Hello, my name is Geralda Ame’ Tunstall and I’m a proud alumnus of Eastern Michigan University. For the last 15 years, I have worked for the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. As a mom and wife, it can be challenging keeping up with college friends, but serving as a member of EMU’s Alumni Board of Directors and reconnecting with friends on Facebook and at homecoming has given me a fresh perspective on life.
During my first three years at Eastern Michigan University, I marched with the Eastern Michigan University Marching Band, played in a concert band, and was a member of the Basketball Pep-Band. I was also an active member of Tau Beta Sigma, an honorary band sorority. Since I’ve graduated, I have attended various events, mostly hosted by the EMU Band. I’ve also participated in two alumni concerts at Pease Auditorium and a few events hosted by Kappa Kappa Psi. Facebook is a lot of things, but it has been a way for me to remain connected with friends from all walks of life.
In April of this year, a dear friend of mine and an alumnus of Eastern and the EMU Marching Band was tragically killed in an automobile accident involving a drunk driver. Getting older is tough! I attended the family hour of my dear friend, Christen Knight in April. At this viewing, I reconnected with other members of the EMU Marching Band. We had dinner and talked about how much we loved our dear friend and that we missed this big part of our lives. I realized that I didn’t want the next time I saw my friends be in this type of setting. This inspired me to create a group on Facebook named EMU Band Reunion. This small idea blew up quite quickly.
To date, there are 689 members! We immediately began to share photos and stories online. Keep in mind that when I was in the band, we didn’t have smartphones with cameras, so a lot of us relied on polaroid photos. We instantly started to make plans on how we could see each other again. We knew that the homecoming game was coming and we started making plans to attend. The EMU music department, Tau Beta Sigma, and Kappa Kappa Psi jumped into planning and holding meetings. This year was the 100th homecoming for Eastern and the plan was to create the largest alumni marching band to perform at the big game. I believe we had over 100 Alumni this year!
The homecoming event was phenomenal. The EMU Marching Band gave us the warmest welcome. This year, the band was able to bring back Dr. David Woike and Dr. Max Plank, very important and essential individuals to the EMU Marching Band and music program.
The EMU Marching band welcomed the alumni from the tunnel and surrounded us with a welcoming line as they applauded us for being there. It was AMAZING! The field was a completely different color from what I remember, but it still reminded me of what football fields are meant for — MARCHING BANDS!
Being on campus felt like home. Marching even briefly with the marching band at pregame and halftime was muscle memory. I hadn’t played in years, but the second that saxophone hit my lips, it was like riding a bike. Being with my fellow alumni was like being at a family reunion. This homecoming was truly a coming HOME!
About the Writer
Geralda Ame’ Tunstall (maiden, Battle) is an Eastern Michigan University graduate of Fall 2004 with a bachelor of science in psychology and a minor in music. She is a proud wife and mother to an 18-year-old son.