It came as no surprise to us when Andre chose Stony Brook University over the other 7 schools we visited between his high school junior and senior years. His suburban Atlanta high school classmates (as well as our friends) wondered how he landed at SBU when he had highly ranked colleges in Georgia from which to choose. Andre matched SBUs academic credentials to his aspirations. The fact that he was born at SBU Hospital may have also influenced his decision.
His education at a science and math magnet HS prepared Andre for SBU academically, but we think it was the rewarding experience and positive influence that HS marching band had on Andre that factored into his participation in SBU's marching band. As parents 900 miles away, we could not be happier that Andre chose the band as his creative outlet. The fact that he has morphed into a leadership role as Associate Drum Major is a bonus. Andre is very fond of his relationship with his Seawolf classmates, and talks to us about them like family. Speaking of family, we were thrilled to finally make it to SBU for family weekend this year!
Mike and Joanne Parrella
Son: Chris Parrella
When our son Chris decided to attend Stony Brook we were very happy for him. Mike graduated from Stony Brook back in 1975, and enjoyed the experience, and we hoped Chris would too. Chris had a lot of fun with music in his junior high and high school years, everything from the jazz ensemble to the pit band at the high school play, so we hoped he would continue at Stony Brook. Little did we know that he would become so involved!
Chris' first band camp was quite an experience for him and for us. For that first week he was out of touch with us but thoroughly enjoyed the hard work. Chris' high school didn't have a marching band, and we had no idea what was involved in band camp, so our first sight of him on the campus welcoming new students at the start of the semester was a real treat! We were so proud to see him in uniform at the first football game, and even more surprised to see him playing the tuba! Up till then he'd been a dyed in the wool trombone player. Seeing the band play at the games has been a real thrill, but to see Chris run onto the field and into formations carrying the tuba has been priceless! We can really see why the band is known as the Spirit of Stony Brook, because it all flows from the spirit of the members and the fun they have..
Over the past few years the band experience has been great for Chris. He has made friends and enjoyed the music, but more than that. Being part of the marching band has pushed him musically, and has helped him develop as a person as well. And we have been so proud of his hard work, from the basketball games to the football games to becoming a member of SB Live. The Spirit of Stony Brook Marching Band has been wonderful for Chris, and as parents we are proud and very happy for him.
Hometown: Eastchester, NY
Daughter: Jessica Tuite
Back in Jessica's junior year at high school, her guidance counselor asked about Jessica's band participation, and if it would be a fact or in choosing a college. At that time, it was the furthest thing from our minds and seemed like a minor factor in choosing a college. Although Jessica went on to be awarded The John Phillip Sousa and First Chair awards for concert band in her senior year, a marching band in college was still not what we were thinking about. Playing the clarinet was something she just did for fun.
When she chose Stony Brook University, we were unaware of the band. That all changed at the parent student orientation. Jaclyn Lattanza and her crew found us during the day and were set up in the lobby for recruitment. I was "sold" right there, but Jessica was not too sure.
With blind faith she signed up, and her college experience has been beyond our wildest expectations. It's an honor and a privilege to be part of the " band family". Everything Mr. Jeff Barnett told us at the start of band camp has come true. Jessica believes that joining the band was the best decision she could have made coming in to college. She has met great friends and truly feels part of the Spirit of Stony Brook.
As for me, I love coming to the football games to support both the football team and the band. No matter what the weather is like, everyone in the band is always full of energy and school spirit, which makes watching the football games even more fun and exciting. I am a Seawolf now, and I know what my occupation is!
Barbara and Jim Lubitz
Hometown: Setauket, New York
Daughter: Anna Lubitz
It is only fitting that Anna has become a member of the Stony Brook marching band. Music has always been an integral part of Anna’s life ever since she was a very young girl. From the time she was in pre-school she has been participating in musical performances. And from grade school through high school Anna was always involved with music and was a member of the school orchestra, band, and choral groups. In high school, Anna was a member of Cammarata–an elite vocal group-and was inducted into the Tri-M music honor society and served as their historian. She was also a member of the school Color Guard.
