University of Delaware
Office of Public Relations
The Messenger
Vol. 5, No. 1/1995
Pride of Delaware moves to new beat

     When UD's Marching Band took to the field this fall, it
marked the 50th anniversary of the "Pride of Delaware." The band
began its second half-century by marching to a new beat-one led
by its first-ever female director.
     Heidi Sarver, 31, took up the baton this fall, becoming one
of only a handful of women college or university band directors
in the nation. The College Band Directors' National Association
in Texas estimates that, while 50 percent of all middle school
marching band directors are women and 30 percent of high school
marching band directors are women, the number falls to 10 percent
at the university and college level.
     Sarver is only the fifth Marching Band director at the
University. Her predecessors include the late J. Robert King,
David P. Blackinton, Robert J. Streckfuss and Alan D. Hamant. She
was selected after a national search this spring and officially
assumed her new title Sept. 1.
     Fresh from her position as assistant director of bands at
Temple University, Sarver, whose instrument is trumpet, bubbles
with enthusiasm about the UD band.
     "Everything is even better than I anticipated," she said
early in the semester. "The kids are wonderful. They've come
farther in one month than I anticipated they would come all
season. They are very receptive to the program that Jim [James
Ancona, new assistant director] and I have. They really enjoy
performing and understand that they are putting on a show."
     To get the Pride of Delaware in shape, Sarver held intensive
band camp two and a half days before classes started and over
Labor Day weekend.
     "We basically started when the sun came up and stopped when
the sun went down. We worked from 8:30 in the morning until 10:30
at night."
     The hard work paid off. When the band took to the field for
the first time Sept. 9, it was received by a roaring,
appreciative crowd.
     Sarver is an experienced drill writer who over the past nine
years has continued to put together many half-time pieces for the
marching band of the University of Massachusetts, where she was a
graduate assistant in trumpet. She also has designed drills for
Temple's Diamond Marching Band and for many high school bands.
     "When I was at U. Mass, we loved traveling to Delaware," she
recalls. "In Delaware, football is a whole-day experience and the
audience is always great."
     Close friends, she said, can tell when she has designed a
show, although she's not sure what gives it her signature. "Every
drill writer is unique. It's a very personal, creative thing,"
she explains.
     Ironically, Sarver was not a drum major in her high school
     "I was the typical trumpet player who had solos, and the
band director would always say he needed me in the field," she
explains. Although she has known since ninth grade that she
wanted to be a marching band director some day, she didn't work
as a drum major until graduate school at U. Mass.
                                               -Beth Thomas