Beating The Drum For The Mustang Band

When the football team traveled to Hawaii for SMU’s first bowl game in 25 years, the Mustang Band was there. Sporting their trademark candy striped uniforms, the student musicians provided a lively soundtrack and spirited support.

The Mustang Band is always there – at football and basketball games, pep rallies and special events. “I believe we have more SMU spirit than any other group on campus,” boasts Don Hopkins ’82, who has served as band director for five years.

To ensure a bright future for this University institution, SMU has unveiled the Mustang Band Second Century Initiative. Funding goals include $2 million for scholarships and student support and $3 million for a new band hall.

BandHall.jpg

The proposed Mustang Band Hall will be located in the lower level of Dedman Center for Lifetime Sports. The plan does not include new construction; instead, existing space would be finished to accommodate the band’s needs.

The initiative will create a source of financial support for scholarships and student resources, including instruments, uniforms, equipment and traveling funds. This will help attract students who embody the spirit, tenacity and work ethic required of a Mustang Band member and to support the band’s growth to at least 100 members, Hopkins says.

There were 85 band members in 2009-10. They practice five hours a week in addition to game-day commitments. Most band members are not music majors. Senior Josh Duke, an English major and trumpet player, says, “The band gave me a sense of community and belonging at SMU right off the bat.” He joined the band as a first-year student and has been a student leader for the past year. “The sense of camaraderie, tradition and school spirit it instills is unparalleled at SMU. That’s why most of us are in the band, not because it is required for our majors.”

The initiative also will create a new band home. Originally intended as a temporary space, the Mustang Band’s current practice facility is a modified storeroom beneath the bleachers in Perkins Natatorium. This has served as the band’s headquarters since 1956.

“We can’t grow much bigger without more room. We’re literally wall to wall to wall at this point,” Hopkins says. The band hall’s poor acoustics are a major concern, he adds. “It’s very difficult to correctly balance and blend.”

More than 13,000 square feet have been allocated in the lower level of Dedman Center for Lifetime Sports for a new band hall with proper acoustics and state-of-the art technology. Plans call for a 2,800-square-foot rehearsal and recording studio, six practice rooms, instrument and uniform storage, a music library, staff offices and a Hall of Honor where band awards and historic memorabilia will be displayed.

The Mustang Band is a pioneer in the collegiate music circles – in 1926 it became the first college band to march and play jazz on the field. The band also toured the vaudeville circuit in 1935, performed with Bob Hope in 1983, and played at the inaugural parade of George W. Bush in 2001.

While the old band hall holds significant “history and sentimental value,” Duke says “a central value of the band is maintaining tradition and keeping the spirit of the band and the University alive. A modern facility will help the band do an even better job of that.”

The band hall’s poor acoustics are a major concern, he adds. “It’s very difficult to correctly balance and blend.”

More than 13,000 square feet have been allocated in the lower level of Dedman Center for Lifetime Sports for a new band hall with proper acoustics and state-of-the art technology. Plans call for a 2,800-square-foot rehearsal and recording studio, six practice rooms, instrument and uniform storage, a music library, staff offices and a Hall of Honor where band awards and historic memorabilia will be displayed.

The Mustang Band is a pioneer in the collegiate music circles – in 1926 it became the first college band to march and play jazz on the field. The band also toured the vaudeville circuit in 1935, performed with Bob Hope in 1983, and played at the inaugural parade of George W. Bush in 2001.

While the old band hall holds significant “history and sentimental value,” Duke says “a central value of the band is maintaining tradition and keeping the spirit of the band and the University alive. A modern facility will help the band do an even better job of that.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *