go, so they can perform in front of a large number of bands and give them a new and unique experience.
Senior Music Education and Tuba Performance double major, Jondavid Waid, said he is still an avid supporter of the Marching Pirates even though he will no longer be performing with them.
“Being a music major, a music education major, I want to teach band when I graduate college, and this is like a great stepping stone to that. It’s marching band on a bigger scale than high school and it’s a marching band one step closer to what I actually want to do,” Waid said. “And marching with other like-minded people was lots of fun.”
Growing up in Carteret County, Waid was influenced by the number of faculty at his school that were ECU alumni. He came to ECU with the desire to emulate what his own band directors did.
ECU alumna and dance team coach, Kristin Jeffres, began her time with the team as a member when she was a student, and is now entering her 16th year coaching the team.
“We do perform with them for pre-game at every game, and we perform with them at halftime,” Jeffries said. “We do all football with them. We travel with them, so we’re going to the Navy game this year with them. We also sit in the stands with them (marching band) during the games, so we are fully part of them.”
The team is excited about the new football coach, Mike Houston, and the opportunity to perform at the upcoming games, according to Jeffries. She said their goal is to look as one cohesive team when performing, and to entertain the fans while supporting the team. The dance team is also preparing for their own competitions where, last year, they placed second on a Division 1A level at the NCA & NDA Collegiate Cheer and Dance Championship.
Senior Hospitality major, KerriAnn Jane, starts off her fourth year and final year with ECU’s dance team as the new administrative coach with the start of the season. Jane said she is most excited to see what the new year withholds for everyone involved.
“I figure this is just the year of newness. I mean we have a lot of new members, there’s a lot of new stuff going on in athletics, across campus and even with the dance team,” Jane said. “Everything is new, and I’m just really excited to see how everything happens.”
Jane and Jeffries are both looking forward to the military appreciation game for the energy the crowd gives off. They said the game stands out to both of them because of the flag uniforms they wear as well as the atmosphere. Jeffries also hopes the team can perform at a bowl game as she really wants this experience for them.
The Marching Pirates’ first full performance of the year will be on September 7 at 6 p.m. at the Gardner-Webb University game located at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium. Student and general seating tickets can be purchased on the ECU Pirates website.