Reinhardt Eagles flying high for game day
by Marguerite Cline, columnist
September 05, 2013 10:38 PM | 1833 views | 0 0 comments | 23 23 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Much has been said about Reinhardt University having its football team this year for the first time in its more than 100 years history.

Little has been said about the Reinhardt Marching Eagles Band that will be performing before the game and during halftime.

Some of us enjoy football games. But I like the halftime show more than the game.

David Harrison is probably as excited about this as he has been about anything in his entire life—with the exception of marrying Susan, having a family, etc.

He had somewhat retired. Of course, he did have some irons in the fire, but working with the Reinhardt Marching Eagles was his chance to work with an organizing college marching band. That rarely happens. It was what caused him to forget he was retired.

He describes Rob Opitz, the band director at Reinhardt, as a youngster as compared to many college band directors, but filled with creativity and energy,

David, not an old man himself, described his role with the band as the “old dog that steers.”

A gifted musician himself, David has tons of experience with marching bands. He was a high school band director for 32 years, including Cherokee High School, and was the first band director at Sequoyah High School.

Including his years as a student, David Harrison has attended band camps for 42 years. Amazingly, he still has his hearing.

Rob, another talented musician, was the first band director at Creekview High School.

He has put together a 90-member marching band. Since the mascot for Reinhardt is an eagle, Rob planned a show around the Reinhardt Eagles.

When you look at the needs for organizing a first-time marching band at the level expected by the fans and alumni, two things are at the top of that list — money and talented musicians.

With its outstanding music program the talented musicians, all 90 of them, were easy to find. After only one week for a summer band camp, they were ready to go. David attributes that to the students being older and having been in high school marching bands.

Now they have only one three-hour practice each week. That is to polish up their performance.

Almost unbelievable, the money on the list was not a problem either. Since Reinhardt is a Methodist University, you might say there was help from above.

Plus, Reinhardt University President Dr. Tom Isherwood and leaders in the music department saw to it that their new marching band got everything they needed — that included sousaphones, baritones, French horns and percussion instruments.

Band uniforms are not cheap. A Cobb County high school band was getting new uniforms. They gave their used ones to Reinhardt. With the new Reinhardt overlays, they have been perfected for opening day.

The band leaders will look snazzy, too, in their Reinhardt blue blazers, khaki pants and Reinhardt blue and gold ties.

On Saturday at their opener, the band will gather at the Floyd and Fay Falany Center. Following Drum Majors Jesse Simmons and Phoebe Pritchett, they will begin a march across the campus, passing the bell tower and to the new stadium.

Those who are tailgating, picnicking or just parking the car are invited to fall in behind the band and follow it into the arena. Walking shoes are a must.

That will be only one of the traditions expected to be born on the day.

The new Reinhardt University fight song, “Pride of the Eagles,” with lyrics and music written by adjunct faculty member Charles Sayer, will be introduced. It is a totally original piece, not an adaptation of another.

There will be a full concession stand with food and drinks. No coolers are allowed. The Reinhardt Bookstore will be there selling their wares including game day T-shirts.

With all the “Eagle Fanfare,” the fans will be soaring with the band when its plays “Flying Like an Eagle,” and “Denying Gravity.”

Much of Reinhardt’s financial support comes from alumni and other older citizens. That may be why all ages have been remembered as the band’s music was chosen.

“Gonna Fly Now” from the movie, “Rocky,” will excite any age while Ol’ Blue-Eyes Frank Sinatra’s “Come Fly With Me” will be nostalgic.

There are a few other important things to remember for the game.

The pregame show will begin at 11 a.m. Kickoff is at noon.

Reinhardt folk are respectful. We stand for the playing of our National Anthem. Guys take off their hats/caps, too.

And there is one last thing. No matter how fantastic the Reinhardt Eagles Marching Band is, we must be screaming eagles as we pull for Reinhardt University’s first ever football team to win the game.

Gooooooooooooooooooooo Eagles!

Marguerite Cline is the former mayor of Waleska.

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