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UNC student, Alicia Lentz, dies Wednesday

Pride of the Rockies members recall bandmate as ‘peppy’

By Kristen Martin
On September 16, 2011

  • Alicia Lentz. Courtesy of Alicia Lentz’s Facebook page

Alicia Lentz, a junior ecology and evolutionary biology major at UNC, died Wednesday, Swedish Medical Center in Denver confirmed.

The cause of death was reportedly a brain aneurysm. This marks the second school-year death at the University of Northern Colorado in the past five months.

Lentz played the mellophone in the Pride of the Rockies and the French horn in the inside band. She marched on Saturday at the UNC-Colorado State football game.

The UNC Colorado's Pride of the Rockies marching band horn section concluded their Thursday practice with a rendition of their "horn hug" in memory of Lentz.

University Bands Director Kenneth Singleton said Lentz wanted to teach at the college level and had oceanic interests.

"She was tending toward marine biology," Singleton said. "She could see doing a lot of field work and stuff and down the line getting a Ph.D. and teaching college."

Lentz was also a member of UNC's chapter of Kappa Kappa Psi, the national honors band fraternity.

Chane Smith, the Kappa Kappa Psi president and a senior music education major, said he knew Lentz for three years.

 "Alicia had the positive energy, love, dedication and the constant urge to strive for the highest, and she brought that to every person she met," Smith said.

Tentative plans are being made for the musicians to wear red carnations during the homecoming game on Sept. 24 and to play "Amazing Grace" during halftime at the football game.

In the instrument storage room of the Jackson Field Sports Complex, grief-stricken members of the horn section embraced each other in support of the loss of their friend and fellow horn player.

"She's the heartbeat of our section," said Stephanie Brauns, a senior music business major.

Brauns also said Lentz had a lot of energy at all hours of the day.

"Even at 5:15 in the morning she was peppy," Brauns said with a laugh. "Annoyingly peppy."

Mellophone section leader, Kelsie McCallum, a junior music education major, said she knew Lentz for three years.

"She was the first person I met at college," said a tearful McCallum. "She was the most upbeat, positive and encouraging person. She had the biggest heart."

UNC's bands were addressed Thursday before practice about the death, and Singleton said the loss has brought the marching band members closer together.

"She's a go-getter and she wants people to do the best they can do," said Dick Mayne, a music professor and associate director of Bands at UNC. She doesn't just sit back and wait; she challenges you in a good way. I think (the band) is dealing with it very well. The leadership in the band is so strong, and in Kappa Kappa Psi, she was an officer. They're very positive and taking it straight on. Nobody is moping around. They know that if she were here, she would want us going out there and working."

McCallum said the horn section will honor the memory of Lentz by partaking in dress-up days as well as continuing with the horn hug.

The horn hug starts off with a line of horn players, half facing one direction and the other half facing the opposite way with a person in the center. Then they run in a circle until each person has come in contact with the center person, thus creating one huge hug.

"We will also be creating a scrapbook in her memory," McCallum said.

Singleton said there will also be working on creating scholarships and other works in memory of Lentz.

"We want to make sure that in 15 years, somebody comes by and they'll say, ‘Who is this Alicia person? Who is this?' because of all of this stuff that has her name on it," Singleton said.

Members of Kappa Kappa Psi will also be hosting a private memorial for fraternity members, band members and the Lentz family next week.

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