Mav Machine brings Maverick pride abroad

The Maverick Machine will ring in the new year this winter break with a parade performance in Rome.

According to Michael Thursby,  director of the Mav Machine, the band was initially invited for the 2021 parade which was canceled due to COVID. 

“We’re the only college group that got invited to come and perform. It’s through downtown Rome, going past the Spanish steps, the Trevi fountain, and we get to go through the historical center of Rome,” said Thursby. 

The band last had the opportunity to travel on this scale in 2019 when their trip to Puerto Rico was shaken off course. 

“We had earthquakes–those were some of the most difficult situations to go through as a band director. I honestly feel like this is going to be easy compared to that. Traveling across seas presents its own challenges just because many students have not traveled over an ocean before,” Thursby said. 

The students will have the opportunity to see locations outside of the sites along the parade route, like the Roman Forum and Pompeii. 

“It’s a different feeling when you’re there. Everything is so much older, and you don’t think about it when you see it on TV, but when you’re there, it gives me goosebumps just thinking about it and having the parade be in that location, it’ll be very neat,” said Thursby. 

Junior Sophie Seegar has played with the band for her entire college experience and is one of the 42 students traveling to Rome. 

“I’m really into history, so I’m excited to see Pompeii and all those historical sites because they have a lot of meaning, and some of those buildings are crazy old, not like anything we have here,” Seegar said. 

Many members, like junior Emily Aldrich, are looking forward to the opportunity to play without the stressors that come with the academic semester. 

“Because we’ll be on break, it’ll be a nice time to just do band and be able to play trombone in a place I’ve never been before and perform for people,” Aldrich said. 

While some students have never traveled overseas, sophomore Max Shannon traveled internationally with his high school band and testified that experiences abroad are better with a band. 

“Traveling abroad with a band is like traveling abroad with fifty of your closest friends. It’s way more fun since you know your entire group,” Shannon said. 

Thursby hopes that students will learn from being surrounded by history. 

“It puts things in a different perspective for you. Specifically, for us as an athletic band, going to see the coliseum, one of the oldest stadiums in the world, isa type of experience that is hard to put into words,” said Thursby. 

The band will perform familiar tunes for spectators during the parade on New Year’s Day.

“The majority of the music is normal, go-to pep band tunes. We’ll play the MSU rouser to represent our university internationally as best we can,” Thursby said. 

Since the Mav Machine is an athletic band, their style is unlike marching bands in Europe. 

“We’re going to be very different from any other group that’s there. We are the Maverick Machine. We are our own energy, our own vibe, and being able to share that with them in Rome I think is going to be really fun,” Thursby said. 

Now that the band is fast approaching its 10th anniversary, Thursby hopes to secure more experiences like this for the program in the future. 

“I didn’t do it when I was an undergraduate. I had opportunities to travel internationally and I didn’t take them. I want to make sure that I give those opportunities to our students as much as I possibly can,” Thursby said. 

The Mav Machine will fly out Dec. 27 and will return Jan. 3.

Header photo: The Maverick Machine will be marching through Rome over winter break, an experience that was delayed because of the COVID-19 pandemic. (Lilly Anderson/The Reporter)

Write to Alexandra Tostrud at

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