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Buffalo Bulls Thunder of the East to get more support

The UNH Marching Band
The UNH Marching Band

One thing UB has been missing for a long time is a properly supported marching band.

I know this because back in 1998 I was a member of University at Buffalo Pep Band. Which is to say that after Symphony practice I would put down my French Horn, pick up a Mellophone, and then don a blue t-shirt for basketball games.

For me it was a way to practice more, keep the embouchure stronger, and play something fun and upbeat instead of classical. Think of it like a balanced musical diet. The band was what it was, just a bunch of students having fun who basically extended "Their real band" practice by a half hour or so twice a week.

I may have gotten a half credit or so for the activity, it's a little long ago for me to remember.

After UB moved to the Bowl Subdivision the school got a bit more serious and reformed the "Thunder of the East", a band first started in 1920.

Mark Flynn was made the director, and with the efforts of Kappa Kappa Psi, many local high schools, and Student Affairs, the Thunder of the East made its debut on September 11, 1999. Then in 2000, the band began its second season with new uniforms and new words to Victory March written by Dr. Mols, the original composer.

But compared to some of the other bands in the MAC like the Ohio Band and the UMass band it's not enough. While they fill the role of "A Band" they are not as big a part of the Game Day Experience as they should be.

To give you an idea of what it could be look at the Ohio 110..


The Bobcats have themselves a nice little band and it's one of the better bands around. The reason for this is that the school provides a lot more than a credit hour or so to the Band. They have funding, and in some cases scholarships.

The good news is that the disconnect between the "The Thunder of the East," which is run by UB Student Life, and the Athletics Department is a sore spot for UB Athletic Director Danny White. He wants to help the Thunder for the same reason he set up Stampede Square and the Tailgate concert series... Game Day environment.

The Athletic Department is well into a feasibility study with Student Life involving bring the band up to a level which White feels would add as much to UB's game day as the "Marching 110" adds to Ohio's.

White called the need for a proper collegiate band "Immediate" and stressed that he wants to see progress towards the future as early as this coming football season. This means UB fans are most likely looking at a phased approach with more money for uniforms, equipment, and other support ramping up over the next several seasons.