SAU Band Marching Toward ‘Perfect Size’
The SAU Band is growing by leaps and bounds and will not only expand its rehearsal room in 2019, but fill its own residence hall.
J.P. Wilson, director of bands and assistant professor of music, said the size and quality of the band attracts dozens of new applications each day. The Magale Rehearsal Room, located in the Richard O. Oliver Band Hall, will expand to 5,824 square feet to provide extra storage and practice space.
The band now has 143 students, an all-time high that Wilson hopes to grow next year by at least 20 students. “I always felt that a band with 160 members would be the perfect size for SAU,” Wilson said. “We are knocking on that door.”
Thanks to an agreement with SAU Housing, band members will reside exclusively in Fincher Hall beginning in fall 2019. “That is huge for us,” Wilson said. “It’s fantastic for security and peace of mind. I’ll know where my kids are at all times. I’m tickled that Housing has worked with us and given us this opportunity.”
“We are very excited that the band is a part of our campus living-learning community,” Sandra Martin, dean of housing at SAU, said. “So many of our band members are involved in campus living, and we are happy to provide them a centralized residence hall to foster community and relationship growth among members.”
The band is also hiring an assistant director of athletic bands. The position will teach high brass full-time and help run the football and basketball pep band programs. Wilson said he will still be involved with those programs, but will be able to spend more time on the road recruiting.
“It means so much to a kid when we actually come to their school,” he said. “It means we care. I plan to be able to visit four to eight high schools each week beginning next fall.”
In a single hour, Wilson can receive more than 30 new band applications. “More high school band directors are advocating for our program,” he said. “We’ll have a full-time high brass teacher. We have a visible marching band and a good concert group. We’ve shown that we really have something to offer and have established a solid program.”