Letter From the Director
Dr. Tackitt conducting the HOOps Band as the UVA Dance Team breaks it down in the background. (Photo Credit: Tom Pajewski)
I hope this most recent newsletter finds you well! The students of UVA Bands have had a very productive spring semester, and we are so proud of what they have accomplished. HOOps Band members traveled for the Men’s and Women’s ACC Tournaments in March, and they returned to JPJ after Spring Break to support the Men’s Basketball team in National Invitational Tournament (NIT) play. Band members have already made two appearances at Klöckner Stadium to support both lacrosse teams, and they will attend several more lacrosse games over the next month. Concert Band members have been hard at work, rehearsing for their upcoming concert at 7 p.m. on April 26 at the Hunter Smith Band Building. If you’re in Charlottesville that evening, please join us!
Preparations for the Fall 2022 CMB (Band #19) are well underway. The students of the Halftime Show Design Committee are making excellent progress on show themes and song decisions, the drumline is holding weekly practice sessions with our new director, Brandon West, and over 120 students applied for leadership or logistical crew positions during the upcoming season. I’m looking forward to sharing more details with you about next year as soon as they are finalized. Thanks to Dr. Koch’s work on the CMB website, there is now a UVA Bands calendar which will be continuously updated.
If you know of a future Hoo who is interested in participating in one of our many UVA Bands ensembles, please have them reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you have a future Hoo visiting Grounds during April, please suggest having them stop by Days on the Lawn, table #15. We would love to meet them!
Thank you for all of your support of our students and your support of UVA Bands. Wahoowa!
New Director, Brandon West
By ANDREW PANNING
Photo credit: Brandon West
At the beginning of the Spring semester, the band program welcomed Brandon West as an assistant director of bands. In order to give the CMB community a chance to become more familiar with Mr. West and for him to be able to introduce himself more casually, I sat down with him for a few minutes to chat.
Andrew Panning: I thought we could start with an icebreaker to make it a little less formal. The usual one I go with is: if you could fill a swimming pool with anything, what would you fill it with?
Brandon West: Do I have to fund it, or is it free?
AP: If you could magically just have it.
BW: My first thought is gasoline, because gas is expensive, and if I could have my own little reserve of gas right now that would be nice.
AP: It would be nice, but I think it would also smell horrible.
BW: Well, yeah, it would. It depends on where the pool is, if it were right next to my house I’d reconsider it.
AP: I think it’s a good choice, most people pick money, that’s a big one. Anyway, if you would like to get into your background a little bit: where you’re from, education, what instrument you play, and so on.
BW: Initially, I’m from Fayetteville, North Carolina, which is in the southeastern part of NC, really hot and humid. I finished high school in that area. I’m a percussionist by the way. I went to UNC Pembroke, even farther south, almost in South Carolina. It’s a small school right outside Lumberton, NC. I did my bachelors in music education there: K-12 certified, band, chorus, orchestra, how most education degrees are, and after finishing there, I did my masters at UNC Greensboro in the central part of the state, about 45 minutes to an hour from Raleigh. That’s actually where they just played the ACC Women’s tournament. While I was there, throughout the whole, sort of, time of me being in school out of high school I taught marching band, high schools, I did some work with big time BOA programs and took groups to regionals, super-regionals, grand-nationals. Did some indoor drumline, AIA championships, lot of fun stuff with groups like that. After finishing at UNCG with the Master’s, I worked a couple different jobs. Initially, I was middle school band director in Durham, NC at an inner-city school. At the same time, I was working at Elon University as the percussion instructor, drill writer, and percussion arranger, I wrote all the music. I was doing that at the same time as well as gigging in Greensboro and then I also had a private lesson studio with almost 30 students in it. I was really, really busy during that period of time. After about four months of being in Durham I took the opportunity to work in a really great middle school called Gravelly Hill Middle School, which is in Orange County, right outside of Chapel Hill. That was an excellent school, I had a great time there, really great middle school band, amazing community. I worked there and then maintained working at Elon at the same capacity. I picked up working at Alamance Community College. And then I was still just kinda gigging. It was a lot of fun during that time. I was also a founding member of the Elon Contemporary Chamber Ensemble, which was a really fun sextet that I started with faculty at Elon. We played Pierrot music, a sextet of flute, clarinet, violin, cello, piano, and percussion. A really obscure instrumentation based on Pierrot Lunaire by Schoenberg in the early 1900s. It was a really cool time. I did all that, and that’s what I was doing when I saw the job posting here at UVA. So I applied, went through the process and here I am. Sorry if that was more of an answer than you were looking for.
