New York State Lottery Commercial
In March, nine band members, Mike Ayala, Chris Cloonan, Megan Dwyer, Kim Gabriele, Matt Gerardi, Blair Kokotajlo, Eric Kunz, Karthik Rao and Don Werner, spent one full day in Brooklyn filming a New York State Lottery commercial. The commercial started airing on TV in early May and features our very own "Victory Song!"
Sixth Annual Spring Banquet
On Sunday, April 29 we celebrated our sixth annual spring banquet. With over 250 people in attendance, including over 40 family members, the men’s and women’s basketball teams and the student athlete group, NCAA CHOICES, the banquet was taken to a whole new level.
It was the first year that the celebration was held off campus, at the West Lake Inn in Patchogue. This allowed many students to arrive in style, by riding on the Spirit of Stony Brook bus from campus. Many students were recognized for their contribution to the band, musicianship, leadership, spirit and even academic excellence. The most anticipated award of the night, Section of the Year, was awarded to the mellophones and for the first time, a new award, Best Flair, was presented to the flute section.
In addition to the student awards, many events that we participated in such as marching in the NYC Columbus Day Parade, witnessing the football team defeat Albany in the FCS Championship in our own stadium, hosting the final game of the America East Basketball tournament for the first time ever and a select few participating in a New York State Lottery commercial.
There was also surprise entertainment provided by the Three Musketeers: Director of Operations, Ricky Lucas, and Marcus Rouse and Anthony Jackson of the men’s basketball team! Click here to see the Three Musketeers' dance »
After the raffles, that varied from Red Mango gift cards to the hottest item, a men’s basketball jersey signed by the whole team, were announced, the night concluded with singing and dancing in the middle of the dance floor. Click here to watch our Spring 2012 highlight video »
Third Annual Color Guard & Drumline Showcase
The Color Guard and Drumline took advantage of the beautiful weather and put on a great show to wrap up Stony Brook's celebration of Earthstock on Friday, April 20 at the Staller Terrace. Aside from standard drumming and flag tricks, many other talents were shown off in front of the large crowd, such as baton twirling and even playing upside down!
Recap: Basketball Championship Game
With only two hours to prepare, eight cardboard heads and a whole lot of laughs the night before the championship game, Karthik Rao taught Jon Roman, Jaclyn Lattanza, Meg Spicer, Eric Kunz, Toni Foster, Andre Leon and Jason Mai choreographed a sequence of well-known dances for their performance with Wolfie. As soon as each of them strapped on a cardboard head, they became one of the basketball players. Moves such as the shuffle and the "Pikiell Dougie," inspired by Roman's moves at the America East Tournament, caused an uproar from the crowd.
If you missed the performance live, be sure to check it out online! Click here to see the "Pikiell Dougie" »
Band Profiled on College Sports Madness
The Stony Brook band does not have the long history of some other collegiate athletic bands, but The Spirit of Stony Brook has wasted little time creating their own deep tradition. With Wolfie by their side, the 145-piece band has set their own course in creating a unique and amusing atmosphere at Stony Brook athletic events. Marcus Coker will feel right at home. Click here to view the band's profile »
The Spirit of Stony Brook to Perform in NYC Columbus Day Parade
The Spirit of Stony Brook Marching Band will be participating in New York City’s 67th annual Columbus Day Parade. The Parade will take place on Monday, October 10, 2011, and will be broadcast live from Fifth Avenue in Manhattan on WABC from noon to 3:00 pm. Leading the band in the parade will be Stony Brook University’s President Samuel L. Stanely, Jr., MD, Mr. Richard T. Nasti, president of the Stony Brook Foundation, member of the Stony Brook Council and distinguished alumnus, and the best college mascot in all of America, Wolfie. The Parade is sponsored by the Columbus Citizens Foundation, a cultural and philanthropic organization deeply committed to education. They are currently providing approximately two million dollars annually to over six hundred deserving students who have the capacity but not the means to secure a first rate education. For participating in the parade, the sponsors will award a four year scholarship in the amount of $20,000 ($5,000 per year) to a student selected by their committee who plans to attend Stony Brook University. "Our Parade Committee has spent a good deal of time reviewing talented College Marching Bands and would be extremely honored if you would attend and perform in this year's Parade," wrote Alfred Catalanotto, Chairman of the Columbus Day Parade, in his letter of invitation to the Spirit of Stony Brook.
