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July 1, 2010

ULM, summer, and band camps – an annual tradition

It has become an annual summer ritual and this year is no exception.

The University of Louisiana at Monroe plays host to the Junior High School Band Camp in July, making this summer the third year that ULM will provide a place for junior high students to meet and practice their instruments ahead of the fall school schedule.

The camp meets this year from July 12-14 and is sponsored by Zeagler's Music Store in Monroe.

“Zeagler's sponsors the camp to honor the many musicians that do business with the store and to also provide young band members the opportunity to keep their skills up to par during the long summer break,” said ULM's Dr. Derle R. Long, interim head and director of bands in the Division of Music.

“If a student stops performing when school is dismissed in May, then it may take a while to get back up to speed, back to where that student was at during the school year,” explained Long.

In addition, ULM has sponsored Drum Corps International for the past two summers and this year is no exception. In fact, when the Boston Crusaders stop for rehearsals at ULM as part of Drum Corps later this month, it will prove to be exceptionally exciting since two ULM students are traveling with the group.

Nathan Powell of Shreveport, a senior music education major who plays trumpet, and Mason Coates of Thibodaux, a sophomore music education major who plays tuba, immersed themselves in intense rehearsals at a private college in New Hampshire.

The students are part of an entertainment tradition that spans the country and performs for millions through hundreds of live shows and nationally televised events. The Boston Crusaders will be at ULM July 27-28.

More than 8,000 students audition for less than 3,500 positions available in top-tier DCI member corps each year and it all culminates in the Drum Corps International World Championships in Indianapolis.

“It's just about as close to perfection as a marching group can get,” said Long.

Long noted that for the last two years the groups that have swung by the ULM campus have gone on to wins in the world championships, so perhaps this year the streak will continue.

“For Nathan and Mason this is a gigantic deal,” said Long. “We've never had students march in a corps of this caliber. We're very anxious to see how well they do.”

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