AP: No, no. That was wonderful. I’ve never heard of Pierrot music, but it sounds interesting.
BW: It’s really cool, there’s so many different types of music for it. I mean, initially, Schoenberg was a little more experimental and did some really creative stuff with it. It’s a really out-there sound, he comprised that ensemble for Pierrot Lunaire and people just kept it, you know, for like the last however many years, and that ensemble set has been used over and over again. You get some really cool sounds, get some good music out of it. I like it a lot.
AP: It’s interesting that you worked at Elon. That was actually my second choice for a college. We may have run into each other either way.
BW: Oh really? I’m always surprised. I feel like in North Carolina, fewer people knew Elon than out here. Everyone I talk to knows Elon University, but in North Carolina, no one ever did. It’s weird.
AP: So being from North Carolina and having both Duke and UNC in the Final Four, who are you going for?
BW: I am a born and bred Tar Heel fan. I will cheer for Carolina with the exception of when they're playing UVA. I will pull UVA over Carolina but that’s about it.
AP: A very appropriate answer.
BW: My wife graduated from UNC. My mom went there, all of my cousins and relatives. We’ve had so many graduates from that program, it’s a very near and dear school to me.
AP: So, being here now. What do you enjoy about being at this program in particular and what impacts do you hope to have in the future? Do you have any cool ideas from other places you've worked at that you hope to implement?
BW: There’s a lot to unpack in that question. First of all, I love being here. Charlottesville is my dream location of a place to be. It has much more of what I wanted out of a place I lived. I loved being in the mountains. I grew up skiing frequently and I always wanted to live in the mountains. So the opportunity to live in Charlottesville, geographically, is outstanding for me, frankly. My wife and I both really love the area. The food, the options are awesome, the shopping is great. It’s a really great place to live in that regard. Working at UVA has been really great so far. I really like working with college-aged students. I was working with middle school students, which I loved, but I like higher expectations and autonomy that you can give to college students. And then the autonomy you also have by teaching college students is really nice. I’ve always been a fan of college basketball, and so coming in halfway through basketball season has been really great. I went to almost every single home basketball game from when I was brought in to now. I’ve loved that, and I’m beyond excited to see the marching band. Marching band has been the main driver for my musical career up until now, and I’m excited to get into it. It’s definitely my bread-and-butter as a teacher. In regards to what I see for the program–that is such a hard question at this scale. Obviously, first and foremost I’m the assistant band director, but I also primarily work with the drumline. I have a lot of goals for the drumline which deal a lot with improving the overall playing and maturity of the musical goals of the group. That’s just natural. We’ve already done really, really well. We’ve been playing together since the first week of February and we’ve been playing every week. Things have been going really well for us and we’re going to have a really strong drumline this year. I’m just looking to continue to grow the maturity of that group and I’m looking at some other opportunities for us to display our playing in the community, at the state level, and maybe, potentially, larger. There are a lot of things that could come from that but I am looking to put us more on display as we continue to get better and better with the drumline. With the band I just want to support what’s here, get in, see the marching band and then figure out where to go. The CMB is known all over the country for being a really great marching band so I’m excited to just be a part of it.
ANDREW PANNING is a third-year double majoring in English Creative Writing and History. He is a member of the alto saxophone section and is seeking to revive the currently-extinct tenor sax section next year.
HOOps Band Brings the Hype
By KYLE HUDGINS
Assistant Director Michael Idzior conducting the HOOps Band in the opening of the men’s basketball game vs. Florida State. (Photo Credit: Tom Pajewski)
After a triumphant return to John Paul Jones Arena at the end of 2021, the HOOps Band continued bringing the hype in the Spring 2022 semester. Although fear of the fast-spreading Omicron variant led to increased restrictions in the JPJ Arena, the HOOps band was lucky enough to be able to attend every men’s and women’s basketball game while maintaining all required safety precautions in the Spring 2022 semester. It was fantastic to have the opportunity to support the basketball teams in person once again, after an unfortunate season of watching the games from home.
Baritone Dan Arnold gives the camera a thumbs up from the stands! (Photo Credit: Tom Pajewski)
Stand tunes proved to be a challenge for the HOOps Band, but one that members were excited to take on and overcome. With half of the band in their first year of in-person basketball pep band and the two upper classes coming from a year off, extra time was necessarily taken to relearn and perfect the stand tune roster. Luckily, the band was able to utilize many of the CMB 2021 halftime show tunes as stand tunes, including “Dancing Queen” and “Africa,” among others. The learning process made the season dynamic, with the addition of a couple new tunes to the roster after every Wednesday night rehearsal. Before long, the band was back to playing old favorites such as “Jungle Boogie” and “Sir Duke.”
The basketball teams ensured an exciting season back for ‘Hoos fans. Many games were decided by single points, and the basketball teams kept Virginia fans on the edge of their seats. Men’s basketball went 20-13 and ranked sixth in the ACC, earning them a trip to the ACC Tournament in Brooklyn, New York. HOOps Band members were able to travel with the men's team, along with the cheer and dance teams, and bring the HOOps Band hype all the way to the Big Apple. The participating members were able to enjoy the Cavaliers’ two ACC Tournament games and have some free time to explore the city. Despite the upsetting end to men’s basketball’s 2021-2022 NCAA tournament bid on the second night of the tournament, the HOOps band left satisfied with a great trip to New York City to end the season. Moreover, the HOOps band was given the opportunity to play at the home NIT basketball games and continue to support men’s basketball in the weeks after the ACC Tournament.
Throughout the fall 2021 semester, there was fear that HOOps band may not be able to perform indoors at JPJ. Fortunately, the band was permitted to bring the hype at dozens of home basketball games throughout the season and bring the energy back to the arena. With the basketball seasons coming to a close, HOOps band looks forward to another season back in JPJ next year, as well as the fast approaching football season and taking the tunes back to Scott Stadium.
KYLE HUDGINS is a second-year student at UVA from Ashland, Virginia. He is majoring in Commerce with a minor in Spanish. Kyle plays piccolo in the CMB and is a Co-Chair of the CMB Newsletter.
Spring 2022 Upcoming Events
By OLIVIA HALE
Summer events (including most auditions) will be included in the next newsletter issue.
Days on The Lawn
Engage with the CMB as part of the Days on the Lawn hosted by UVA Admissions. The CMB will perform at 8:50 a.m. on The Lawn as the kick off to the day. We will also have representatives available at the Resource Fair in the Newcomb Hall Ballroom from 11 a.m.-1 p.m., at table 15. These events are designed to provide newly admitted students a glimpse of life on Grounds at UVA.
- DOTL 1: Monday, April 4, 2022 at 8:30 a.m.
- DOTL 2: Friday, April 8, 2022 at 8:30 a.m.
- DOTL 3: Monday, April 11, 2022 at 8:30 a.m.
- DOTL 4: Friday, April 15, 2022 at 8:30 a.m.
- DOTL 5: Monday, April 18, 2022 at 8:30 a.m.
- DOTL 6: Friday, April 22, 2022 at 8:30 a.m.
Women’s and Men’s Lacrosse Games
The UVA Band will be playing in support of our Women's Lacrosse Team and two-time, back-to-back National Champion Men's Lacrosse Team at some of their upcoming games.
Tickets available at virginiasports.com.
- Men’s Lacrosse vs. UNC: Saturday, April 9, 2022 at 2-4 p.m.
- Women’s Lacrosse vs. UNC: Thursday, April 14, 2022 at 8-10 p.m.
- UVA Football’s Spring Game at Scott Stadium: Saturday, April 23, 2022 at 4 p.m.
- Relay for Life at Carr’s Hill Field: Sunday, April 24, 2022 at 9 a.m.
- A small portion of the CMB will be performing for the UVA Relay for Life event.
- Concert Band Concert at the Hunter Smith Band Building: Tuesday, April 26, 2022 at 7 p.m.
- The program is set to include:
David Delle Cese - Inglesina Percy Grainger - The Immovable Do Gustav Holst - Second Suite in F Scott McAllister - Gone Kathryn Salfelder - Cathedrals Omar Thomas - A Mother of a Revolution
- Admission is free. Parking is free at the Culbreth Road Garage.
- The program is set to include:
- Band Banquet at the Hunter Smith Band Building: Wednesday, April 27, 2022 at 7 p.m.
- This is a closed event for members of the 2021 Cavalier Marching Band.
- The Cavalier Marching Band celebrates the accomplishments of the year, honors its members, and looks forward to the fall of 2022.
