More than a dozen past and present members of the Siena College pep band played at Saratoga on the most important day of the summer.
There's nothing like Travers Day at the Saratoga Race Course. The mid-summer derby attracts 50,000 fans, not to mention the millions watching the national broadcast. Chris Farrell '08 grew up with the mystique of Saratoga, particularly Travers Day. That's what made this year's Travers a day he'll treasure forever.
"My father was a professional musician, and he always used to play at the track. I grew up watching bands play there and I always wished I could be in one of them."
On August 27, he got his dream shot. The New York Racing Association asked the Siena College Pep Band to perform from the infield on Travers Day. Farrell, the director of the band, assembled 15 Siena musicians, including six alumni, on campus the morning of the Travers. They practiced for two hours, settled on a set list, the made their way up the Northway.
The band played for six minutes between the second and third races and again between races three and four. Their admission was free, and after their performance, they got to enjoy the races (including Epicenter's impressive win in the Travers).
"Their were some very generous alumni who bought the students in the band lunch. It was such a kind gesture, said Farrell. "For me, the experience was AMAZING. I got to live out a dream of mine!"
"My favorite part of the day was just being able to walk across the track and take in the sheer size of the place. We were able to walk where the horses race, and that's something most people can't say they have done and it's something I will remember forever. Standing in the infield and looking out at how many people came to crowd the track to support us while we were playing was also a gratifying sight to see. I'd like to think we played to everyone's expectations and made the day more enjoyable for them!"
Alexander Dumas '24
"If I had to summarize everything in one word, it would be “proud.” I am so incredibly honored to do what I do at Siena College, and I am so proud of what has been accomplished over 15 years. The students have been amazing. It has been a privilege to teach and play with all of them, and plenty have turned into lifelong friendships. To get to share this experience with them was just simply amazing!"
Chris Farrell '08, director of the Siena College Pep Band