The lineup of performers for the parade is growing includes commitments from several talented individuals including among others, Pia Toscano (American Idol Favorite), Kara DioGuardi and tenor Michael Amante. They are joined by performers from several Broadway shows including The Italian Fairy. The parade will be led by Grand Marshal Joseph Plumeri, proud philanthropist, and Chairman and CEO of Willis Group Holdings. Previous Grand Marshalls include Frank Sinatra, Rudolph Giuliani, Luciano Pavarotti, Sophia Loren, Hon. Alphonse D’Amato, Hon. Mario Cuomo, Mario Andretti, Joe DiMaggio and Bobby Valentine. "The invitation to perform in the historic and nationally televised New York City Columbus Day Parade marks yet another milestone in a string of recent accomplishments by the Spirit of Stony Brook and speaks to the wonderful talent, commitment, hard work and enthusiasm of our students and staff," said Jeffrey A. Barnett, Assistant Dean of Students, who oversees the Office of Athletic Bands. "Our students and their families are, quite simply, thrilled."
"This band first performed together just five years in 2006," said Dr. Jerrold L. Stein, Associate Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students, "To be invited to perform at one of the marquee parades in the biggest city ion the world and to have accomplished all that they have in this short time - is a remarkable achievement."
About the Columbus Day Parade
The parade is organized and supported by the Columbus Citizens Foundation and celebrates the spirit of exploration and courage that inspired Christopher Columbus’s 1492 expedition and the important contributions Italian-Americans have made to the United States. Over a dozen high school bands, as well as virtuosi professional groups from the United States and Italy, marched up Fifth Avenue and filled the canyons of midtown with joyous, heart-pounding music. Traditional folk groups performed centuries-old dances, and cutting-edge designs were brought to the parade route in displays of the vibrant culture that is Italy today. The Columbus Day Parade is a fun filled Parade that gets bigger and better every year. Participants from all over the world march in our Parade with pride. The Columbus Day Parade has become a globally televised event with millions of viewers and over a half million spectators on the streets. The parade route runs on Fifth Avenue from 44th–72nd Streets. The Grandstands are located on Fifth Avenue between 67th and 69th Streets.
Band Banquet 2011
On Friday, May 13, band students and staff, in addition to many distinguished guests, attended the Spirit of Stony Brook’s annual Spring Banquet as a celebration of the band’s many accomplishments during the 2010-2011 season. Professional and student staff collaborated to create this celebration with a fun, spirited atmosphere for all of the attendees that reflected the true nature of the Spirit of Stony Brook.
Prior to the formal banquet, graduating seniors and band alumni were invited by the Stony Brook Athletic Bands Alumni Association to a celebratory cocktail hour, held in the Wang Center’s swanky J-Club. Following this, the entire group met up with the rest of the current students, staff members, and VIPs at the formal banquet ceremony.
The formal ceremony was held in the Student Activities Center, which had been transformed into a place of celebration. The banquet presentation included special guest speakers to deliver reflections of the previous year’s achievements and present the awards to their recipients. Speakers included the Director of Athletics, Jim Fiore; the Men’s Basketball Coach, Steve Pikiell; members of the Men’s Basketball Team; The Provost and Vice President of the University, Dr. Peter Baigent, among others.
Many awards were presented to some of our most outstanding band members, for academic as well as service and leadership achievements. Since its inception, the band has been recognized as having academically high-achieving members, and this year was no exception; approximately 40% of the band received awards for academic excellence by earning a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher. Four members of the band, Larry Bordowitz, Sean Hoffman, Ashley Moreno, and Sean O’Neill, were recognized for their superior achievements of earning a cumulative GPA of 4.0. The much-anticipated presentation of the Section of the Year Award was presented by Curt Hylton, with this year’s award going to both the Tenor Saxophone Section and the Color Guard.
