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Get To Know The Blue Band-Turned-My Hero Zero Drummer

Penn State alumnus and Blue Band veteran Ethan Stewart made his My Hero Zero debut during THON when he was introduced during the band’s performance.

He joined the popular State College bar band recently thanks to some connections within Penn State’s music department after the band’s lead singer, Jason O., reached out to Marko Marcinko, the School of Music’s director of jazz studies, looking for a drummer. Marcinko gave him Stewart’s name, and before he knew it, he was auditioning for the job.

As a former member of the Blue Band’s drum line, Stewart is no stranger to playing at State College’s biggest venues. Although he’s traded Beaver Stadium’s stands for stages at the Phyrst, Champs, and the Bryce Jordan Center, not much has really changed for him.

“As long I’m behind a drum or a drum kit I just get really happy, and nothing else in that moment matters except playing the music,” he said.

Stewart’s passion for music has existed since he was very young. At a young age, he was introduced to it by his father was also a drummer and has had a big influence on his taste in music. That early start led him to join the Blue Band in college.

Now that his time playing “Fight On, State” is up, Stewart can’t help but be thankful for the experience alongside his bandmates and where it’s taken him.

“Whether it was on our practice field or in Beaver Stadium, every time I put on my drum I was always having fun,” he said. “And when I’d march out onto the field and hear the screams of over 100,000 people cheering us on, I’d get a sense of absolute euphoria.

“I formed some of the closest relationships I’ve ever had in my entire life. I truly think of every single member of that band as my family.”

While the music he’s playing now may differ a bit from the gameday classics, one lesson he’s seen carry over is being aware of his bandmates. That’s a lot easier when you’re playing alongside four other musicians and not as part of a 300-person marching band.

“When you can pick out certain figures, phrases, and patterns that other instrumentalists are playing, it makes you a much better musician,” he said.

As a way to broaden his musical horizons, Stewart says he plans to try his hand at singing in future performances. In addition to testing out the vocal water, Stewart said that MHZ is working on some brand-new music to release, and the band will be performing in several beach areas throughout the summer. Some of these places include Dewey Beach, Rehoboth Beach, Ocean City, Sea Isle City, Atlantic City, and Long Beach Island.

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About the Author

Richard Smeltzer

Richard is a junior majoring in applied statistics at Penn State. He is originally from York, Pennsylvania, and spent his first two years of college at Penn State York. Being from a family filled with Penn State alumni, he has been deeply ingrained in the culture. Growing up a Baltimore Orioles and Miami Dolphins fan, he has experienced many hardships throughout his life. You can find him screaming into the void about these teams, and much more, on Twitter @SecretRichardS.

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