Student Look: Leading the Spartan Marching Band | MSUToday

Samantha Barringer is a graduate in music education at the College of Music and a member of the Specialized college. The flute is her main instrument and she is also the drum major of the Spartan Marching Band. This summer, the SMB traveled to Austria to perform at the Mid-Europe festival. For Barringer and his bandmates, it was the experience of a lifetime.

Photo courtesy of Samantha Barringer

My experience in the Spartan Marching Band has been nothing but positive. I am so thankful and thankful for the people, experiences and leadership. One thing I appreciate about the Spartan Marching Band is that we are a great community, current and past members. SMB alumni are a huge support system for our organization. Every current SMB member works so hard to carry on the legacy left by the alumni and I am honored to continue that legacy with the rest of my colleagues. The people I’ve met in the marching band are some of my best friends and I wouldn’t trade them for anything in the world.

I’ve also had the good fortune to travel with the band to three separate destinations – most recently out of the country!

SMB recently had the opportunity to perform at the Mid-Europe festival in Schladming, Austria. We were invited to play by an MSU alumnus, Verena Mösenbichler-Bryant, who runs the festival every year. She wanted Europe to experience our unique ensemble sound, and we literally blew them away! We were so excited to have the opportunity to go and be the first collegiate marching band to attend this festival.

Before our trip, David Thornton, the director of the SMB, repeatedly told the set: “Europe has no idea what’s coming. They have never seen a band like us before! And he was totally right. Wherever we performed, crowds of people followed. People were opening their apartment windows to watch our performance and asking for photos and a way to connect with our band. It was so cool to see that our Spartan culture touched them as much as they touched us.

Drum Major Samantha Barringer performs with the Spartan Marching Band

Photo courtesy of Samantha Barringer

The experience in Austria was like no other. You hear people talk about how traveling to another country can be life changing, but you never really believe it until you do it. The culture, the architecture, the way of life; everything is different, but a good different. I can’t believe we got to walk the streets of Vienna, Schladming and Salzburg in Austria – it was the opportunity of a lifetime!

Many MSU alumni followed us to Austria and supported us throughout our performances, but we also met other Spartans everywhere. I would hear at least one voice shout “Go Green!” remotely every day. It was amazing to see the Spartan community thousands of miles from East Lansing.

I chose to be a Spartan because of the growing alumni community, the opportunities for me to do what I love, and the Spartan heritage. I am so proud to be a Spartan and to represent our school. I have dreamed of going to this school and joining the Spartan marching band since I was little. I am very grateful for every moment that passes a little too quickly; I can’t believe my time here is almost over. Go green!