Anna also plays the piano, violin, and flute and was in many NYSSMA competitions during her elementary, middle & high school years. Anna auditioned at the Julliard School of Music, trained at the Lee Strasberg School of Acting, and performed at local playhouses including Theatre Three in Port Jefferson.
When Anna was accepted to Stony Brook University, we knew it was only a matter of time that she would become a member of the Stony Brook Marching Band and is now one of the flute players. Anna always felt a special connection with the Band during her singing engagements of the National Anthem at variety of sporting and other campus events. Under the leadership of Marching Band Director John Leddy and Assistant Dean Jeff Barnett, Anna has had a terrific experience as a band member representing the school and rooting on her fellow SEAWOLVES.
The Stony Brook Marching Band is the special ingredient that adds the extra excitement, appeal, and school spirit at each event. As parents we can say with out any doubt that Anna truly enjoys being part of such a wonderful organization.
Lisa and Keith Spicer
Hometown: Oxford, Connecticut
Daughter: Megan Spicer
When Meg and I first started looking for colleges I had one requirement: the school had to have a marching band. Meg’s high school life had been band followed by everything else. Band was a place where she found friends, inspiration, discipline, leadership, fun. I wanted those things to be part of her college experience as well and knew band was a sure fire way to find them.
Stony Brook was the perfect fit and even though our agreement with band in college was it had to be at least one semester, after her first day of Band Camp back I knew she would never quit. Unfortunately for us, parents that live across Long Island Sound in Connecticut, the distance would prove to be a challenge for us to be able to share in all of her successes. Throw in work schedules and her two brothers that played football as well, every August I would go through all of the schedules looking for those Saturdays when we could make the ferry trip across the Sound and get to take in the fun and excitement of the Spirit of Stony Brook Marching Band!
It is very hard to believe that 4 years have passed so quickly and that there won’t be any more games where I get choked up with pride as I watch my daughter lead the band onto the field. Megan, I am so proud of you! Thanks for all of the memories (and ferry rides)!
Maria & Bill Dwyer
Hometown: Mount Sinai, NY
Granddaughter: Megan Dwyer
When our granddaughter Megan decided to attend Stony Brook University, we couldn’t have been happier for her. Stony Brook University is the perfect choice for Megan because she can live on campus, but still be close to home. She’s at a great school and is still able to make it home to family dinners every Sunday. It’s the best of both worlds, and we wouldn’t have it any other way!
Even though Megan is technically "away" at school, we love that we don’t have to travel far to watch her perform at everything from ensemble concerts to sporting events. Our favorite events to go to are definitely the football games. Every game is so much fun, and our favorite part of the games is, of course, getting to watch Megan play her piccolo and march on the field.
We are so proud of our granddaughter and how much she has accomplished in her time at Stony Brook University. Megan’s involvement in the band since freshman year has helped her get involved in many other academic and extra-curricular activities on campus. As a junior, she is now involved in many student clubs, organizations, and leadership roles, including her positions as Orientation Leader and Student Ambassador. Megan continues to grow and develop as a student leader, and as a person, and we are so happy to be able continue to be a part of her life every step of the way!
Thomas & Virginia Moylan
Hometown: Islip, NY
Son: Richie Moylan
When our son Richie was in his senior year at Islip H.S., he knew right then and there which college he wanted to attend: SBU. Richie did apply to other colleges and was accepted with scholarships. When Richie received his acceptance letter from SBU, he wanted to follow his dream and be in their marching band. He began playing violin in elementary school and learned how to read music. Violin was not for him, however. In high school, he began playing drums and taking drum lessons.
Richie has been taking drum lessons for several years and will continue his love of music at SBU. As his parents, we have always been supportive of his goals in life. When he signed up for the Spirit of Stony Brook Marching Band, we knew right away where we would be spending our weekends. We have been to every football home game, and every men and women’s home basketball game. When the band and basketball team were in Monmouth, New Jersey, I had every TV on in the house, so I wouldn’t miss hearing the band play. It was an honor to watch the band play at the Columbus Day parade. Of course, as always, the band performed an amazing job. Watching the band brought tears to our eyes. Great job to all involved.
