What it means to be a Marching Miner


Jasmin Campoya

The UTEP band performs and cheers on the UTEP football team from the stands, like Ashley Campos. From playing tunes like “Butter” by BTS to the Miners Fight Song, you will catch the band full of spirit at every game.

Alyson Rodriguez

No one on campus has more Miner spirit than the UTEP Marching Miners. They can be seen and heard at every UTEP event, whether it is a football game or a ceremony.  

The marching band is made up of various members from all walks of life who come together to celebrate UTEP by playing catchy tunes. The band is made up of individuals who are very dedicated to their art and spend countless hours rehearsing and practicing their instruments.  

The band consists of musicians who play woodwind, brass, percussion, the UTEP Diamonds color guard and the dance team. The members perform at all UTEP home football games, certain away games and exhibitions in the Southwest region. The team is a spirit leader of the community. 

Students who are in the marching band attend early morning practices and then their classes right after and some even work jobs to support their family or volunteer in their communities.  

Sophomore education major Rebeca Zarate, who plays the alto saxophone in the marching band, also works at her nearby grocery store. She is also a member of campus student organizations like UTEP CHAARG. 

“This is my first year in the UTEP marching band and so far, I am having a lot of fun,” Zarate said. “I just experienced my first football game being a band member and it was incredible. My favorite part about being a part of the UTEP marching band is making new friends and memories. It is a big commitment because we have practices on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 7:30 to 9:20 a.m. But being in band is a great way to get involved in school and have school spirit.” 

The UTEP Marching Miners have approximately 250 members, making it the largest music ensemble on campus. Each member has their own life and story.  

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  • Freshmen Kristan Isaacs plays her cymbals at the UTEP vs UNT football game on Aug. 27, adding color to the sound of the band.

  • Drum major Belanna Castillo conducts the band in front of a nearly sold out stadium. As being one of the leaders of the band, Castillo makes sure to watch the game and cue the band to play.

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Clara Calixtro is a sophomore majoring in kinesiology and has been a part of the UTEP marching band since her freshman year.  

“I play the baritone in the UTEP marching band, I joined because I have been playing since I was in middle school,” Calixtro said. “I really enjoy learning to play new music and the ambiance of it. When I was in high school, a lot of the UTEP band members would come and would tell us about all of the perks and they would invite us to the band nights. I really enjoyed going to the band nights and meeting new people there. Besides school, I dedicate the rest of my time to band.” 

Every member of the band plays an important role in spreading Miner spirit. Drum majors lead the band in playing music and spreading joy to the spectators, for example Belanna Castillo is a junior majoring in music education and she is one of the drum majors for the UTEP marching band.  

“I have been involved in band for almost 10 years, and in the UTEP band for 3 years,” Castillo said. “I love being involved in music. Being a drum major is more than just giving the time and waving around our hands and looking pretty, a lot of it is setting up the environment for the band and being the biggest support for the band.  

Every member dedicates a lot of time and energy into being part of the best marching band in the Southwest region. Each musician has their own lives and responsibilities, but they take the time to practice and rehearse in order to entertain the crowd and cheer on the UTEP community. 

Alyson Rodriguez is a staff reporter and may be reached at [email protected]; @alyson_rod1127 on Twitter.