By: Amber Murphy
Last year, Dr. Steve Grimo retired as the Malone University Interim Director of Bands. This year, Mr. Malcolm Jones has stepped up to the plate to take his place. A completely new band director has been a major change for Malone’s marching band, but everyone seems to have adjusted quite well. Jones received his undergraduate degree at the University of Akron, and this is where he began thinking about what he wanted to do with his career. Jones said, “About halfway through [my undergraduate degree], my trombone professor asked me, ‘What do you want to do with your life?’”This got him thinking about becoming a band director at the collegiate level. After he received his Master’s degree at Kent State, he applied for his current job at Malone. He said he is very enthusiastic about what the band will be doing this year and what they are capable of. “We’re excited for this first game,” said Jones. “[Sept. 24] is our first home game and it’s week four. We’ve been itching to get out there and perform and show our fans our new show.”Band camp started in the middle of August, so it is certainly understandable why the band is excited. Ellie Pallotta, senior zoo and wildlife biology major, is the field commander for marching band this year, so she is also a part of the new leadership. Coming from a student’s perspective, especially an upper classman, the new change in leadership could be hard to get used to. “It’s been a little bit rough, but that’s because it’s a transition year,” said Pallotta. “[Jones] is a lot more relatable [than Grimo], and he really does want to connect with the leadership. We have been working the best we can to keep morale up.”This is Pallotta’s first year as field commander, so she is adjusting to numerous changes. However, she is very eager about this year.Pallotta said, “I think I’m most excited about being given the honor to get up on the podium and be able to attempt to inspire people because [last year] I was just on the field. Now I can actually try and influence people’s thoughts and encourage them with power behind it.”Not only has there been numerous changes in leadership, but students not in leadership roles have been adjusting as well.Josh Woika, sophomore communication arts major, is a percussionist in the marching band. Woika said, “The new director relates very well to more students because he was in a college band, so he understands all of the feelings of going through band camp and games.” While it has definitely been an adjustment, Woika is still looking forward to this year with what the band will be doing.“I think I’m most excited about playing in the new Hall of Fame stadium this year since last year the band had to play in GlenOak High School because of [the stadium] being under construction,” Woika said. While the band has had to make some major adjustments, they are confident in their abilities to problem-solve and work together. Even with all of the changes, it should be a great year for the Malone University Marching Band.