Following a sumptuous dinner, members of our executive board presented the Student Choice Awards, for which the recipients are voted on by current band members. Members selected Jake Holderman as the recipient of this year’s Impact Award, and staff member David Atkinson as recipient of this year’s Outstanding Service Award. E-Board also presented their Man and Woman of the Year awards to two well-deserving people. Curt Hylton, the Voice of the Stony Brook Seawolves, was chosen to be the Man of the Year, and Shayna Stahl, Assistant Band Director, was chosen to be Woman of the Year. Although Ms. Stahl was unable to make it to the Banquet, she filmed a humorous acceptance speech for the band.
Prior to the presentation of the Stephen Stakey Unsung Hero Award, an award presented each year in memory of Stephen Stakey, Principal Drum Major, Justin Francisco, presented a heartfelt speech to the attendees about the life of Stephen Stakey, a brilliant and spirited band member who passed away unfortunately in May of 2008. Justin’s emotional memorial speech certainly resonated with the crowd, and his final encouraging message to make the most out of life reflected the carefree attitude that Stephen will always be remembered by.
This year’s prestigious Stephen Stakey Unsung Hero Award was presented to a very well-deserving member of the trumpet section, Harrison Greene. The Director’s Award, presented by Band Director Mr. John Leddy, was presented to John Havlicek, one of the final graduating founders of the band. This year’s Flagship award, presented to one outstanding member of the Color Guard, was presented to sophomore Mary Parhiala. The Shirley Strum Kenny Founders’ Award, presented by Associate Vice President of Student Affairs/Dean of Students Dr. Jerrold Stein, was presented to Justin Francisco. Founding member Aparna Kadam presented this year’s Alumni Award, an award fully funded by our very own Band Alumni, to Sean Hoffman.
Following the presentation of these awards, senior baritone player Emily Seiderman presented the Senior Reflection, a speech that most certainly brought back memories of the four years this year’s graduating class spent together. Founding Drum Major & Former President of the Band, Navneet Singh, led the Senior Toast, reflecting on his time here at the University, and providing words of encouragement for this year’s graduating class.
After the final toast to the seniors, the 2011-2012 Leadership Team was announced and presented with their leadership braids and service pins. Following the leadership announcement, the annual Video Presentation, “The Spirit of Stony Brook: A Year in Review,” was presented by the Band Historian, Lauren Badalucco. Lauren spent hours creating and editing this video and, needless to say, it was a crowd favorite which accurately depicted the summation of an amazing year!
America East Basketball Tournament
From March 4 to 6, the Spirit of Stony Brook Pep Band was in Hartford, Connecticut, for the annual America East Men's and Women's Basketball Championship Tournament. This Tournament is comprised of all teams in our Conference: Boston University, Albany, Maine, Stony Brook, Hartford, New Hampshire, Binghamton, and UMBC. Each year, the winning team of the tournament earns an automatic bid into the NCAA Championships!
Over the course of the weekend, the band energized the teams and the crowd while playing in the stands, accompanying Wolfie and the Spirit Groups as they performed on the court. The band played some new songs recently added to their repertoire–a new arrangement of Lady Gaga’s "Poker Face" was a huge hit, as well as all of the traditional Stony Brook favorites, including the "Fight Song" and "Victory Song." On Saturday, all of the Stony Brook Spirit Groups performed a Halftime Show and pumped up the crowd for the second half. The audience thoroughly enjoyed the performance, and was especially impressed by the Trombone Section’s performance on the court during the "Emerson" cadence.
The Band, Spirit Groups, and the fans’ undying passion and support certainly paid off on Sunday night, when our Men’s Basketball Team defeated the #1-seeded Vermont Catamounts, securing them a place in the America East Men’s Basketball Championship Finals, hosted by Boston University. This was the first time in Stony Brook history that the Men’s Basketball Team made it all the way to the finals, and the Spirit of Stony Brook Pep Band is incredibly proud and honored to have been a part of this historic event!
This year’s Tournament experience was certainly a memorable one. Both the Women’s and Men’s Basketball Teams fought incredibly tough battles on the court, and the Band and Spirit Groups were there to support them every step of the way, through music, cheers, and dance, and most of all, with SPIRIT. Take a look at some of our Behind the Scenes Action!
Stony Brook Color Guard Performs at Sing for CommUNITY
Contributed by Katie LoBiondo
The Stony Brook Color Guard has been working hard all semester to create new and different performance pieces for our fans to enjoy. On Wednesday, February 16, the color guard participated in the Sing for CommUNITY event, hosted by the National Society for Collegiate Scholars. This event aimed to raise awareness and action against intolerance, hate, and harassment.
