Rhythms that enliven the green blood
By: Jailene M. Velazquez
The excitement, the pride and satisfaction that comes from studying at the UPR Mayaguez also known as ‘’Colegio’’, are feelings that are tested in each step with the progress of the College Band along with each of the dancers that accompany them. Rhythm and choreography inflame the passion of those who witness each of their presentations. Both groups, the Department Band and Orchestra of the Mayagüez Campus are present along the trajectory of each of the students on campus, from their welcoming as freshmen to their participation in the ‘’LAI’’, to their graduation.
The recently century-old group is composed of approximately 150 members, divided between 128 musicians and 22 dancers. Every Tuesday and Thursday, under a burning sun, they are seen practicing on the grounds of the Old Athletic Field of the Campus. This way, they get prepared with dedication and passion for each of their presentations.
‘’Well, we’re the official band of the ‘’LAI’’. We have about 15 years leading the parade. Last year we actually closed the parade, “explained Gregory, the man responsible for the bands success for the past 24 years. Also, as part of the show, explained that there will be an intermediate in which the dancers will perform in each university, to be followed by the College Band with a stake to the general public.
Other presentations include the UPRM graduation, Christmas Lighting, the parade that opens the Festival the university performs every year knows as ‘’5 Dias con Nuestra Tierra’’, as well as the anniversary of the University.
The band made a very important presentation, during the Celebration of the University Centenary. A big Parade took place in a large part of the town, which the Band along with their dancers leaded the parade. ‘’I feel a lot of Pride and Joy to be part of the dancers that accompany the Band everywhere they go’’ said Natalie Vazquez former dancer of the team. She also said, ‘’ It takes a lot of courage to be part of our team because the majority of our presentations are either under the sun or walking a large amount of miles, like it was in the Centenary parade’’.
The Parade as well as all of their presentations was full with a display of music and harmony. By singing their repertoire pieces and also incorporating some movement to the rhythm of the melodies. This is accomplished thanks to some members of the Marching Band whom have had dance trainings and experiences, to take care of the installation of choreography. On this occasion of the Centenary, the choreography occurred simultaneously with the dancers.
For that reason, these dancers that dress in green and white are the ones in charge of giving life to the Musical arrangements made by the Band. These groups of students are highlighted by their sympathy and the effort put into their dance routines.
The musicians and the dancers are also responsible for producing the fascinating rhythms of popular songs of the moment that delight the audience everywhere they go to give their presentations. Through its century-old history, the band not only serves the University, but is part of the community in general as well. Furthermore, it is tradition to play the Anthem and chorus titled :‘’Antes, Ahora y Siempre…Colegio’’. For this and for many other reasons is why thinking of the University of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez Campus (Colegio) is also thinking of the University’s prestigious Band.