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The Heritage High School marching band from Palm Bay, has become the newest member adopted into the Florida Tech family.

This season, the band started playing throughout entire football games instead of just performing a halftime show.

“You just can’t have a football game without a marching band,” said  Brandon Jenkins, Heritage High’s band’s music director. “We look for opportunities to play for crowds like that.”

Once Heritage began playing from the stands, they started being heckled by Florida Tech fans.

“What has been the confusion is that you have your Florida Tech colors, maroon and white, and then you have us, who are in royal blue and black. We look like somebody who’s not Florida Tech and so these people see us and they think ‘this is the away band,’” said Jenkins.

During the Sep. 19 game, Jenkins moved his band to the visitor’s sideline as a direct result from this heckling. Jenkins said that if the band would be able to get some Florida Tech shirts or ball caps in order to look like a Florida Tech band, they would immediately move back to the home sideline.

The band started playing halftime shows during  Florida Tech home football games last year after Athletic Director Bill Jurgens reached out to their program. Jenkins took the opportunity to introduce his 113 marching band students to a collegiate atmosphere.

Jenkins was brought into Heritage to help rebuild the high school program, and has been teaching for about 6 years.

Jenkins said that when Jurgens came to him about playing for football games, he was quick to accept the offer, not only to help out Florida Tech but also to help his students and drive them to go to college.

The band currently practices three hours each day, Monday through Friday and puts in extra work on the weekends when they aren’t playing.

They regularly play at local parades and celebrations in Melbourne and Palm Bay, including the Puerto Rican Day parade, local Christmas parades, and the MLK celebration.   

Along with continued to performances at football games, Jenkins is looking to get the Heritage program even more integrated with Florida Tech events in the future. He said he wants to start participating at events on campus on a year-round basis.

“We want to do more. We want to possibly get at anything that might be going on at campus and in the music department,” said Jenkins.

Jenkins discussed some other ideas like doing a dual concert with the Florida Tech and Heritage wind ensembles or jazz bands. He said he has also spoken to Jurgens about his interest in hosting a summer band camp on the Florida Tech campus.

Jenkins has attended some performances at Florida tech and has noted improvements in the music program here. He said he was impressed by the level of musicianship that could be found on campus.

“When you’re at a school where you have engineering and technology going on, those are some smart people,” said Jenkins. “You’re dealing with smart students and smart students typically are successful in music.”

Jenkins went to college in his hometown and knows the benefits of staying local for college. He wants to make sure his students are aware of their opportunities.

“Heritage is not an engineering school or a technology-based school. I have students who want to be engineers,” Jensen said. “I want to help build that program to give my students a reason to be okay going to Florida Tech.”