Stukey’s men all played in the MSU group

ADRIAN – Three generations of the Stukey family have performed in the Michigan State University Spartan Marching Band.

The youngest, Nick, 19, will play at the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl in Atlanta today.

There are two percussionists and two trumpets in the family.

Three things seemed to come through in conversations with the family: Music has always been a part of their lives, being in the MSU Marching Band took them to places they would never have been as average students, and the group created instant friendships for them where other students often struggle to find friends in first grade.

Howard, Nick’s grandfather, is the oldest member of the group and played trumpet in the group from 1964 to 1968. He was also the group principal at Adrian High School for the past 14 years. of her career. Before that he taught in colleges and a few elementary schools, all in Adrian. Howard retired in 2008. He still plays in the Adrian City Band, as do the rest of Stukey’s men from time to time.

Howard didn’t push his sons David or Brian into the group. They had the motivation to do it themselves.

“They made their own decisions about where they wanted to go to school. It turns out they wanted to go to the state of Michigan and in part because of the group. We took them to games so they got to see the marching band a lot of times and wanted to be a part of it, ”Howard said.

The three always played together while David and Brian were growing up.

“We trained together and on occasion when they felt they needed help they asked. So we did it and therefore we always did things together. It was a lot of fun in that regard because they were always doing something, ”Howard said.

David, the oldest, is a high school social studies teacher in St. John and Brian is a high school physics teacher in Birmingham. Both help the drum lines in their schools.

Howard said he was very proud of them.

“The fact that neither of them are a music teacher and that they were sometimes involved in their high school bands makes me proud,” Howard said. “They’re both percussionists so they worked with their high school drum lines, and I’m very proud to say that when they’re involved the drum lines are much better.”

Howard played at the Rose Bowl in 1966 and the following year when former President Lyndon Johnson was inaugurated.

David played in the MSU Marching Band from 1993 to 1996. The first year he played cymbals and then bass drum for the rest of his time with the band. He was very clear on what he liked most about the group.

” The precision. Everyone was doing the same things at the same time, and it seemed crisp and clear, ”said David.

David remains involved in the music.

“Every now and then I come back here and play in City Band. My father will say: “We are missing a percussionist for a few concerts. So I’m going to float and play with this. I also played in the Tecumseh Pops, ”said David.

He also plays in the Michigan Orchestra and in MSU basketball and hockey games.

Getting into the MSU Marching Band is no easy feat, but David was able to help the students.

“It’s a pretty hard core. It’s gotten harder over the years, which is good. If you can do it, you’re doing the right thing,” David said. “I was lucky enough to put three alumni on the drum line at MSU. Over the past 20 years a bunch of guys have come in and said they want to go to MSU. So I said,” What do you want to do ? How serious are you? “And we got down to business and like I told them they can outdo me now, which is supposed to be that way.

Brian played the bass drum in the band from 2000 to 2003. He said the best part of the experience was the camaraderie.

“I think just being in a band where everyone was on the same page, where everyone was dedicated and where everyone just wanted to be as good as possible, was the best part.” Brian said. “When you go to college too, it’s a struggle for a lot of people to find a group, just friends and people to hang out with that you have an interest with, when it just pushes you there- inside. So that prepares you for all this four-year experience.

Music has always been a part of the Stukey’s life growing up. Parents were involved in the church choir and the Croswell Opera House, and their friends were also into music

“It’s just that he’s always been there. It was an ongoing thing, ”said Brian. “… So a lot of what we were doing revolved around music in one way or another and then obviously influenced us to either be involved in the music or to enjoy what we were listening to and what we could see what was being played. “

Nick entered the group with his trumpet playing in 2020 but was sidelined for a year due to the pandemic. The competition was tough, but Nick is one of 56 trumpets in the 300-strong group.

He caught the music bug early in his life, just like David and Brian.

“I guess the way I refer to it is that I was sort of surrounded by it. It was just the culture of the family, you know; go to a soccer game. Obviously, there is a football match, but we watch the group for the pre-match or the half-time and especially with my father and my grandfather and my uncle having made friends in the group and connections then I got used to being with family friends who were all connected to the group, ”Nick said.

He chose the trumpet as his grandfather’s companion rather than as the third percussionist of the family. He also appreciates the friendships he has made in the group. He plans to become a squad or section leader to give back to the group what he has received.

“It’s just a great experience. You meet people, and it’s a unique experience and you help facilitate that growth, ”said Nick.

In the summer Nick will live with his grandparents while he works as a painter to Adrian. He will then focus on playing in the City Band. His family will be watching him from home today. Nick follows in the footsteps of his grandfather, father and uncle, and will become a teacher. He chose English as his subject.

He’s totally focused on the performance aspect of his Peach Bowl experience today.

“I would say I’m just anxious. I’m just very focused on performance. It always comes first in my mind, rather than being excited. I know it’s part of the experience people want, ”Nick said. “But I want to make sure I’m really in a performance mindset. I just want to represent the group well in Atlanta.

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