After an almost 40-year hiatus, students at Wagner College in Staten Island, N.Y., can join a marching band.
While the school had a marching band in the early 1940’s, the program was disbanded in 1975. Recently, under the guidance of Jose Luis Diaz, Jr., a basketball pep band turned into a marching band.
Diaz was a high school director before he was asked to help at the college. “A former student of mine worked for the athletic program at Wagner,” Diaz says. “He contacted me and asked if I could help put together a pep band.”
The pep band began with students from local high schools but slowly gained popularity with students at the college.
After receiving funding from the athletic department, Wagner College started its marching band program in March 2013. The band has 30 dedicated members including a small color guard. “I’m so proud of that number,” Diaz says. “These are students who, when they came [to Wagner], didn’t even know marching band was going to be an option.”
The Wagner Marching Band made its mark quickly. Earlier this season, Diaz hosted a band day with area high schools. For the future, the band plans to do more community outreach by participating in various parades around New York.
But Diaz is stretching his mind even further. “I’d love to try something crazy—I’d love to take a band to Europe,” he says.
Clearly, the Wagner Marching Band has a lot in store for the next few years, but it is definitely willing to accept the challenge.