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time Sam Bisaro DeLuca took the field as a clarinet player in the
University of Delaware Marching Band, she was right at home.
DeLuca, a 2010 graduate of the College of Arts and Sciences, fell in
love with campus on her first visit and had dreams of joining a college
marching band after seeing one perform in middle school, making UD’s
marching band and Department of Music a perfect fit for her academic
goals. Despite living in New York, her mother, Katie Bisaro bought
season tickets so she could see her daughter perform regularly during
the halftime show.
“There’s a picture they took at a game of Sam and the grin on her
face pretty much sums up her entire marching band career. She loved,
loved, loved marching band,” Bisaro said. “She loved what she was doing
and knew that her goal down the road was to lead a band herself one
Now band director at Newark Charter High School in Newark, Delaware,
DeLuca’s hard work and enthusiasm for music in college has paid off.
“Marching band was something I always looked forward to doing,”
DeLuca said. “I was a music education major, so music was my life on
campus, and then at the end of the day, I could go out onto the field
and bring the music to life there, too.”
Bisaro recalled her daughter — who had never participated in a
serious marching band before coming to UD — said her first week of
practice was more exhausting than any sport she had ever played. Later,
DeLuca continued to push herself, staying in marching band throughout
her time at UD, gaining experience directing and taking part in major
trips to Ireland and Washington, D.C.
Move this whole section up, swapping places with the section above it.
Not only was the opportunity to practice and perform music rewarding,
but the experience of being part of the marching band community was
important to DeLuca as well. This was in large part because of the
excellent leadership of Heidi Sarver and Jim Ancona, the longtime
director and assistant director, respectively, of the marching band. As
mentors and teachers, the two encouraged all students to push themselves
musically while also gaining skills around leadership, organization and
“Heidi and Jim knew I was passionate about the band,” said DeLuca,
who volunteered her time to help coordinate trips and manage students.
“I wanted it to be the best experience for all students. After my
freshman year experience of feeling so welcomed on the field, I wanted
it to be as welcoming for everyone else.”
As part of Homecoming celebrations in October, UD marching band
alumni joined together for a special celebration in honor of Sarver and
Ancona's 25th anniversary as directors. Marching band alumni from all
years were encouraged to attend the game on Oct. 26 as well as a
reception to recognize the two directors for their incredible leadership
and celebrate the marching band's proud history.
A special surprise of the day was the announcement of the Bisaros’
gift creating the Heidi I. Sarver and James P. Ancona Marching Band
Excellence Fund. The fund will provide discretionary support for the
marching band — so that students with a passion for music are able to
take part in the marching band by connecting them with the resources and
financial aid necessary to perform or travel.
Bisaro hopes the creation of the fund will inspire others who have a
meaningful connection to music. Her own passion of music — as well as
giving back to the arts — goes back to her own mother, who played piano,
danced and even decided to take up the cello at age 60.
Her mother, who has since passed, was thrilled to travel to UD to see
Sam play in the marching band, and that’s an opportunity Bisaro thinks
all students and families should have.
“Not every kid is going to go on to be a music teacher like Sam, but
that doesn’t mean that there shouldn’t be a marching band and that they
shouldn’t play in the marching band,” Bisaro said. “The arts are the
fabric of life.”
For more information and to support the fund, visit the Heidi I. Sarver and James P. Ancona Marching Band Excellence Fund site.