As the fall semester closed out for the hokies, many MV’s began to prepare for the Dec. 29 Military Bowl, including one of the Marching Virginians finest seniors, Courtney Martin.
She will be bringing her third year with the MV’s to a close with her final bowl game in the clarinet section. She’s had quite the journey with the band.
It started with her freshman year. She always loved the Virginia Tech football games and the art of music.
I felt really should be in the marching band, because my friends have always been in the band. I’d feel incomplete without being in the marching band at Tech.
Courtney was extremely excited for her audition, especially because she and her roommate were auditioning together. She remembers the morning of: pulling her shoes out, being ready to go. She remembers her audition: trying her hardest, but still not making the cut.
Her freshman year, about half of the rookies auditioning were cut. When you don’t make it through the audition process, it is possible to stay involved with the band by becoming a manager for the MV’s or joining Tau Beta Sigma or Kappa Kappa Psi, Virginia Tech’s honorary band sorority and fraternity.
Because most of the rookies that were cut fell back on becoming manager, it was a very selective process. Courtney was not selected for one of the few manager positions, just like most rookies who did not pass the audition process.
However, despite the heartache, Courtney was always motivated to be a part of the MV experience and she never gave up. She discovered Tau Beta Sigma and continued through the sorority’s membership candidate process so that she could participate in band events by providing service to the MV’s. Some of the service opportunities included hosting MV breakfasts before football games and the August picnic where fun summer games and cookout foods are provided.
Courtney’s sophomore year was nearly the same, with 15 clarinets unable to pass the audition process, including herself. Fortunately for Courtney, she unknowingly befriended the head manager the day audition results were posted. Little did she know she had made an amazing best friend to share her feelings with, Kelly Guthrie.
That day would change Courtney’s MV experience entirely. Not only did she make it as manager, but she found her new favorite person to look forward to spending every rehearsal and football game with.
When junior year rolled around, Courtney was even more excited to remain a part of the band crowd. That year, she passed the audition process! Her favorite memory is of Dave McKee, Virginia Tech’s former director of athletic bands, walking out into block the next morning shouting, “Courtney, you made the band!”
At this point in Courtney’s career, she felt that she had a unique outlook on what it means to be a spirited hokie. She loved the fact that the band actually interacts with the fans at all points before, during and after the football games. From parade block, to the stands, to walking back to the Marching Virginians Center, the spirit never fades.
In a similar sense, the MV’s really helped immerse Courtney into Tech’s different spheres of influence, from being in the crowd to being a part of the performance, she really experienced it all. Being so outgoing was not in Courtney’s realm of experience, but band really brought her out of her shell and made her feel completely at home.
This year, as a senior, Courtney holds a leadership position in addition to being a part of the MV’s performances. She’s a librarian and prints thousands of copies of music: new copies of classic music for rookies and new tunes for every show.
Holding this leadership position, combined with her experience as a leader in TBS, has really expanded Courtney’s understanding of what it means to be a leader. Reflecting on her experiences, Courtney says that even someone involved in just one part of the band can still set an example and really be a part of the group over time. It just takes a little practice.
Even now, Courtney is debating on staying with the Marching Virginians for another year. Adding a hospitality, tourism and management major to her finance major has lengthened her time at Tech for an exciting fifth undergraduate year. Now Courtney has the potential to become a super senior within the Marching Virginians!
Once a Marching Virginian, always a Marching Virginian!