IUP's band is a recruiting tool that DU lacks.

by Face

Discuss this on Yuku

I was at a band competition yesterday - Tournament of Bands Chapter 13 Championships. In attendence were roughly seventeen bands from the Greater Alleghenny Mountains region of PA - from DuBois down to Johnstown, over towards Tyrone. These aren't the biggest schools, but there is most definitely a lot of talent in these areas.

Not only did IUP perform at the end of the show, they were the host for the entire affair. Students had the chance to walk around what has become a very nice campus, guided by members of the IUP marching band who were able to answer many questions and otherwise provide a personal connection with the students.

The real treat came when the IUP band lined up in the endzone and began to play a warm up. This is what can happen when an athletic department and a music school can combine to create something. The sound was full and vibrant and the looks on the faces of high schoolers in attendance were ones of awe.

I could describe the aesthetic excellence of the IUP marching band until you are sick of it; I won't do that. All that I will say is that if you are a high school musician in this part of the world, there is a rather excellent chance that you are in a marching band. To see IUPs band performing at such a high level - and for the message to be "Come here and you can be a part of THIS!" - is a message that Duquesne can not currently provide with any of their groups. It is a message that I, as a music teacher of some of these students, have a hard time overcoming. How do you argue with such a thing? How do I tell them that DU is going to be more worthwhile for them when they have visions of this band dancing through their minds?

Oh, and don't think that IUP limits themselves to regional performances. Three years ago, while on staff with a band that was to perfrom in USSBA championships in Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, I had the opportunity to see that same IUP band. This was for a national-level championship competition that included enormous bands from a range of hundreds of miles away hosted in an NFL stadium. I wonder how much positive PR that created? Given the standing ovation they received, I'd say plenty.

Was Duquesne Band ready for that at the point when they were disbanded? Surely not. But could they have been within several more years? Most certainly.

The bottom line is that Duquesne needs to wake up and realize that if they aren't proactive with this, they will soon appear to be standing still. St. Francis (PA) is in the process of starting a brand new band program. Their athletic department has set aggressive goals for numbers and has given their director the time and budget to do it right through the recruiting of high schoolers and the like. SFU is already planning on hosting a similar show once they are established. They don't even have a music program.

There is no bigger organization for PR or for school spirit than a band program. Who were the ones cheering in the gym during the 3-24 year? I was there; I know it wasn't the fans. I know it wasn't the student section, for there was none. It was the band.

The athletic department and music school each need to get over themselves and recognize that even if this isn't wholly under the roof of either, while it isn't the most aesthetically charming musical ensemble, this is NECESSARY to get the talented students whom should want to get. Because I KNOW Duquesne's program. It is superlative, but no one is going to know that in a vacuum. They must do something.

Anything else is lazy.