PITTSBURG, Kans. — While some Pitt State students are starting to return to town, others are getting ready to return to the field. We’re not talking about football though. We’re talking about the Pride of the Plains Marching Band — and whether it’s the field or the stands, they’re going to make their presence heard.

This year means a lot to the band, while it’s the beginning for many new members including the band director, it’s also about continuing the legacy of those who came before them.

“It’s one of the most important things. We come together for the first time, there’s a bunch of new people coming in and people who have been here for years,” said Andrew Chybowski, Interim Band Director.

It’s Band Camp season at Pittsburg State University. Since Monday, the 160 members of the Pride of the Plains have been practicing the drills they need to welcome people to the jungle.

“It’s something that I always look forward to, even at the beginning of the summer. I just can’t wait for band camp, even with my friends it’s the same way,” said Alejandra Cornelio, PSU Senior.

A new face is leading the performers through the upcoming season — PSU Assistant Professor Andrew Chybowski.

“I directed wind ensemble, which I’ve been doing for the past five years. I’ve been here in other capacities so we actually know each other pretty well. Today we’re doing some marching, some playing, some putting the show together, marching, and playing,” said Chybowski.

And carrying on the legacy of the band director who came before him, Doug Whitton, who passed away earlier this summer.

“We’re kind of coming together to do our best and pay tribute and honor his legacy,” added Chybowski.

“It’s hard without Doug, but someone like Chybowski stepping in, and he’s familiar with our traditions, he’s just aware of everything, it’s still just as good,” added Cornelio.

As the Pittsburg community prepares to pack Carnie Smith Stadium, band members are making sure they bring the energy.

“The first game’s always exciting, we get to do Gorilla Walk, we get to be as loud as we can, be as excited as we can, we try to get everyone in the crowd pumped up,” said Cornelio.

“I think we’ll be ready, I think we’ll always be a little nervous during that first game but also very excited and very much looking forward to it,” said Chybowski.

Everyone will be able to see the Pride of the Plains when football season starts. That’s going to be September 1st at Carnie Smith Stadium.