The evening boasted the talents of many student performance groups, and the color guard performed to a song entitled “Kids” by Robbie Williams and Kylie Minogue. After the performance, members of the guard along with other student groups and community members participated in the “Community Pledge,” promising to tolerate, understand, and defend the rights and dignities of every member of our community.
This was a great opportunity for the color guard, as it allowed us to showcase our talents to a crowd that might not ordinarily see us at other campus events. At the same time, we were able to help create a sense of community within the populous environment that is Stony Brook. Be sure to be on the lookout for other color guard performances, especially at the second annual Color Guard and Drumline Showcase, to be held along with Earthstock on April 29.
Speech by Assistant Dean of Students Jeffrey A. Barnett, presenting the award at the annual SAERM Convocation in Fall 2010
It is my distinct honor to present the Distinguished Service Award for Outstanding Service to Mr. John Leddy, Director of Athletic Bands.
John arrived to campus in August 2006 after a long and prestigious career in Long Island public schools. I'm not sure John really understood what he was getting into when he accepted the position and chose to spend at least part of his retirement at Stony Brook. I believe his thinking might have gone something like, "I start a band, play some music, and have a little fun." What he might not have expected were the six- and seven-day work weeks, night classes, the over 100 appearances the band performs a year… AND NO SUMMERS OFF. In fact, I think John is working harder and longer in retirement, than perhaps in his 30-plus years in the schools. But, John loves it and if you ask him today about his job, he'll tell you I started a band, make some music and have a lot of fun.
It is both this extraordinary level of dedication combined with the deep passion and regard John has for his work, his music and his students that qualify him for this distinguished award.
As founding Director of the Spirit of Stony Brook Marching Band, John has grown the program from a fledgling group of 17 eager and intrepid students to 165 spirited students drawn from across the country and around the world, creating the fastest growing collegiate marching band in the country.
But it's not the growth of the size of the band that is important. The growth of the band has become a symbol and driving force behind the outpouring of support, new initiatives and long thirsted-for Stony Brook traditions that have galvanized our campus and cut across and connected all members of the university community. Few things can create community in the way that music and organic student enthusiasm can, and John — with the help of his team and colleagues — has become the great opportunist seizing every available moment to infuse pride in our institution.
Not only are they big, but as anyone who has seen them perform would tell you, they are GOOD. The reason they are good is John. He is charismatic, engaging, and spirited and truly an educator.
Nominators write that "John's extraordinary contributions to the university are unparrelled. He epitomizes creativity, teamwork, and collaboration and has an uncanny ability to make people feel good about themselves. He is caring, confident, unassuming, passionate, professional and personable. A seasoned professional. Despite Mr. Leddy's incredible talents, I believe that his greatest quality is the way he embodies the spirit of true teacher in everything he does. Every moment a students spends in band in spent learning not only about music, but community building, relationships, time management, discipline and other key skills."
Our student's experience in the band is not only teaching them how to have fun, be spirited and make good music, but how to be involved and effective citizens in the world; to be people who matter and inspire; to be leaders who are worldly and promote positive change. And it’s in large part of the talent, knowledge and commitment to the campus and to his students that they have been transformed. John has linked into the unifying power of music to build community in the band and throughout the campus.
I consider it a special opportunity to work with and learn together with and from John each day and it is my honor to write in support of his receiving the Distinguished Service Award for Outstanding Service.
Over 200 talented and excited high school musicians reveled in the opportunity to grace the field of LaValle Stadium as The Spirit of Stony Brook Marching Band hosted its second annual High School Band Day on September 25, 2010. Established just one year ago, Stony Brook Band Day is a celebration of local Long Island musical talent. Students from high school across the area are invited to join The Spirit of Stony Brook — the country's fastest growing collegiate marching band — for a full day of fun, leadership, muscianship and mentorship.
This year's Band Day built upon the growing relationships that were created with last year’s event, and began to forge new ones. Stony Brook University was proud to welcome back the founding participants, Longwood High School and Brooklyn Automotive High School for the second straight year. Joining us for Band Day as welcomed first time participant was the Rocky Point High School Band.
