Lincoln, NE — On Friday, April 1, the annual Band Awards were held in person for the first time in two years. KKΨ-Epsilon Omega Chapter hosted the awards with some funding assistance from the UNL Band Alumni Association in one of the sky box suites in Memorial Stadium.
The evening began with the student selected awards, followed by the band program awards presented by Doug Bush. The last awards for the evening, the Russ Swanson Outstanding Band Member Awards, were presented by Board of Directors Julie Duensing and Ranelle Maltas. The recipients receive a plaque, $100 and a life membership in the UNL Band Alumni Association.
Ryan graduated in December 2021 with a Bachelor of Music degree focused in percussion performance. They were an active performing member of the UNL Percussion Ensemble, Wind Ensemble, Symphonic Band, and Symphony Orchestra as well as Nebraska Steel, Steel PANguins, and the Cornhusker Marching Band. As a marching band member, Ryan stood as drumline section leader and snare drum rank leader for three of their five years in the ensemble. Ryan collaborated heavily with other students at UNL and performed on various student composition recitals, Flyover New Music Series concerts, and non-degree credit performances.
Ryan taught percussion at various high schools in the Lincoln/Omaha area including Gretna High School, where they currently instruct the percussion ensemble. In the fall, Ryan will move to Boulder, Colorado where they will pursue a Master’s degree in Music Education from the University of Colorado Boulder.
Alyssa Soppe, from Omaha, Nebraska, has been a member of the Cornhusker Marching Band for five years as a member of the percussion section. She will graduate in May of 2022 with majors in Music Education and Spanish and a minor in Educational Psychology. After graduation, Alyssa plans to pursue a career with an emphasis on relationship-building and working with people.
Why did you choose to attend UNL?
As a high schooler, I was really drawn to UNL because of the wonderful experiences I had participating in All-State and Winter Winds. Through these events, I had several experiences to connect meaningfully with professors. I was confident that I’d be welcome at UNL and have strong, positive relationships with the faculty and staff at the school of music. Being from Omaha made UNL far enough away for independence, but close to home when I needed it. Finally, UNL was admittedly extremely generous in their financial aid offer, which made the decision even easier.
What is the first impression you had of the UNL Band/Game?
My first impression of Husker Football came as a first-year member of the CMB! I had never been to a football game before then, even though I grew up in Nebraska. I remember the first game making my head spin and flying by the seat of my pants to get through everything, but also feeling ridiculously cool. Performing for crowds of 90,000 made me feel like a rockstar! I tried so hard to do everything as perfectly as possible because I wanted to live up to the standards my peers in the ensemble had already set as well as uphold the longstanding traditions that were established long before my time. I knew then that I wouldn’t know what to do as a college student without the CMB.
What is a memorable moment with the CMB you’d like to share?
One of my favorite parts of being in the CMB was doing march down every game. I always thought it was so neat that people came and made a path for us, danced with us, cheered for us, sang Band Song, etc. Being a member and performing was a lot of fun, but the most rewarding part of being in the ensemble for me was always interacting with people as a bandsman. One especially memorable example of this was running through the tunnel walk and high fiving all the kids waiting for the players in the tunnel.
How may the scholarship help you?
I’m extremely honored to receive this scholarship, and I plan to use it to help fund my move into my first house with my partner, Josh!