UVA Drumline performing at the 2021 football game vs. Notre Dame. (Photo Credit: Tom Pajewski)
- Drumline Auditions at Carr’s Hill Field and the Hunter Smith Band Building: Saturday-Sunday, May 14-15, 2022 (all day)
- Write Assistant Band Director, Brandon West for more details.
OLIVIA HALE is a third-year majoring in Chemistry and Music and minoring in Statistics. She is part of the drumline. In the CMB, she's a Drill Instructor, Office Staff member, and Co-Chair of the CMB Media Committee.
- The CMB doesn’t just play at football and basketball games, but also supports our lacrosse teams at their home games.
- The application for leadership has changed to try and bring out the very best of our skilled and passionate members by including a more thorough audition and interview process
- Even though football and basketball seasons have ended, there are still fun CMB social events like basketball competitions, field day, and share-a-song benefits
- Members of the CMB went all over for spring break, and their photos can be seen on our Instagram page, @uvamarchingband.
High School Corner
By ABBY KUPSTAS
Cav Man storming through Scott Stadium with CMB members cheering after the pregame show. (Photo Credit: Tom Pajewski)
CMB members are busy students who balance schoolwork, band, and other activities. This month's High School Corner features a breakdown of the time commitment that being a member of the CMB requires.
Band Camp starts about a week before fall semester classes begin. As a first-year marcher, depending on building access, you might stay in a hotel room with other new marchers or move into your dorm room early. Each day of band camp, you will be required to attend band-related activities from about 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Additional information about CMB auditions and 2022 band camp will be published in the coming weeks and months.
Rehearsals happen every Tuesday and Thursday from 6 to 8:15 p.m. On game weeks, we have an additional practice on Friday from 6:30-8:45 p.m. We also have a pre-game rehearsal and meal routine that begins five hours before football tip-off time on game day.
Sectionals outside of rehearsal for woodwind and brass sections are held at the discretion of section leaders, and are often optional. Drumline and colorguard sectionals, on the other hand, are required during game weeks as part of the time commitment for these sections:
- Guard: Monday evenings, 2 hours
- Drumline: Wednesday evenings, 90 minutes
Home football games happen as UVA's football schedule dictates. Pre-game rehearsals, meals, and other preparatory steps begin five hours before tip-off time. CMB members exit the stadium, pack up, and load trucks in the 30 minutes after games end.
Basketball games begin at the end of the fall semester. CMB students who are enrolled in HOOps Band, a spring-semester course, are able to sign up to play at both men's and women's games.
Section fun happens regardless of the season! In the fall, CMB sections often get dinner before rehearsals at a nearby dining hall. Individual sections also host events like Friendsgiving and gift swaps.
Kappa Kappa Psi and Tau Beta Sigma, our band service fraternity and sorority, host optional social events and games for CMB members. These include Sock Wars, pop tab collection contests, and a New Marcher Bash.
Bowl Games may mean that CMB members are able to travel during winter break. The CMB will provide busing for in-state students and flight vouchers (if applicable) for out-of-state students.
Basketball Games continue, even during the winter months. HOOps band attendance is not required during winter break, but many students staying on-grounds may still choose to play.
Basketball Games continue. CMB members may have the chance to attend ACC and/or NCAA tournament games with the men's and women's basketball teams.
Leadership Auditions occur for students who want to join the CMB's leadership team or logistical crew.
Kappa Kappa Psi and Tau Beta Sigma, our band fraternity and sorority, continue to host optional social events and games for CMB members. KKPsi and TBS also recruit and rush new members during this time.
ABBY KUPSTAS is a first-year majoring in Youth & Social Innovation. She is a member of the CMB's saxophone section and is a Co-Chair of the CMB Media Committee. She also runs the Instagram account for the saxophone section (@uvasaxophones) and hopes you drop a follow!
Parent Ticket Discount
CMB FAMILY MEMBERS! Football season is rapidly approaching and we want you to be prepared to support your loved ones in the Cavalier Marching Band! Virginia Sports is offering a special 20% discount on season tickets in the Hooville, Choice and Value seating areas just for CMB families. This is a great deal you don’t want to miss, and no Virginia Athletics Foundation gift is required.
Select seats and purchase tickets at VirginiaSports.com/CMBOffer
We hope to see you at Scott Stadium this fall! GO HOOS!!!
How to Give to the Band
The CMB is so fortunate to have passionate fans among our alumni, parents, family members, and community members. Our students have always been the pulse of our program, who spread the spirit of Virginia on Grounds and in our community. Please consider supporting the students of the CMB with your donation here.