Students arrived at noon for a two hour field rehearsal on the Stony Brook Soccer Complex. There they learned the Justin Timberlake-Madonna song titled "Four Minutes" they would later perform for several thousand homefield fans during Halftime. After a short break and lunch, student band members and band directors were honored with the Award of Honor in recognition of their outstanding dedication to their craft and for their participation in Stony Brook Band Day.
From there, it was onto get ready for the Battle Field March and Dorm Storm and the pre-game tailgate concert, where each high school band was featured outside LaValle Stadium and performed to their parents, family, friends and loads of Stony Brook tailgaters. High School bands made their way into their seats in the stadium to see the Spirit of Stony Brook Marching Band take the field for the pomp and circumstance surrounding their Pregame show, all prelude to the big show which would follow soon after.
With 4 minutes left in the second half, halftime nears. All 400+ student musicians make their way to the tunnel and onto the field. The buzzer sounds and the players storm of the field for a well deserved rest. But the show is just beginning. As the Sprit of Stony Brook performs the first three tunes of it's Glee Halftime Show, the high school students await with excited anticipation. The moment has arrived; the announcer welcomes the students to the field and the students march under the big lights. The crowd clung to their seats and were glad they did as they heard the stadium rocked by the sounds of over 400 musicians blaring the pop hit, "Four Minutes." Halfway through the song, the band surprised the crowd by placing their instruments down and in almost perfect synchrony, perform a choreographed dance. The crowd roared as chills went up the students spine. They did it, and for some, in front of the biggest crowd they ever played for. The students were proud, and deserving of the fan praise.
It's all about education, though. The very visible and talented performance must not over shadow many of the other moments that take place during the day, which help students to perform at such a high level. The day was filled with community building and mentorship. Often you would see college students teaching, supporting and encouraging the high school students. You'd see students from Longwood working and collaborating with students from Brooklyn's Automotive High School. And if you were there, you saw the spontaneous cheering and dancing that broke out in The Union Ballroom during lunch. The level of collegiality and support was no less visible among the band director's who were only too proud to see their students perform at such a high level.A new tradition prevails at Stony Brook, embedding in the education, success and development of students. We can't wait for next year.
In August of 2006, 17 intrepid students met and founded the Spirit of Stony Brook Marching Band. Now, just four years later, the band has exploded as the country’s fastest growing collegiate marching band with a current membership of 165 spirited students, drawing talented musicians from across the country and around the world.
In this short time, the marching band has garnered and played to great acclaim, having performed on some of the world’s greatest stages including Rockefeller Center, The New York State Capitol Building, the Nassau Coliseum (home of the NHL’s New York Islanders) and on ESPN family of networks. Just recently, the Spirit of Stony Brook was featured on ABC's Extreme Makeover Home Edition.
On Sunday, October 3rd, the Spirit of Stony Brook, the Stony Brook Dance and Cheerleading Teams, and of course, our very own Wolfie Seawolf, ventured out to Nassau County to perform at a Marching Invitational hosted by Manhasset High School. This Marching Invitational featured several talented High School Marching Bands from across Long Island, all of which were eager and willing to spend their entire day competing in front of a crowd of judges, fellow competitors, and community members. After hours of competition, while the scores were being tallied, the crowd was very excited to watch and listen to Stony Brook’s enthusiastic expedition performance.
The band performed their entire "Glee" Halftime Show, marching to popular tunes such as "Don't Stop Believing" and "Walkin' on Sunshine." The Band and Spirit Groups were a big hit amongst the high school crowd, but there is no doubt that it was the finale that made the entire audience go wild. During the final tune, "4 Minutes," Wolfie came out clad in full Spirit of Stony Brook Marching Band uniform and performed along with the Drumline, while the band members put down their instruments and danced to the beat of the drums. It was an incredible performance, and the crowd really reacted to it; after the final note was played, a wave of cowbells and cheers could be heard throughout.
At the end of the performance, everyone displayed such appreciation for the Band, Wolfie, and Spirit Groups, especially the High School competitors. Manhasset High School presented a plaque of appreciation to Mr. Leddy, who gladly accepted it on behalf of all involved. This was the first time the Spirit of Stony Brook had performed for such an event, and it most definitely will not be the last.