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A musical homecoming
Marching 110 director celebrates homecoming at the Mobile GMAC Bowl

Jan. 4, 2007
By Elizabeth Boyle

For Richard Suk, director of Ohio University's prestigious Marching 110, the Jan. 7 GMAC Bowl won't be about football alone -- or sheet music or marching patterns for that matter. He will be celebrating homecoming. 

Photos by Rick FaticaSuk, who was born and raised in Mobile, Ala., will arrive with the more than 200-member band in tow on Friday, Jan. 5, for a tour of his hometown leading up to the bowl game. 

One of the first stops for the group will be McGill-Toolen Catholic High School, which Suk attended and where he later taught and directed the band. Suk taught in Mississippi and Alabama schools for 10 years before moving to the university level. He and the band will have dinner at the school's cafeteria on Friday night. 

Jim Knight, McGill-Toolen's band director, is excited about the opportunities the band will bring for his students. The Marching 110 has earned the name "the most exciting band in the land" for its high energy performances that combine precision dance routines with excellent musicianship. It also has a resume filled with performances such as the 2000 and 2005 Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City and will lend energy to each of the engagements it's signed up for during its three-day visit. 

"The style of the Marching 110 is so much different from what we see in this part of the world, the kids will probably enjoy seeing that," he says. 

Knight was working as a judge in a band competition when he first met Suk and judged the performance of the high school band he was directing at the time. He praises him for his ability to work with young people by giving them opportunities to take leadership roles. 

"I had a feeling he was not going to stay in the high school ranks for long," he says, explaining that Suk's former teachers also are excited about his return. "They're just tickled to death." 

Photos by Rick FaticaSuk, who became director in 1996, also will have a second homecoming of sorts. He received bachelor of music education and master of education degrees from the University of Southern Mississippi, Ohio's opponent for the bowl game. (He received his doctorate in music education from The University of Illinois.) 

In addition to playing at the game, the band will tour and have lunch on the U.S.S. Alabama, march in the Greer's Food Tiger Mardi Gras Parade and play in a pre-game pep rally. 

"I've always wanted to show off the band down there and I finally get the opportunity," Suk says.

Elizabeth Boyle is a writer with University Communications and Marketing.


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Published: Jul 20, 2006 3:50:00 PM
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