Marching Orders

Marching Orders

By Vicky Santos, Director of External Affairs, College of Liberal Arts at Auburn University

More than 300 high school and middle school students will visit Auburn University’s main campus this summer to participate in band camp. The four camps will run from June 9th – 21st. Each camp lasts three days and in addition to the opportunity to become better musicians and performers, they will also learn about becoming better leaders.

“There are a lot of leadership activities throughout each camp,” said Dr. Rick Good, director of bands. “It’s a very well-rounded approach and while it’s important that the kids get to practice their routines, we want them to take away practical experience that will carry over into other areas of their life.”

Good said that the camps have evolved over the years and have settled into four main camps consisting of a high school marching auxiliary (majorettes, dancers, etc.) leadership camp, a high school symphonic camp, a high school marching percussion camp, and a symphonic middle school leadership camp.

 “We encourage all students who are interested in attending to come and experience these camps,” Good said. “We’ve made funding and scholarships available through the National Band Association so that everyone who wants to attend, can afford to do so.”

Good is the President-elect of the National Band Association (NBA) - the world’s largest organization of band directors. Good says that the NBA is committed to help students obtain funding for camps like the ones at Auburn.

“We just ask the students to write in for a scholarship and we’ve had a number of students take us up on this,” Good said.

There is a collegiate chapter of the NBA, and the counselors for these camps belong to the organization as well. The counselors work with Good and the NBA to organize camp activities and prepare the logistics.

Evan Lynch, an Auburn alumnus and a music instructor in the Department of Music, oversees the camps as director. He started off as a counselor and clarinet teacher and became summer camp director in 2011.

"This is my fourth summer associated with the Auburn University summer band camps,” Lynch said. “As director, I am in charge of practically everything - housing, food, facilities, recruiting, payments, social activities, schedules, staff, making sure it all comes together, and not to mention the overall well-being of every student. Each summer, all of this administrative work has become easier and what makes it all worth it is the joy the students experience through our camps.” 

Lynch says that as the camps continue to grow and gain success, the former participants end up becoming the greatest recruiters. He says that for many of them, the experiences they have at the summer camp inspire them to want to be a part of the Auburn band program.

Both Good and Lynch admit that addressing the logistics is the most difficult part in organizing the camps.

“Dealing with the space is the toughest,” Good said. “Dorms are great because they are close by, but then there’s always the issue of taking people around campus. That’s where having a band building, one central location, would be beneficial.”

The Auburn University Band Program has the opportunity to have a building all its own, but funds are still needed to make this a reality.  If the building is constructed, it will be the first time in 40 years that the marching band’s indoor rehearsal space will be located adjacent to its outdoor practice field.   

“By having the new band facility we could house more people, and inclement weather wouldn’t be an issue,” Good said. “Plus, we wouldn’t have to charter transportation and incur that cost. And we could schedule more social activities with the kids because we wouldn’t have to worry about rushing them around. We could really have some great events. It would just be so much better to have everything in one place.”

The marching and auxiliary band camps wouldn’t be the only group to benefit from a band facility. There is also a Strings and Chamber Music Camp from June 27-29, which is led by members of the Auburn University Music Department string faculty and guest artists. It is open to musicians aged 10-18 who play violin, viola, cello, and string bass. The camp will offer a wide range of musical experiences including chamber music, orchestra, and jazz improvisation, as well as a movement awareness session taught by a certified Alexander Technique instructor.

While there have been some great strides in working towards the goal of the $5.5 million needed to break ground on the new facility (including a $1.5 million gift from athletics and a $1 million gift from supporter Meredith Birchfield), we are still only about half-way to our goal.

Here is the Auburn University Band Program by the numbers: 

  • $5,500,000      Needed to meet President Gogue’s Matching Funds
  • $2,700,000      Raised since July 2012
  • $1,000,000      Marching Band Alumni Board Fundraising Goal
  • 32,500             Estimated Square Footage of Complex
  • 5,500               Square Footage of Marching Band Rehearsal Hall
  • 2,500               Concert Band Rehearsal Hall Square Footage
  • 400+                Jazz, Symphonic, Concert & Ensemble Members
  • 380                  Marching Band Members
  • 300                  Band Camp Participants
  • #1                    Our Auburn University Marching Band 

You can invest in the future of the band by making a donation here (www.band.auburn.edu). A new facility ensures that these camps continue to attract and retain the best and the brightest students – of all ages!

 

Haley center