PORTSMOUTH — For the past few years Shawnee State University has planned on starting a band and this fall their plan is becoming a reality.
On Saturday, Aug. 21, around 60 students and staff met to discuss starting a band of their own for the first time in SSU history.
“For years students have come into my office and asked why we don’t have a band that question always stuck with me,” said Tiffany Hartman, SSU Student Life Director.
Hartman said she had sent out an email a month before the pandemic to see if anyone would be interested in starting a band on campus and had around 70 responses but once the pandemic hit everything went virtual causing the idea to come to a pause.
Once the fall semester of 2021 came around, Hartman decided to have a meeting to see if the interest was still there. An important goal for Hartman at SSU is to support students and find ways for them to engage in campus and for her, building a community is a big part of that.
“For many students, band was a big part of their lives in high school and that’s something they miss being a part of dearly,” said Hartman. “They are looking for their community or their people who always have their back. My best friends are the people I found in college and those are my people.”
At first, the band will be titled as a spirit band but could potentially transition into a marching band in future years. The SSU band also plans to have matching shirts as a group and hopes to have their first performance at SSU’s homecoming this fall.
“A lot of the students who are interested were section leaders in high school which is great and we have one student who was a Drum Major who has a good bit of experience,” said Hartman.
Students will be leading the band but will receive all the help from Hartman they need.
“I feel excited,” said Jacob Lynn, a sophomore at SSU. “It’s weird to devote that much time to something in high school to not have it anymore and it definitely takes a toll on you.”
Lynn was a Percussionist and Drum Major at Northwest High School and a five year member of Portsmouth Wind Symphony. Overall, he is just looking forward to having something he is so passionate about back in his life.
“Even if it isn’t a full marching band, just conducting or playing would make life so much better,” said Lynn. “There’s so much interest in this county alone and it would definitely have a positive effect on SSU.”
The band will begin meeting Thursday, Sept. 2 and will continue to meet several days through the week during the month of September.
Hartman hopes to be able to gain as much help from the community that she can.
“I know nothing about band and am looking for as much help as possible. I would really appreciate it if local directors or anyone who knows anything about music could give me some advice,” said Hartman. “This isn’t about me it’s about the students and this is their opportunity to start something, I’m just here to support them.”
The band currently has no funding and cannot begin fundraising or getting assistance from campus until they are an official campus organization which they are in the process of becoming.
“If anyone has extra instruments we could borrow or if any local directors could give me advice or even just support us, I know I don’t have the experience but I care so much about students and they are so excited,” said Hartman.
Hartman hopes to eventually play at different sporting events on campus, be able to have a color guard, or possibly even do partnerships with local high schools.
Although the process of starting a band could be a slow process for the first year or two, Hartman believes this is something beginning members should be proud of.
“You might not be the marching or pep band you were in high school but you’re going to be the foundation of something that one day you can come back here as alumni and you can say I was a part of that, I was a reason this got started and I hope students know the impact they have made and how much of an impact they will have on future students lives. I think that’s very important,” said Hartman.
For any questions or advice email Tiffany Hartman at [email protected]
Reach Darian Gillette at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1931, or by email at [email protected]
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