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Behind the Pride of Arizona: The Music of Silk Sonic 2022

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Nathanial Stenchever

A trumpet player in the Pride of Arizona marching band players proudly in formation before the Arizona football game against Mississippi State University on Sept. 10 in Arizona Stadium. The Wildcats would go on to lose the game 39-17. 

In light of everything that has happened in the past two and a half years, the Pride of Arizona marching band’s 2022 show, “The Music of Silk Sonic,” is all about expressing gratitude and choosing happiness. 

Silk Sonic consists of the duo Bruno Mars and Anderson .Paak. 

The show features four parts: “Silk Sonic Intro” and “Skate” is part one, “Leave the Door Open” is part two, “777” is part three with the drum feature and “Fly As Me” is part four. 

Grace Adams, a junior at the University of Arizona, is one of two drum majors for the Pride. She has been in the band for three years and also plays trumpet. 

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Adams provided a current update on the show’s progress.

“We only have one part of it on the field so far, and it’s really good and really upbeat, even though it’s kind of a slower show tempo-wise,” she said. 

She said she appreciates the difference in tempo of Silk Sonic. 

“Silk Sonic is not a very poppy group, they’re a lot more jazz-based, I would say, which is really cool because the past couple years, the Pride has done a lot more pop music,” Adams said.

Raegan Watkins, a senior at the UA, is a drum major for the first time since joining the band in 2019. She played mellophone for three previous years in the Pride.

Watkins said she feels Silk Sonic is very appropriate for this year.

“It’s relevant because the album just came out last year. It’s a super fun album, too. I think the music makes you feel very present,” Watkins said. “Especially coming out of the pandemic, either worrying about the past and feeling like you missed out on things or way focused on the future, the music really forces you to be present and just enjoy the moment.”

The Pride gets to perform twice at every home football game and play music in the stands. Watkins summed up the game day environment with one word.

“It’s exhilarating. Game day environment is just something else,” Watkins said. “We’ve been trying to encourage the rookies this year to keep pushing because once you get to that first game, it’s really something else between the fans encouraging you and having that feed off of the energy from everyone else.”

There are tons of new members this year, with the band population being at its highest this year between 270 to 280 people. 

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“They’re so focused and determined to get things done. It’s been awesome to watch them work and see them improve,” Watkins said. 

Liam Duffy, one of two mellophone section leaders, is in his fifth year and has been a part of the Pride since 2019. Duffy is a personal Silk Sonic fan.

“I’m a fan of both Anderson .Paak and Bruno Mars, so this seemed like a really good show,” Duffy said. 

He said he resonates with what their director, professor Chad Shoopman, has said about the show.

“Especially within these past two years, he explained a lot about how, as much as you can, choose to be happy or positive without it being toxic,” Duffy said. 

The Pride of Arizona will be performing parts of the Silk Sonic show at all home football games. They will also play the entire show at UA Band Day, an annual high school marching band competition hosted by the Pride, happening on Oct. 15 this year.


Follow Amanda Mourelatos on Twitter


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