Maverick Machine ‘Bleeds Purple and Gold’

The Maverick Machine is a key part of the Minnesota State University, Mankato campus community. The band currently has 145 members and performs at football, basketball, and hockey games. 

“I joined the Mav Machine my freshman year at orientation. I loved marching in high school and I wanted to continue doing it when I got to college, and it’s been the best decision I’ve made since coming to MSU,” says junior Gabriella Sanchez, who acted as one of three drum majors for the band during the fall season. “It’s a blast, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything else.” 

The Machine rehearses twice a week during the fall semester, and once a week during the spring semester. Many members balance other activities and work with involvement in the band. 

“I’m in the wind ensemble, I’ve been in jazz and vocal groups but I’m not in those currently, I’m in the KSP program, and I am an undergraduate assistant for Dr. Roisum-Foley,” says Sanchez. 

In addition to her other commitments, Sanchez also manages the Maverick Machine’s Tiktok page. 

The Maverick Machine is open to all MSU Mankato students, regardless of previous marching band experience. 

“I have some visions of us continuing to be as accessible as possible to as many students as possible, and I think the style of what we do has a play in that,” says Maverick Machine director, Michael Thursby. “We don’t ever want to put a barrier in place where the music is too hard and it frustrates students and they feel like they can’t be a part of the group.”

Thursby has led MSU’s athletic bands since the program’s revitalization in 2013, which has grown from a 30 person pep band to a staple piece of Maverick pride. 

“President Davenport was spearheading a mission to bring more spirit to campus. One of the things that came out of that conversation was bringing back a marching band and a pep band. In the nine years that we’ve been here, we’ve figured out our niche,” says Thursby. 

Though not a music major, senior Nathaniel Fox has played in the Maverick Machine for the entirety of his time at MSU, and was a student leader in the fall 2021 ensemble

“Coming here, I knew of the marching band because both my parents were in it, so I gave it a try. Ever since, I’ve loved it,” said Fox. “It’s helped me develop as a tuba player and develop leadership capabilities.”

Thursby explained how each year is different for the Maverick Machine and how they always keep switching things up.

“Our program is about what the students want. At this time of year, we do a self-reflection to look at where we go next year. From year to year, depending on who the student leaders are in the group, the direction changes,” Thursby says. 

Applications to join the Maverick Machine for the 2022-23 academic year open today.

Write to Alexandra Tostrud at

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