Tracing The Roots of The Bridgewater College Marching Band

‘Bringing the Band Back Together’ Exhibition


Samantha Brooks

The 1960 Bridgewater College Marching Band uniform is compared to the current Screamin’ Eagles Marching Band uniform, on display outside Special Collections in the Forrer Learning Commons.

Samantha Brooks, Staff Writer

Bridgewater, Va. – A new exhibit is on display in the Special Collections of the Forrer Learning Commons that highlights the past and present of Bridgewater College’s marching band.

The exhibit was created in response to the debut of the Screamin’ Eagles Marching Band, according to Special Collections Librarian Stephanie Gardner. 

“I was thinking of an exhibit for homecoming that everyone could enjoy, especially since the Screamin’ Eagles made their debut this semester,” said Gardner.

“Trying to narrow down what we want to show and the story we want to tell is really important,” said junior and Special Collections Intern Meghann Burgess. “It’s a lot of little details. Narrowing down the photographs was a process. I’m really grateful that Stephanie has all this experience and that she had a whole outline put together.” 

The work was not exclusively on Gardner and Burgess, however.

“We worked with graphic designer Martha Ray from the BC marketing department, who made the designs for the exhibit,” said Gardner. “We also worked with [Learning Services Librarian] Taylor Baugher to curate a web exhibit to make this accessible online.” 

The exhibit was a result of extensive research and planning, not only in terms of finding the items to display and the historical context of each item, but also in terms of aesthetics. 

“The uniforms are very engaging,” said Burgess. “You can clearly see a difference between them.” 

“The hats are also very interesting. They look very regal and they help tell the story,” said Gardner. 

The research for the exhibit brought up some information that may not have been found otherwise.

 “One of the newspapers we found talked about the old band director, Roger E. Cole, and how he was a ham radio enthusiast. There was an article that talked about how at one point, he had picked up communications from the Russian Satellite Sputnik,” said Burgess. 

Their research also found that BC may very well have been quite progressive in terms of the band.

“The current band director, Dr. Carrillo, talked about how at one point there was a woman directing the band — which would have been really uncommon at the time,” said Gardner. 

The exhibit is open for viewing in the basement of the FLC until Dec. 10.