As long as we are invited to be a part of the Spirit of SBU, you can count on us being there. Richie has made so many new friends; the band has become not only part of his family, but ours too. This is our second year attending all events and we will continue to be supportive in any way we can.
Looking forward to attending Madison Square Garden, of course to see and hear the marching band. The best to come is the Spirit of Stony Brook Marching Band performing at West Point next year. When the band starts playing, the cheerleaders & dancers start performing, it’s one spectacular event. Let’s not forget our football & basketball teams. GO SEAWOLVES!!! What’s a Seawolf? We’re Seawolves!
Joseph & Paula Lattanza
Hometown: Port Jefferson Station, NY
Daughter: Jaclyn Lattanza
Three years ago in the fall of 2008 our oldest daughter, Nicole, became a freshman at Stony Brook University. Although she was not part of the marching band, she followed her love and joined the Stony Brook Dance Team. As a family we attended every football and basketball game. My wife and three daughters couldn’t wait until the next game. We watched the marching band grow exponentially before our eyes. What a show! It truly gave you the feeling that Keith Jackson, the voice of college football for ABC Sports was in the house! The music, the talent, the dancing, and the excitement were contagious. The crowds not only cheered for the Seawolves players but encouraged the marching band, the cheerleaders, the dance team, and Wolfie to be the best.
It didn't take much for Jaclyn to want that excitement. As a high school senior she followed every move the SB Men's Basketball Team made. We went to Hartford, Boston, and she followed the team around the world. With the marching band's electricity she knew it was a match. She couldn't wait to break her flute out and for Band Camp to start. She has made dozens of friends in a very short period of time all willing to help and guide her in her new world at college.
I must say that the Spirit of Stony Brook is alive in our home. It has brought our family very close and we are very excited about the first home game on September 17. Seawolves banners and flags are always visible. The memories and confidence that Jaclyn and Nicole are gaining from this character building experience will last a lifetime. I offer many thanks to John Leddy and the entire staff for their inspiring leadership. See you at the stadium!
GO MARCHING BAND, GO DANCE TEAM, GO SEAWOLVES!
Joi & Stephan Kravitz
Hometown: Merrick, NY
Daughter: Samara Kravitz
Mr. John Leddy is the antithesis of Professor Harold Hill in The Music Man. While Professor Hill was out to scam River City that he could deliver a marching band, John Leddy along with his assistant Shayna Stahl has delivered a marching band to SBU. Starting with a handful of students five short years ago they have delivered a marching, singing, dancing band to SBU, only the fourth to exist amongst all of New York State’s Colleges and Universities. Consisting of over 160 students from a wide variety of majors, this band is a sight to behold when the Drum Majors step off in unison.
Our daughter Samara is a freshman flute player in the band and we couldn’t be prouder. Her college experience began a week earlier than her fellow freshmen when she reported to Band Camp. In Band Camp she learned the meaning of camaraderie and team work, while still enjoying herself and making that all important transition from High School to College. There lies another benefit in joining the band. Freshman members are assigned a mentor to help them make that academic transition.
In summation, you could not ask for a better experience for your student than being a band member. If you want to see the band in action, I have posted over a 1000 pictures of the band performing on my Facebook page, Stephan G. Kravitz; feel free to take a look.
Karen & Tony Werner
Hometown: Babylon, NY
Son: Don Werner
Don played trumpet in band throughout his high school years. Because Babylon is a small school, there were never enough kids to have a marching band. Even though they performed their halftime show on the bleachers, it was still enjoyable to watch. Don decided to join TheSpirit of Stony Brook his first year of college. We were excited that he finally had the opportunity to march on a college football field and do formations with the rest of the band. We were pleased to know that he had made a circle of friends at his first band camp.
This is Don's third year of playing trumpet in band. We go to almost every game to see them perform; we especially love the dance routines in parts of the halftime show. We love seeing how the band members interact with each other in the stands throughout the course of the game and with the football team after the game ends. They all have so much energy and really show that they enjoy what they are doing.
