Becca Werner ('15)
Position: Cymbal Section Leader
Major: Biology (Environmental), Marine Science (minor)
If there was anything constant about my undergraduate career, registering for MUS 268 was exactly that. My schedule revolved around band, as it does for many others. Playing cymbals allowed me to channel my stressors into something creative and let me focus on my love for music.
Even after graduating last May, I couldn't stay away from this organization because of the impact it left on my life. I wanted to give back to the group that gave me confidence, strength, love, and happiness. This past academic year, I had the opportunity to be a cymbal technician on and off the field. I also wrote my first small performance for the cymbal section which debuted at Showcase (shameless plug). (:
Michael Ayala ('11, ’12, ‘14)
Position: Historian/Drumline Captain
Major: Electrical-Computer Engineering/Applied Mathematics
Employer: Flexible Systems, Three Village Central School District
Seeing the growth of an organization can inspire awe in any alumnus and I’m proud to be a part of the Spirit of Stony Brook. The diverse group of friends, staff, and network of people you get immersed in open so many opportunities for your future. Being able to travel, perform on TV and Commercials, and just keep doing something that you love cannot be beat, but add on the network of high ranking university officials and supportive alumni, you’ll be hard pressed to find a better group to join.
The skills and leadership experiences the band has given me over the years has made me a key employee as a Client Support Engineer at Flexible Systems, a technology firm that works with many major hospitals and businesses across Long Island and throughout the country. In just a short time, I became the lead engineer of the Assembly and Integration Department because I was able to show I was disciplined, professional, able to be part of a team, and always striving for excellence. The biggest contribution to my success was the opportunity to be the drumline instructor while I was pursuing my graduate degrees. It was fulfilling to give back and play a role in teaching the students that will push the program to its future successes.
Thanks to these experiences, I was hired at my other alma mater as their drumline coordinator. I get to use the lessons learned during the early years of the Spirit of Stony Brook and apply them as I mold the minds and shape the direction of a newly budding marching program. Maybe I can convince some of them to become future Seawolves.
Eric Kunz ('13)
Position: Drum Major
Major: Biology/Computer Science
Employer: Old Westbury Gardens, Garden City High School
The classiest, friendliest, and most fun community that I have been a part of: that is what the Stony Brook Marching Band is to me. I owe the best parts of myself, in no small way, to my time with this group. My band family has shown me leadership skills, teamwork, and that following one’s passion and taking on challenges really pays off.
I worked in a research lab for several months after graduation. I also worked as a photographer, taught a local marching band, and continued to hone my programming skills because I enjoyed doing so. I recently launched my first app called LiveBlend. Creating the app was about following my passion. Its success is opening new possibilities for me. It has been challenging and exciting at the same time but I have experienced these feelings before when first becoming a member of the band and later becoming a drum major. I will soon be working on a team again for a technology company in New York City. The marching band was the best training I could have gotten for being part of a team and leading it.
Sometime while busking in New York City streets, traveling to distant arenas, playing my trombone on television, and leading the band in front of thousands I became a confident person that is always striving for excellence and ready to take on the world.
When looking at prospective colleges as a senior in high school, I made sure any school I considered had a marching band. This was simply because it was an activity I enjoyed at the time and wanted to continue. What I didn't know is how much of a key role it would play in my college education and even my future beyond school.
My colleagues at work love listening to me ramble on about my experiences with the marching band because I do so with such pride. I think being a part of this band is a truly unique experience that no one should miss out on!
Jonathan Milard ('12)
Instrument: Cymbals/Bass Drum
Major: Anthropology/Social Studies Education
Employer: Building Educated Leaders for Life (BELL)
I often find it hard to believe how much has happened since I graduated from Stony Brook last May. Since that time, I’ve volunteered abroad in Nepal, found a great job teaching first graders at an afterschool program, and have been accepted into the Master’s in Literacy Education program at Queens College. I often find myself in the midst of a hodgepodge of experiences, which most people attribute to my willingness to try new things, but I correct them by letting them know that it is mainly due to my willingness to try a few new things and those experiences leading me to others.
A prime example would be my experience joining the Spirit of Stony Brook my freshman year. Even though I had experience playing percussion, I had never been part of a marching band in the past and was curious to see what it would be like. Doing so, I met such a diverse group of people that several doors in my life opened that I didn’t know existed. I joined clubs I never thought I would join, interacted with students with different interests that I would not have met otherwise, and ended up studying abroad in Tanzania, which sparked my interest in volunteering abroad. Consequently, joining the band has had an immense effect on who I am today.
The Spirit of Stony Brook is quite unique in that it can bring so many different types of people together and allow ideas to be exchanged and blossom. And although I was a bit skeptical of the phrase in the past, I left Stony Brook knowing that the Spirit of Stony Brook was truly one band, one sound, and also, one family.
Navneet Singh ('08)
First Drum Major & Founding Member
For those of you who don’t know me, I am a graduate student at Stony Brook, and more importantly, a founder of this band and its first drum major. I spent two years here before the band started up and feel I finally started to become who I was meant to be when I joined this band.
I learned how to work in teams by having to learn music and drill with my fellow band members, refined my public speaking skills every time I made an announcement and was taught time management by having to balance game weekends with my schoolwork, which are not skills that all people have. Your involvement in the band, gives you the opportunity to become unique and set yourself apart from the masses.
Seniors, you already started your legacy by being a part of one of the most influential groups on campus. We’re lucky because our names will forever be etched into the history of this band and this university. I feel fortunate to have this as my claim to fame, my conversation starter, part of MY legacy.