~ By Lisa Maria Boyles

Brass horns play rousing music that fills the stadium. Drums punctuate the beat. Color guard dancers flash their flags in sync with the music.

Their music makes our feet tap, our voices cheer, and gets our enthusiasm rolling.

There’s no denying it. The spirit shown by the Fresno State Bulldog Marching Band provides a heartbeat – a soul – to our college experience.

The Bulldog Marching Band and Color Guard continue to be competitive as a top-tier college-level organization performing at various sporting and other events on campus and in the community.

This year’s Fresno State Marching Band and Color Guard has grown to more than 270 members.

These students become more than a team – they become a family. Through long hours of practice, they acquire discipline, time-management and team-building skills that will serve them for a lifetime.

Marching Band members aren’t only music majors. These dedicated students come from diverse backgrounds and from nearly every academic major on campus.

Participation in the marching band is an extra-curricular activity. Students practice from six to eight hours each week, in addition to their class work, performance and travel time. That makes scholarship support critical to retaining the most talented students.

fullsizerenderAnthony Rodriguez, a 19-year-old jazz studies major, is one such student. Rodriguez, a first-generation college student, comes from the community of Desert Hot Springs, California. His father commutes an hour and a half a day for his 10-hour work day at a glass installation company. His mom is a receptionist for an orthopedic center.

“Seeing my parents work so hard to support my sister and myself has led me to learn the value of hard work and to be appreciative of what I am able to have,” Rodriguez said.

When he was accepted to Fresno State, Rodriguez took out a private loan to pay for tuition fees and living costs so his parents would not have to take on second jobs. In his second year, he borrowed money from a family member and took on a part-time job at a local high school. He hopes to earn a doctorate degree in jazz studies so he can become the head of a university program.

This year, he was awarded a Bulldog Beat Scholarship, which, along with financial aid, will allow him to pay for his tuition and apartment.

“The Bulldog Beat Scholarship is truly a blessing for my family. I would like to send my sincerest thanks to all who contribute. It has not only changed my life, but my family’s life as well.”

Your support can help the Bulldog Marching Band continue to grow its excellence. You can make a tax-deductible gift to support the Bulldog Marching Band and Color Guard. This gift, which can be given one-time or on a monthly basis, will contribute to current and future success through support of scholarships, instruments and equipment.

To give securely online, visit fresnostate.imodules.com/giving. Enter your gift amount and click “Other,” then type in “Bulldog Marching Band 17MBM.”

You can watch videos of the Fresno State Marching Band (fresnostatebands.com/) on their YouTube channel (YouTube.com/FSBMB).