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New Scholarships Play Up Marching Band

September 11, 2007

Aryanna Gamble
agamble@tulane.edu

Candis Schonekas already had Tulane University on her radar screen for college, but her plans really took shape when she was offered one of the new scholarships for members of the Tulane Marching Band.

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Candis Schonekas, left, is enjoying her new role as a member of the Tulane Marching Band, which is directed by Barry Spanier, right.(Photo by Paula Burch-Celentano)


This year marks the first time in Tulane's history that the university has offered scholarships specifically for members of the marching band.

Barry Spanier, director of bands, says the scholarships will help students make that decision to come to Tulane, and "the better the band gets, the more students we can attract. These scholarships will help build that kind of organization we want to be."

Since the band had a large group of seniors graduating in May, the scholarships allowed Spanier to recruit specific students who would fill those missing spots in the ensemble and ensure solid and well-balanced instrumentation.

Although the scholarship recipients come from many different areas of study, the main emphasis for the band was to develop the lower brass section.

A political science major who was born in New Orleans but moved to Michigan as a youngster, Schonekas already was interested in Tulane because both her uncle and grandfather attended the university. In addition to a homecoming of sorts, being at Tulane also allows her to continue her interest in band.

Schoenekas was very involved in her high school band, playing trombone for eight years and serving as drum major for two years. It was at her Tulane band audition this past spring when she first learned about the new scholarships available.

"I was excited about being in the band, but the scholarship has given me an opportunity to continue to pursue something I really enjoy," she says.

After being without a marching band for 30 years, Tulane resurrected the band two years ago. From the late 1930s through the 1960s, band director John Morrissey led an outstanding band that gained regional and national prominence. The band dissipated in the mid-1970s and was reformed by the urging of students.

The music department then hired Spanier as the new band director and the Tulane Marching Band made its first public performance following Hurricane Katrina in Mardi Gras 2006. In addition to Carnival appearances, the band performs at halftime for Tulane football games.

The new scholarships are specifically earmarked for incoming freshmen who want to participate in the marching band. Each year the band will award students with these supplemental scholarships that can be renewed each of the students' four years at Tulane as long as they continue to participate in the band and maintain good academic standing with the university.

Students are required to go through the regular admission process in addition to contacting the marching band and auditioning.

The scholarships can play a major role as an incentive for future incoming classes and could help the band reach up to 80 or 90 members in just a few years, according to Spanier.

Tulane University, New Orleans, LA 70118 504-865-5000 website@tulane.edu