State of the Bands Report

The iPads are coming! The iPads are coming! That’s right, we just got word from our friends in Athletics that they are able to fund the initiative on an ongoing basis. Needless to say, the College’s tech team is scrambling to get the first set of sixty up and running in time to issue to the Marching Band leadership team for camp in August. Rose and Jan are racking their brains to devise an inventory management system, and Tony and Doug are freaking out a bit as they reinvent their arranging and drill writing work flows. You can join in the fun too if you will be in Lincoln this month (July). We will be scheduling a day to bring folks together to help unpack the iPads and fit them into their Lifeproof cases. We are working on the principle that many hands will make light work. We’ll send an email blast once we have a date set.

If you remember last year’s report and the wish for a super lyre to hold the iPads, that has become a reality in the last year as well. That’s not to discourage any inventive souls from continuing to tinker. The first version is rather cumbersome but a step in the right direction. The bandwidth issue in Westbrook persists but will not prevent us from getting the most out of the new equipment. It will mean that the students have to be on the ball in terms of preparing for rehearsals in advance, but they should be doing that anyway.

Once again, thanks to our fantastic partners in the Athletic Department, we’re ahead of the game with regard to scheduling. The CMB is excited for you all to join us for the reunion game on September 3, and the band will be headed to Evanston for the September 24 game vs. Northwestern. When we hit the road, the Band’s trailer will be sporting a new wrap with graphics designed by UNL’s communications division. Keep an eye out for the media campaign that will unveil the new look and go behind the scenes on the design and installation process. Also, if it happens to be raining the Band will have the benefit of new insulated raincoats. It took some time to get dye lots that matched the uniform trousers, but we are finally good to go and the new coats should arrive next month.

In other news, the Wind Ensemble performed at the College Band Directors National Association Conference in Ames, Iowa last February garnering rave reviews. The concert featured the world premiere of a new composition by Kimberly Archer: Common Threads. The piece was a hit and it came to life thanks to you. The lion’s share of the funding for the project came from the BAA and the Lentz Fund, each supported by donations from our generous alumni. If you would like to hear the webcast of our second performance of the work, go to the Glenn Korff School of Music’s YouTube channel: Glenn Korff School of Music YouTube Channel If you are a fan of UNL Bands, you’ll want to check in with the channel regularly to enjoy webcasts of the Symphonic Band, Campus Bands, Percussion Ensemble, Jazz Ensembles, and many other wonderful groups throughout the year.

Last but not least, our outreach activities are as strong as ever and enrollments are up in both the Cornhusker Summer Marching Band Camp and the UNL Middle School Band Camp. We’re testing out a new schedule configuration with the summer camps and the preliminary indications are all positive. Meanwhile, the Winter Festival remains the state’s premiere honor band experience for high school students and our reach is extending far beyond our borders. The 2016 festival included students from as far away as Virginia and Texas. Fun fact: more than 50% of the students who come for the festival end up enrolling at UNL once they graduate from high school.

As you can see, the bands have been busy and there is no sign of slowing down. You can be proud of your alma mater, proud of the students who are following in your footsteps, and proud of the faculty and staff who are setting the foundations for the next chapter – a chapter we hope you’ll all be a part of. Your BAA board is working tirelessly on your behalf. Help them out by staying in touch and pitching in when you can. That team effort is why there is no place like Nebraska!

Carolyn Barber
Ron & Carol Cope Professor of Music
Director of Bands

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