• Lillie Burke

Being a Belmadore: student talks representing two campuses through marching band

Freshman year. A new beginning. A scary start. Another chapter to the story. Questions running through my head. Am I going to make friends? How hard are classes going to be? Is my roommate going to like me? How am I going to start depending on myself instead of my parents? Why does it have to be so far away from home?

College is a whole new experience and adjusting to it isn’t the smoothest transition. Fortunately, I quickly learned that getting involved was the best way to set up a firm foundation for my Belmont story.

However, it didn’t just happen when I got onto campus nor did I expect it. It actually started a few months earlier.

So, bear with me: in June, I came to Belmont, like every freshman does, for Foundations. An overnight to jumpstart the next four years at Belmont. Coming in, I knew I loved playing my trombone, and I wanted to get involved with some ensembles during the fall semester.

I reached out to a few of the upperclassmen, and they started to share how a few of their friends were in the Vanderbilt marching band just down the street. At first, I was hesitant because it’s not my campus, and I didn’t want it to take away from my experience here at Belmont.

A few weeks later, the trombone section leader from the Vanderbilt marching band reached out to me. To my surprise, he was also a Belmont student and shared how being apart of the band at Vanderbilt has really affected his college career.

After a few email exchanges, I decided to give it a try. In August, I moved to Belmont a week earlier than the rest of freshman. Yay! No move-in traffic! Once I was settled in, it was off to band camp. From that moment on, I never looked back.

Being apart of Vanderbilt marching band allowed me to combine my passions for playing, school spirit and sports. Even though Vandy isn’t the best football team, going to SEC games for free is one thing that kept me sane when classes started to pile up.

On top of that, a good percentage of the band is from Belmont. Actually, the band is made up of Vanderbilt, Belmont, Trevecca and Vol State students, so there is a lot of diversity in the band.

Being a part of Vanderbilt marching band has opened doors for me to play in pep band at Belmont and at Vanderbilt for basketball games as well. Representing both schools seems like a lot, but it’s a great balance. Before anyone asks, yes, I still root for and will always root for Belmont over Vandy.

Honestly, I couldn’t imagine my freshman year going any other way. I gained the strong foundation and people to lean on when things get tough. I surrounded myself with people who I can call best friends. I found something where I can make a difference and be a part of something bigger than myself. Most of all, I get to be a part of two fabulous universities for the price of one.

This article was written by Makayla Kadner.

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