This fall season, Alma College’s Kiltie Marching Band celebrates its 100th anniversary. The band held its first performance of the season at the Alma College football game against Manchester University on Saturday, September 10.
Dr. David Zerbe, Alma College’s Director of Bands and Percussion Studies, began his career at Alma in 1988. “When I started Fall Term 1988, I had three lesson students and taught percussion pedagogy. There was no active percussion ensemble at the time, but I formed one Winter Term of 1989. That said, the department was thriving. The Bands, Choir and Orchestra were very established performing ensembles,” said Zerbe.
In the 34 years Dr. Zerbe has worked for Alma College, much has changed. “The Eddy Music Building was renovated and substantially increased in size. The percussion and band program has continued to grow and gain a reputation for excellence,” said Zerbe.
Along with the percussion ensemble performing at many prestigious music festivals and going on tour, the Kiltie Marching Band has also hosted a high school marching band competition and continually travels to play in exhibition at other high school marching band competitions.
This year’s performance is a Scottish-themed show titled ‘Dualchas Linn’, a Celtic term that translates to ‘Heritage of the Century’. “The show for this fall is a Scottish themed Show and is a celebration of the band’s storied past, our present achievements, and a salute to all those who have contributed to the success of the Kiltie Marching Band over the years,” said Zerbe.
Alex Herin ’24, who is in his third year as a member of the Kiltie Marching Band, is a keyboardist as part of the front ensemble as well as a cymbals player. “There’s a strong sense of community in the band.
Because we’re such a small school, the numbers aren’t quite what you’d see at a large university, so it’s nice that you know everyone in the band and that it’s tight knit,” said Herin.
“Our wonderful band director has prepared a beautiful show that’s supposed to truly encompass Alma’s Scottish heritage. I hope the alumni really enjoy it.” Herin is thrilled to be a part of the 100th anniversary and believes it’s a very exciting time to be involved with the band.
Overall, Dr. Zerbe is looking forward to the Kiltie Marching Band’s 100th anniversary, especially the opportunity to celebrate a once in a lifetime event with both current and former band members. “I’m looking forward to continuing to polish our show and to be able to present it in its entirety for the Alumni at Homecoming 2022. I’m also looking forward to concert band season winter term and the opportunity to dig into some fine concert band literature. In general, I am humbled to be the director at such an auspicious point in the band’s history. Fortune has granted me an opportunity not afforded to most people, and I plan to enjoy every moment and every memory,” said Zerbe.