The St. Patrick’s Festival in Dublin has traditionally played host to a variety of marching bands with diverse backgrounds. The Colorado School of Mines, however, may be one of the most unusual. The school consists entirely of engineering students.
“We have a very nontraditional music program here,” explains Dr. Robert Klimek, the School of Mines’ director of bands.
The band started more than 50 years ago as a program meant to be a relaxation tool for its students. Its iconic uniform—a flannel shirt complemented by a hard hat, jeans and boots—originated from the school’s primary area of focus. Over the past several decades, however, the program has evolved.
Klimek notes that he does not want to perform Irish music in the St. Patrick’s parade, instead opting to bring a piece of the United States to the parade.
“We decided to choose music that speaks more to the United States being there,” he says. “We want to give them something that really says who we are. We’re looking through music that’s more deeply rooted in the United States, from the United States.”