Eastern Washington University Creates Community Marching Band fo - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Eastern Washington University Creates Community Marching Band for Playoff Game Saturday

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The McKinley family has deep ties to Eastern Washington University. The McKinley family has deep ties to Eastern Washington University.
CHENEY, Wash. -

The McKinley family has deep ties to Eastern Washington University.

"Well, we're alumni, my mother graduated from Eastern, my father was a quarter from graduating from Eastern, my grandmother graduated from Eastern," explained Mike McKinley, Eastern Class of 1982, and Cheney native.

"My mother was a music major as was my sister Marty, my brother Dan, my brother Steve, my sister Debbie, and me," echoed Mike's wife, Genny McKinley, also of Eastern Class of 1982.

Not only do the McKinley's love this school, though, they have a special place in their hearts for the band.

"Well, we saw each other for the very first time our freshmen year," said Genny. "It was the very first class for both of us."

Her husband remembers it well.

"I knew from that day, those days in marching band, when I sat above her," said Mike. "I said, that's someone I have to get acquainted with."

So, when Eastern started looking for people to play in a make-shift marching band for Saturday's playoff game because most of the students are already home for the holidays, their daughter Lauren, a percussionist at Eastern, convinced them to get involved.

"I knew I could kind of pluck at their heartstrings when I said, oh, but it's Eastern, we're all going to be alumni pretty soon once I graduate," explained Lauren.

"Any time you can do something with your family, it's fun," said Mike.

Don Goodwin, the director of Athletic Bands at Eastern is also excited for Saturday because the "vibe" the alumni bring is so unique.

"It's just a great testament to the strength of the alumni program," said Goodwin. "And the passion the community feels about this school and their alma matter, it's a great thing."

And, not only does this event mean a lot to the McKinley's and the music department, it means a lot to the football team as well.

"It's awesome that the community can be here," said Eastern quarterback Vernon Adams. "[They] just come out here and support us, do their thing on the drums and everything, it's awesome."

And, alumni will not be the only ones filling in on Saturday. Some students are actually making their way back to school to play with the band for the game and local high school music students are also stepping up.

"Come one, come all, if you have any experience playing an instrument" said Goodwin. "Whether that's last year in high school or 40 years ago, we'd love to have you participate in this."

If you are interested in being a part of Eastern Washington University's marching band this weekend, check out the alumni site here: http://alumni.ewu.edu/s/1530/start.aspx

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