BVU announces rebirth of marching band

Friday, March 30, 2018

Buena Vista University has officially approved the launch of a new marching band and pep band program. The program will mark the first of its kind at BVU in 20 years.

“The new program will serve as yet another platform that will provide young people the opportunity to come to BVU and become involved in something that’s really of interest to them and that they’re passionate about,” said BVU President Joshua D. Merchant. In order to focus on establishing a stronger concert band, BVU’s marching band ended in 1998. Its absence was surprising to Merchant when he assumed his role as university president. The university will continue to have a concert band.

“A band is an integral part of college games and campus gatherings,” said Merchant. “I’m thrilled that BVU is bringing back a program that I’m certain will instill a renewed sense of spirit throughout the University.” 

The university’s goal is to recruit students from all over the country who are interested in participating in an intercollegiate athletic band experience. The ultimate aim is that such a program will help increase student enrollment and retention. 

According to Mike Frantz, Vice President for Enrollment Management at BVU, prospective students often look for schools where they can further an interest in an activity they enjoyed in high school, such as being involved in a marching band.

Frantz said this pool of students tends to look toward larger state universities for these programs, but that often times the selection process is exceptionally competitive. “There is a place for smaller schools to fill a void that can’t be filled by the state universities.” 

To jumpstart the new program, BVU is seeking applicants for the position of director of athletic bands. The position seeks to hire an “innovative person to reimagine what was once a popular BVU marching band and pep band tradition.” The director of athletic bands will be tasked to create, coordinate, instruct, and develop a fully functional collegiate marching band and pep band program. The new director will also serve as the principal recruiter for prospective marching and pep band members. The institution hopes to fill the position by the beginning of the fall 2018 semester.   

A marching band isn’t the only new program Merchant and campus leadership representatives plan to see through. Though still in the discussion phase, trapshooting and archery teams, as well as competitive dance and cheerleading teams, may also be part of the university’s new strategic plan. New academic programs are also being considered.

“This is our running start which will likely be part of a much bigger set of potential programs that help move us forward and grow enrollment,” added Frantz.