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Band Open House encourages upperclassman recruitment

| Thursday, November 30, 2017

Before coming to Notre Dame, assistant band director Justin McManus said he thought working for the Band of the Fighting Irish was one of the “wonder” jobs.

Now the band’s assistant director, McManus said belonging to the organization has been an experience unlike any other.

“It’s unique because you get a different appreciation for [Notre Dame],” he said.

In order to share this experience with current students, as well as provide them with a chance to learn more about the program, the Notre Dame Band will be hosting an open house Thursday at 5 p.m. in the Ricci Band Rehearsal Hall. The event will give students a chance to familiarize themselves with the opportunities the band offers as well as talk to current band members.

McManus, who first proposed the open house, said the event was developed to improve the program’s recruitment of non-freshmen. The band has no trouble recruiting students who are new to campus but struggles to draw in upperclassmen and graduate students, he said.

Many students interested in band are hesitant to join freshman year because they’re concerned about the time commitment and would rather focus their energy on adjusting to college life, McManus said.

“Then they think they just can’t join after freshman year,” he said.

McManus said he hopes the open house will both help to dispel this assumption and provide students with the information they need to get involved.

The open house will commence with a brief overview of the program, which will include a description of the different types of bands and ensembles it offers as well as their respective time commitments and skill requirements, McManus said. In addition, the event will have 17 different instruments available for students to try and there will also be a tour of the band facilities.

Junior MacKenzie Cavanagh and senior Brynn Alexander, the two band ambassador coordinators, will be joining McManus to provide a student perspective on joining the band.

Alexander said she hopes the event will provide students with a “fun way to get to know the band and see if it’s a good fit.”

Students do not need to be well-versed in an instrument to join, McManus said. The sheer breadth of the band program provides a place for all students, from beginners to long-time experts, he said.

For example, several bands are better suited for beginners, such as the basketball band and hockey band, Cavanagh said. After becoming well-acquainted with an instrument, students can audition for programs requiring more skill, such as the marching band, she said.

Cavanagh said the band is eager to work with individuals of all skill sets and works to accommodate each individual in their specific needs.

“Everyone is very welcoming,” she said. “Everyone is very supportive.”

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