Recently, our daughter Rebecca played with the Stony Brook Pep Band at a Men's basketball game. She was really excited to be playing with her brother and the other members of band that she has become friends with. She applied to Stony Brook this year and hopes to become a Seawolf and a member of The Spirit of Stony Brook. Nothing would make us prouder than to see both of our children out on the field playing for the marching band. Thanks to John Leddy, Jeff Barnett and the rest of the Athletic Bands staff for making it all possible. GO SEAWOLVES!
LuAnn & Joseph Palazzo
Hometown: Islip, NY
Son: Dylan Palazzo
Dylan was recruited for our hometown marching band when he was in 8th grade. He loved marching band so much, he worked his way up to drum major for the last 2 years of high school. So when we began looking at colleges it came as no surprise that the first question he asked at every school was: "Do you have a marching band?" And the second question? "Tell me about your physics program." A tall order to fill for sure.
Well, we all felt like we hit the jackpot at SBU. We found an unparalleled marching band AND a top-notch physics program. Going from a cozy small town to a large university, we were apprehensive about Dylan’s experience. But the warmth and caring commitment of every band member right up to Mr. Leddy was more than apparent right from the start. Over the summer, Dylan and I stopped into Mr. Leddy’s office unannounced to say hello and they actually interrupted their staff meeting to invite us in and welcomed us in the warmest way. Dylan feels like he has a home and family at the band space and we’ve seen his confidence blossom already. And after seeing the way the Spirit family has embraced him, we could not be happier.
We were blown away by the band's recent performance on Band Day. Their professionalism was truly impressive and the excitement was electric in the air. They were amazing both on the field and in the stands. And the best part is seeing firsthand how much fun they all have together. We are now definitely SEAWOLVES!
LuAnn & Joseph Palazzo
Carl & Ann Bednarz
Hometown: Tuckahoe, NY
Daughter: Megan Bednarz
Growing up in the Bronx, Ann and I were only a train ride away from some of the finest parades around. Family trips to the St. Patrick's Day parades were the norm. The thrill of hearing bands from all over playing everything from marching classics to top forty hits on a street corner in Manhattan for free, was exhilarating. I had the fortune of marching in some with my high school band. I can still hear our street beat cadence in my head today.
The SBU Marching Band brings this thrill to every one of its performances. You have to be in the crowd when the first phrase of Michael Jackson’s Thriller is played to appreciate the reaction. What starts out as exclamations of, “Oh Yeah, Alright and Way to Go,” quickly become howls, yells and applause. Watching the band grow in size, talent and repertoire over the last three years has been amazing. Ann and I have enjoyed many a home game performance and even ventured to Hartford CT to see them at the AEC finals. The band plays with skill, flair and an enthusiasm that is fun to watch. You just have to see them dance.
Of course, our favorite member is our daughter Megan and our favorite section is the drumline. The cadences they play are filled with syncopations that make you want to stomp your feet.
As we watched Megan move up from playing snare, to quads and now a section leader, we also watched her grow with her new band family. She has made friends and shared experiences that will last her a lifetime. I can hear their reunion chant now!
Go, Fight, Win! Go, Fight, Win! SBU, SBU, S.B.U.!
Bob & Margaret Atkinson
Hometown: Patchogue, NY
Son: David Atkinson
Though we'd had two children graduate from Stony Brook University, we hadn't paid much attention to the school or to the spirit. And though my husband is quite an avid sports fan, the last thing on my bucket list would have been attending a football game. That all changed in September 2006, when David joined the fledgling group of musicians who bravely and proudly marched onto that large field where they took up such little space.
We started attending games, Bob, wearing his red and cheering—I wearing my red because it’s my favorite color. Bob would explain rules of the game, and I would try to absorb them, but mostly I would read a book or magazine. That is, until halftime when I came alive, watching the formations and appreciating the music.
During the game we could slip David a homemade treat or give him his mail, though at one game where there was heightened security, I was worried they would check my bulging pockets. At another game we were selected to sit on the front row behind the team. I put my book aside when I realized we were being shown on the giant screen.
Every game it seemed, there were more band members, marching with more sophistication, and playing more difficult music.
For David, the band has given him a community of friends, interesting experiences, and leadership opportunities. For us? The free tickets!
