Marching Pirates of years past descended on Greenville as they came to participate in this year’s Marching Pirates Alumni Reunion, hosted by the East Carolina Alumni Association. The weekend was filled with old friends, good memories, and great football as ECU faced conference rival Tulsa on Oct. 17 during Homecoming 2015.
And just like in years prior, the reunion did not disappoint.
“I really like seeing old friends from my time at ECU, seeing the new ones that I’ve made at the reunions, and being a small part of a big band again,” said Roger Holmes ’88. “If the Pirates call me to play, I’m going to want to do my best to get back!”
Barry Garrison ’69, a former band instructor, echoed a similar response.
“Being back on campus was as great as always,” said Garrison. “I’m very emotionally involved in ECU, I have always loved it. I truly do bleed purple and gold.”
Alumni relived their college years as they had a weekend full of events leading up to the big game. During that time they had a chance to practice with current Marching Pirates, march to the stadium with them, and even participate in the pregame performance.
Out of the 40 or so total attendants, around 25 of them marched with current Pirates!
“My favorite parts of Homecoming were singing the alma mater with the present Marching Pirates, arm-in-arm, after practice, marching up College Hill with older alums cheering us along the way, and playing the national anthem on Bagwell field again,” said Garrison.
“Being back on the band practice field is like stepping back in time to those that spent many hours there,” said Holmes. “That and looking up from the football field to the press box side of the stadium. Those are two wonderful things to experience!”
Some alumni forget about their instrument after leaving ECU. The reunions give them a chance to wipe the dust off their instrument and play again. For some, it can rekindle a passion.
“In the time I left ECU, I hardly touched the trumpet. I started playing again because I wanted to be ready for the 2011 reunion,” said Holmes. “The 2011 reunion motivated me to work harder. It has taken four years, but now I think I’m playing better than ever! I owe it all to that first reunion!”
By Michael Avila