National conference casts spotlight on marching band

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    The university Marching Band will receive national recognition after being selected as one of five college bands nationwide to have a prerecorded performance played at the College Band Directors National Association conference in Austin this week, a university official said.

    Bobby Francis, director of bands at the university, said the band was among the five chosen this year, based on a performance of “We the People,” which includes several American folk tunes.

    Francis said the performance will be used as an example for other marching bands. This is the third important honor the band has received in two years, Francis said.

    The wind symphony performed live at the national conference in Michigan two years ago, he said. The wind symphony also performed at the American Band Masters Association convention three weeks ago, he said. The band was one of two invited to perform.

    “This is going to let every college band director in the nation see the TCU band,” said Brian Youngblood, the university’s associate director of bands.

    The judges look for marchers who maintain alignment, are designed well, are entertaining and exhibit an overall high level of performance, Youngblood said.

    Youngblood designs the formations of the marching band on campus and writes the alignments for more than 20 high school bands, many of which are nationally recognized, Francis said.

    “The honor brings further national recognition to the TCU band program,” Francis said. “It’s an affirmation of the things we have been trying to accomplish for the past nine years.”

    Francis said none of these honors would be possible without the talented students that the band recruits.

    “They work hard and sacrifice a lot,” he said. “It’s a huge commitment.”

    Youngblood said he is also excited about the band’s performance at football games. The band strives to be successful on the field to support the team, while putting on a good show for students, Youngblood said.

    J.P. Wilson, a junior music education major, said it is a big honor to be recognized by college band directors across the country as one of the nation’s best college marching bands.

    “It shows a lot about the hard work and dedication of our members and staff,” he said. “I am definitely proud to be associated with the Pride of TCU.”

    Other chosen bands include the University of Arizona, Colorado State University, Western Carolina University and University of California, Los Angeles.