Scholarship will honor band member Eric Humphrey’s life
Most students only recall disappointment from the football game on Oct. 2 between University of Oregon and University of Arizona. But the game wasn’t a loss for UO Marching Band members.
It was a special game for each of them. It was a tribute.
During their routine to open the game, one spot on the 45-yard line was left open. The spot belonged to a former player. He was the trumpet section leader, a member of Yellow Garter Band, Oregon Basketball Band and Band Council.
“He was a popular guy because he’s very friendly and had a great personality,” said Ben Neal, a member of the marching band who played side-by-side with Humphrey last year. “He had a great impact on the marching band in general.”
The popular and genuinely friendly Duck was dedicated to the band since 2010, Eric Humphrey lost his two-and-a-half year battle to bone cancer on June 30, 2014, at the age of 22.
“Eric was an incredible person,” said Anna Waite, the administrative coordinator of Athletic Bands. “He was everyone’s friend and he let them know he would always be there for them.”
Humphrey was not just a trumpet section leader – he was an inspiration to his band mates during his time playing for the Oregon Athletes Band.
“I didn’t even know he had cancer initially when I met him because to me he was very positive and bright,” Neal said. “It’s sad and tragic that a guy like him would have cancer especially being as young as he was.”
The band was nothing but support and a source of love to Humphrey during his hardships. Some members shaved their heads; others wore T-shirts and wristbands saying “I love my Eric;” everyone opened up their arms to Humphrey.
His battle ended, but his legacy lives on with the band.
“Because he is still a member of the marching band who we all missed,” Neal said.
On the Oregon Marching Band website, the banner reads “Remembering Eric Humphrey” with a picture of him passionately playing the trumpet. The page dedicated to Humphrey’s journey at UO was written by one of his band mates who was close to Humphrey, Waite said.
“Ultimately it’s just very sad that Eric had to move on because of cancer, but it was also very inspiring because even with how much he was dealing with he was still able to be positive and happy and be a great leader for the band and people in general,” Neal said. “He set a very good example for everyone else in the marching band.”
In order to keep his spirit alive in the band, the Humphrey family decided to create an endowment in his honor and donated $2,000 to award a scholarship for a student in the School of Music and Dance this upcoming winter.
“So far, the foundation has received $45,000 toward the endowment from generous donors,” Bob Darrah, the director of development at the School of Music and Dance, said. “The scholarship will be an $1,800 award to one student within the Oregon Athletic Bands.”
You can find more about Humphrey or donate in his honor here.
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