MEET THE VOICE OF TEMPLE’S DIAMOND MARCHING BAND
By Jacqueline G. Goodwin, Ed.D. • Photos by Danielle Debley and Jeremy Weber
Ladies and Gentlemen…the Pride of the Cherry and White…the Temple University Diamond Band!”says the deep bass voice to thousands of football fans in attendance at Lincoln Financial Field. Soon Temple’s Diamond Marching Band appears, giving attendees another riveting halftime show. Not surprising, the crowd goes wild.
Founded in 1925, and directed by Dr. Matthew Brunner, it is a group consisting of student musicians and dancers.
No Temple home football game is complete without the sounds of the University’s Diamond Marching Band. And with the band comes the booming voice of David Payne. While most fans can easily recognize Payne’s distinct voice, few actually know the face behind it.
Payne was born and raised in Philadelphia. “I first served as announcer for the Temple University Diamond Band during my senior year in the fall of 1984. After I graduated from Temple University in 1985 with a degree in communications, I moved to Harrisburg to take a job with Radio WKBO,” says Payne. “After working in Delaware for five years, I returned to Harrisburg where I’ve lived ever since.
After graduation I was invited to return as announcer for the band on several occasions, including during Homecoming and for some away games when the regular announcer was unable to travel. Prior to the 2002 season, I was offered the announcer’s job full time, which means this fall will officially mark my 18th season as announcer, even though my history with the Diamond Band goes back much farther.
“I never actually played in the band, but as a student I was friends with several members, including one I had known since high school.”
The band performs at all Temple Owls home football games and usually one road game each season. The band also performs in exhibition at high school tournaments, as well as an annual indoor concert on the Temple campus.
In 2017, Temple team made history by beating Navy 34-10, claiming their first American Athletic Conference Championship title. Arm chair quarterbacks were thrilled. The team had no shortcomings when it came to game-time performance. Temple won six games at home and another four on the road finishing the regular season with a 10-3 record. While the team’s success was due to their stout defense and exhilarating offensive capability, many say another part of its success was the unwavering support coming from the Diamond Marching Band.
“The band performs a different show each week,” says Payne. “Dr. Brunner sends me the song list and it’s my job to write a script introducing each selection. Each performance features a particular theme, such as favorite songs of the summer, or all music by the same artist. In recent years the music of Imagine Dragons, Ed Sheeran, Lady Gaga, and Walk the Moon have been crowd favorites and have some have even earned praise for the band via social media from the artists themselves.”
During one of the home games against the University of Southern Florida, Payne says the band marched on the field and delivered a rendition of multiple Panic! at the Disco songs. The recording of their performance has since received over 500,000 views on YouTube and recognition from Panic! at the Disco themselves on Twitter.
One of Payne’s all-time favorite halftime shows was when the band performed music from Star Wars. “I loved imitating Darth Vader and using famous lines from the movie,” he says.
“I’ve also been very fortunate to travel with the band in recent years, including last December to the Independence Bowl in Shreveport, Louisiana. Other band trips have included Boca Raton and St. Petersburg Florida, Annapolis, Maryland, South Bend, Indiana, and Albuquerque, New Mexico.”
Payne currently works as a reporter and news anchor for the Radio Pennsylvania Network. “I’m also an on-air announcer for the Pennsylvania Lottery, a job I’ve had since 2014,” he says.
He is also involved in local theater. “At the moment, I’m in a production of Ragtime at Open Stage of Harrisburg,” Payne says. “I’ve also performed in various roles at Theater Harrisburg, Allenberry, the Belmont Theater in York, and Penowl Productions, where each year local playwright Dr. Dorothy King composes an original play to celebrate the Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday.
“To actually have a role and to be a part of the experience people get when they attend a game and hear the Diamond Marching Band is really a thrill for me,” says Payne.
“Serving as announcer for the Diamond Band is, quite simply, one of the most enjoyable things I do during the year,” says Payne. “I absolutely love meeting and interacting with the band students and marvel at their talent and dedication both on and off the field. It’s also a job that I never take for granted,” he adds.
“There have been five band directors during my tenure, and each could have hired someone else. They have all decided to keep me on, something for which I am extremely grateful.”