Robin & Arthur Lord
Hometown: Lindenhurst, NY
Son: Nicholas Lord
There are some things in life that just make you feel good. You can't always put your finger on it, but when you experience it you just want to hold on to it and make it last. One of those things for us is experiencing "the Spirit of Stony Brook". When you go to a football game you can feel the excitement building with the first glimpse and the first note as The Spirit of Stony Brook make their way through the parking field to the stadium.
Watching our first pre-game show of the season this year, we felt the excitement intensify and were amazed at the swelling size of the band (now somewhere around 140 members). We watched in awe as these dedicated, enthusiastic and talented individuals work together as a team and deliver a dynamic show. By the half time show, they owned the crowd.
As Nick's parents, we can't help but burst with pride. We have watched him through the years in high school, and now at Stony Brook, take on leadership roles with confidence and assurance, never forgetting that he is one of many. His success at recruiting new band members this past summer is evidence of his passion, enthusiasm and commitment.
The memories and confidence that he is gaining from this experience will last a lifetime. Many thanks to Jeff Barnett and John Leddy for their inspiring leadership.
Steve & Dawn Ligouri
Hometown: Hauppauge, NY
Son: Bryan Ligouri
Bryan's first semester at SBU was spent in the company of a very small circle of acquaintances, despite our urgings to get involved. The next fall, we were delighted when he joined the marching band.
We learned it was the personal attention he received from Mr. Leddy that persuaded him to join, but it was also the personal commitment to him by Dean Jeff Barnett and the attention paid by then-President Shirley Strum Kenny to the entire program that made his first semester in Marching Band so special. The change in Bryan was obvious and gratifying: he was making friends and his mind was growing, and his views and interests were broadening.
From the stands at all the home games (and Hofstra games, too) we watch and listen to the band go through its routines and it’s apparent that they are enjoying what they’re doing as much as the spectators… especially the wonderful rapport that has grown between the band and the Seawolves: it’s exciting and moving to see them feed off each other’s energy and emotion after every game.
We are so happy and grateful that Mr. Leddy, Dean Jeff Barnett and the school administration got behind the band and our son, giving him the opportunity and incentive to become a part of this great organization and meet its terrific members, and enabling him to grow as a person.
Next best, is sitting in the stands with other enthusiastic parents. They sometimes ask, “What position does your son play?” Our proud response: “Trumpet!”
Many thanks to all involved!
Jim & Wanda Cook
Hometown: Ronkonkoma, NY
Son: Jeff Cook
That first year of college can be a little threatening whether you’re an international or out-of-state student, or even a commuter like Jeff. Having spent a good portion of his life in the band room , you can imagine how excited we were to learn that Stony Brook would be forming a marching band that very same year and that Jeff would be able to get involved in its birthing as one of the original 17 members.
Being a commuter, it's easy to feel alienated from campus life, but all that changes when you join marching band. It's not just a band, it's a living, breathing, spirit emitting entity of its own where you can be accepted and respected while you grow and reach your goals.
We were so proud to see Jeff play at the 2006 New Student Convocation to a record breaking crowd of 4000 incoming students of which he was one. We knew he was at home right then!
The Spirit of Stony Brook has spread throughout our entire family making us band members as well. So, put on your red caps, grab a hot dog, take a picture with Wolfie, and come do the wave with us!
Hometown: Huntington, NY
Son: Greg Modelewski
February 18, 2009, Volume 3, Issue 1
In late August of this year, my husband and I helped our son Greg settle into his new life at SBU. We couldn't have imagined that he would adjust so quickly and be so welcomed, and we owe that to the wonderful Stony Brook Marching Band and its director, Mr. John Leddy.
From the moment he arrived and was met by a friendly young man in a Marching Band shirt, Greg was accepted into the ‘family’ – a family that made him feel accepted and helped him learn his way around campus. We attended all the football games this season and we’re so impressed with the band! The marvelous marching and music add such spirit and fun, and it’s obvious how much the band members enjoy what they’re doing.
Thank you, Mr. Leddy, for your hard work and dedication. Greg’s time spent with Marching Band is something he’ll always be proud of and we’ll always cherish. We can’t wait for next season!