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Reanne L. Nakapa’ahu with a ukulele
Spring 2024

Keeping the beat: Q&A with former Cougar Marching Band drum major Reanne Nakapa’ahu

Reanne L. Nakapa’ahu (’14 Music Ed.) was a member of the Cougar Marching Band drumline from fall 2009 to spring 2011, when she became drum major. She held that leadership position until she graduated in spring 2014. Here, she answers some questions about her time with CMB.

What instrument did you play?

I played tenors on the drumline and was also a drum major for three years.

How many years were you in CMB?

Five years.

Were you in band in high school or middle school, too?

Yes! I started my music and journey in 2003 at King Intermediate School in Kaneohe, Hawai’i I … » More …

Spring 2024

Sweet beats with the Cougar Marching Band

The WSU Fight Song, the roaring crowd, the electric atmosphere.

Washington State University’s Cougar Marching Band is often the heart and soul that connects WSU alumni and fans at these games.

In this episode, new Cougar Marching Band director Jon Sweet takes magazine associate editor Adriana Janovich behind the scenes. He talks about the music, the marching, the fans, and the incredible Coug spirit in the band.

This episode’s music is from the Cougar Marching Band at a November 2023 football game.

The Cougar Marching Band is raising money for new uniforms. Learn more or donate for the uniforms.




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WSU Cougar Marching Band members marching on the football field
Spring 2024

Catch the Cougar Marching Band spirit

A football gameday in the life of the  Washington State University band

Produced by WSU Video Services


More about the Cougar Marching Band

The band plays on (Spring 2024)

Voices of Cougar Marching Band students: The band life in their own words

Cougar Marching Band memories from band alumni

Meet Jon Sweet: The new director of Cougar Marching Band hopes to grow the program and enhance the student experience

Cougar Marching Band

Give to Cougar Marching Band Uniform Campaign for 2023-2024

Spring 2024

Voices of Cougar Marching Band students: The band life in their own words

They’re out there, on the field, six hours before kickoff to rehearse. Later comes inspection to make sure they look sharp. Then they’re on the march—to Cougar Prowl to welcome the players, around the RV lot off Stadium Way to play for die-hard fans, onto Rogers Field for a performance at Cougville to play for more die-hard fans, and, finally, back to the field itself for the pregame and halftime show, and everything in between and after.

Home game days make for long days for members of the Cougar Marching Band, who balance rehearsal with classes, homework, work, socializing, and other activities. Here, some … » More …

Spring 2024

Cougar Marching Band memories

From bowl games, band camps, and snowy pregame and halftime shows, to particular pieces of music and enduring friendships, Cougar Marching Band alumni carry lots of fond memories. Here, they share a few favorites from throughout the past five decades.


Lee Ann Fordyce (’72 Comm.) lists these memories of Cougar Marching Band from 1968 to 1970

Learning the fight songs for the other PAC-8 schools
Stopping at Central to practice our halftime show on our way to Seattle for the 1969 Apple Cup. Boy, was it windy in Ellensburg!
Sadly, having a band director who felt we weren’t … » More …

Spring 2024

Meet Jon Sweet: Director of Cougar Marching Band

He wasn’t really looking to leave.

Jon Sweet was happy at Purdue University, where he was assistant director and drill designer of the marching band and also conducted the concert band and a pep band.

Then, a friend alerted him to the position at Washington State University and encouraged him to apply. “I looked at it, and it seemed like a really great fit,” says Sweet, who—after six years at Purdue—started as the new director of Cougar Marching Band last June 1.


Sweet holds a bachelor’s degree in music education from Abilene Christian University in Texas, a master’s degree in conducting from Stephen … » More …

Eric McElroy plays piano in a studio
Fall 2023

A composer’s journey to poetry and music

Eric McElroy is an American pianist and composer who released his debut album, Tongues of Fire, in March 2023 on Somm Recordings. He wrote the songs to accompany poems from modern poets W.S. Merwin, Gregory Leadbetter, Grevel Lindop, Alice Oswald, and Robert Graves. The poems are sung by acclaimed English tenor James Gilchrist and McElroy performs on piano.

McElroy graduated from Washington State University and then continued his postgraduate education in Vienna and Oxford University.

In this episode, Washington State Magazine editor Larry Clark talks with McElroy about the new album, his creative process, poetry, walking, and his influences at WSU and beyond.


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