by Victoria Wolk, Delta Delta, TBΣ |
[dropcap style=”font-size: 60px; color: #0099FF;”]T[/dropcap]raveling to the football game between the UMass Minuteman and the University of Michigan Wolverines, the University of Massachusetts Marching Band was in for a sudden change that could make or break the band – the passing of our director. When George Parks – our director – passed away we had no time to dwell on it because we still had a whole band season to get through. When the marching season came to a close with our annual Band Banquet and the spring semester started up rumors about who would become our new band director started to consume every students’ daily conversation.
I was not present for half of the selection process due to time conflicts, but I do know there was a nationwide search to fill the slot for our Marching Band Director. From this nationwide search, four people were chosen to “audition” by conducting the concert band, wind ensemble, and symphony band. Each of these candidates also presided over a question and answer session at the end of the audition.
I am unsure of how the selection process went on after the auditions were over; things were quiet for a while within our program. However, on the day that I was traveling back home to Maryland I received an e-mail from the president of our TBΣ chapter letting us know about our new director and how best to welcome them into our band. While on the New Jersey Turnpike, I spent my remaining drive home trying to figure where I could find any more information about who our new director would be and wondering what the future would hold.
The new director of the University of Massachusetts Minuteman Marching Band is Dr. Timothy Anderson from California State University where he has served as an associate director for five years. I cannot deny the immediate shock this was to several people (he was from halfway across the country and none of us had really gotten to know him), but because of what TBΣ standσ for we knew that this was going to be a momentous year, a year of new beginnings, and there really wasn’t any time for shock. If anyone was to set the example for the band, it was going to start with the brothers and sisters.
We needed to keep doing service, we needed to make sure that things still happened in the manner they needed to be done and most importantly we needed to make sure that the spirit of this band was still alive. This became our driving force. This year was spent working hand in hand as two chapters with our new director to get everything done, to make sure the legacy of George N. Parks lives on and that the new chapter in our storied program started off not just on the right foot, but with gusto.
Dr. Anderson has been amazing to work with, learning who we are and being open to everything we have wanted to do with our program. He always lets us know that he keeps his office door open to any ideas we may bring his way. It has taken some time for him to get used to the way the band operates just as it has taken some time for the band to get used to the way he operates, but both parties have been open to learning how the other works leading to new prosperity and productivity within our band.
Dr. Anderson has also had plenty of help from Thom Hannum, our associate director and faculty advisor. Dr. Anderson has taken slow steps to “becoming Santa,” (an inside reference for UMass alumni) but when he did the “Eyes with Pride” chant for the first time over Allentown weekend we knew we had our director! He knows what the band has been through and out of respect for the legacy of George N. Parks he decided to not make the year about him exclusively, but rather let everyone decide how best to carry on Mr. Parks’s legacy in their own way while carrying themselves onward to new heights together as a family.
It slowly has come to be that everyone at UMass embraced what the UMMB has become.
Lots of changes have been happening, but one thing is for sure – that the brothers and sisters of the University of Massachusetts Minuteman Marching Band are here, and together we can make anything happen. Nothing can stop our bond, and nothing can stop our love we share for this band.