Hello alumni –
As we gear up for our annual reunion it is a great time to bring you up to speed on what has been happening in the band department. There is a lot to celebrate! Since we saw you last September, we welcomed two guest artists to campus to work with the ensembles thanks to the Donald Lentz Memorial Band Fund. The symphonic band performed a ground-breaking concert devoted to female composers, collaborating with special guest Rachel Whelan, and the wind ensemble, symphonic band, and graduate band conductors all worked with conductor Jake Wallace when he was in residence in the spring. This December we will welcome Pulitzer Prize nominee Carter Pann to campus as composer in residence with the wind ensemble, conducting, composition, and piano studios. Composer Stacy Garrop will be with us in April to collaborate in a consortium premiere with Paul Haar and the wind ensemble. I think Donald Lentz would be proud of the variety and quality of experiences his namesake fund supports.
Foundation funds and alumni donations also support our very active and influential commissioning program through which the Nebraska bands have gained a national reputation for innovation and excellence. Last year we completed projects with Larry Tuttle, Stacy Garrop, Ryan Lindveit, David Maslanka, and Carter Pann. We are currently working with John Mackey, Michale Krueger, James Syler, and Zhou Tian. Check out their websites to get a sense of the spectrum of styles, textures, and compositional languages to which our students are gaining direct access.
As you can sense, the whole department has been busy. The wind ensemble was featured at the Nebraska Music Educators Association Conference in November and engaged in a special partnership with the Lincoln Symphony Orchestra during the annual Winter Festival for Winds and Percussion in January. In addition to a full home season, the Cornhusker Marching Band performed a special exhibition at the Nebraska State Bandmasters Association State Marching Contest to great acclaim. Big Red Express was busier than ever with a national championship run in volleyball, and a particularly complex tournament season for basketball, and the Campus Bands are bigger than ever thanks to the creativity and energy of our Graduate Assistants.
All of this activity is supported by alumni and generous donors in yet another way: scholarships. Each year we are fortunate to be able to award more than $14,000 to outstanding students in our band program. Wonderful as this is, it’s a drop in the bucket when you consider that there are more than 400 students involved in UNL bands and tuition and fees are rising. $14,000 covers awards to just 14 students. We hope you’ll be inspired to contribute in whatever way inspires you: scholarships (Jack Snider Band Alumni Fund), guest artists (Donald Lentz Memorial Band Fund), or general operations such as “The Ride of All Nebraska”, the semi-trailer, instruments, raincoats, iPad drill software, etc. (University of Nebraska Foundation and/or Jack Snider Band Alumni Fund).
You may have graduated, but your spirit and influence is still felt in the work we do each day. Thank you for your support and encouragement, and Go Big Red!
Carolyn A. Barber
Ron & Carol Cope Professor, Director of Bands
Register or donate now! https://nebandalums.org/registration/