Study Break at the President’s Picnic

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Every October, Florida Tech hosts the President’s Picnic, an event for students, faculty, and their families. There’s free food, games, and live entertainment—always a good time to take a study break. I have never been able to go until this year, but the concert band was invited to perform a song with the president’s faculty band, TWITCHY, so I found myself there in the middle of the day right when the crowds were largest–and wow was I surprised at how many people there were! I am not sure what I was expecting, but I was quite impressed with the multiple choices of food stands (all free!), games for kids and adults alike, and the fantastic music!

TWITCHY plays live music for the audience at the President’s Picnic.

TWITCHY plays live music for the audience at the President’s Picnic.

I arrived around 1pm and was able to listen to TWITCHY for a bit (if you’ve never heard them, they do some really good jazz!). To show you what a diverse, talented group they are, the list of members is below.

  1. Dr. Jamie Younkin, tenor sax and trumpet—our own concert band director and Florida Tech’s Music Program Chair
  2. Dr. Anthony Catanese, drums—President and CEO of Florida Tech
  3. Capt. Winston Scott, trumpet—Senior Vice President for External Relations and Economic Development Economic Development and shuttle astronaut
  4. Dr. Alan Rosiene, keyboard—Associate Head School of Arts and Communication
  5. Dr. Tom Waite, bass—Department Head Marine and Environmental Systems
  6. Dr. Kevin Johnson, vocals and guitar—Associate Professor Marine and Environmental Systems
  7. Dr. Ivica Kostanic, guitar and vocals—Associate Professor Electrical and Computer Engineering
  8. Dr. Susan Earles, vocals—Associate Professor Electrical and Computer Engineering
  9. Ms. Stevie Pursell, vocals—Senior Alumni Engagement Officer
  10. Dr. Andy Stanfield, guitar and bass— Assistant Vice President for Institutional Compliance and Director of the Center for Teaching and Learning Excellence
Audience members participate in the Cake Walk for a chance to win a gift certificate.

Audience members participate in the Cake Walk for a chance to win a gift certificate.

After TWITCHY took a break, we [the concert band]got our instruments out. But first the Cake Walk! This was a game like musical chairs, except involving numbered plates on the ground instead of chairs. The music would play and everyone would dance around, but when the music stopped, each would pick up the plate closest to them. The announcer would say the winning number, and whoever had it, would receive a gift certificate for a cake. People were having quite a bit of fun with this one!

Members of Florida Tech’s concert band prepare to play at the President’s Picnic.

Members of Florida Tech’s concert band prepare to play at the President’s Picnic.

President Catanese prepares to play the drums for “Zoot Suit Riot.”

President Catanese prepares to play the drums for “Zoot Suit Riot.”

Then we prepared to play “Zoot Suit Riot” by the Cherry Poppin’ Daddies, setting up right in front of TWITCHY under the Pantherium. It was pretty fun, and my first real performance on the oboe, so despite only having practiced with TWITCHY twice, it turned out really well. Thanks guys for inviting us to perform with you!

Overall, the President’s Picnic turned out to be a great study break, even if it’s still a bit hot here in Florida right now. Our performance went well, there was free food, and we were having quite a bit of fun dancing around to TWITCHY’s music on the lawn. What more could a college student (realistically) ask for, besides a homework-free weekend, that is?

 

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