Posted September 18, 2013

Rolling Stone listing brings more national exposure to Temple’s Diamond Marching Band

Betsy Manning

The hits just keep on coming for Temple University’s Diamond Marching Band.

On Tuesday, less than a week after performing before a live national audience during College Week on ABC’s “Good Morning America,” the group was featured in Rolling Stone magazine's online list of the top "10 Mind-Blowing College Marching Band Cover Songs." The web post includes a video clip of the band’s 2012 performance of Kanye West's popular hit "All of the Lights," describing the arrangement as "a version loud enough to fill a stadium."

“(C)ollege marching bands aren't just looking at Detroit garage-rock for inspiration, and in fact, are more in line with the pop charts than ever,” wrote the site’s editors.

That observation rings true for the Diamond Marching Band, says Boyer College of Music and Dance Director of Athletic Bands Matthew Brunner, who plans the group’s performances and arranges much of its music. The band’s modern repertoire is intentionally selected to engage performers and audience members alike.

“Being in touch with popular culture is key,” said Brunner. “I want our students to enjoy performing and then reach out to the audience and make them enjoy themselves too.”

Temple’s band is in good company. Other “select institutions of higher learning” cited by Rolling Stone include the University of California at Berkeley, Iowa State University, Ohio University, Michigan State University and the University of Michigan.

The web feature is the latest in a string of high-profile exposures for the Diamond Marching Band, which has grown to 212 members, up from 125 in 2008. Last week’s GMA broadcast featured 25 Temple instrumentalists, members of the flag team, the Diamond Girl and a drum major. The students performed both in and outside of GMA's Broadway studio, including versions of Robin Thicke's "Blurred Lines" and Macklemore and Ryan Lewis's "Can't Hold Us" while marching in circles around the show’s delighted anchors.

In addition, the band was recently featured on the website of popular music artists Fall Out Boy for their performance of "My Songs Know What You Did in the Dark (Light Em Up)," part of the group’s first show of 2013.  

Known by fans as "The Pride of the Cherry and White," the band performs at every home football game and many other university events throughout the academic year. Members must audition for placement in the group, which meets for two-hour rehearsals three times a week during the Fall semester. More than four-fifths of its members are from majors outside the Boyer College of Music and Dance. Brunner says the recent public recognition is an outgrowth of dedicated, behind-the-scenes efforts of band members.

“The whole band this year has been working really hard and doing a lot of great things,” he said. “And whenever you get this much attention this quickly, it really makes everyone proud. It’s been a fun week.”