TLU Band Earns Six Spots in the 2015 National Intercollegiate Band, Wins F. Lee Bowling Award

August 6, 2015

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Texas Lutheran University Band made its mark on the Kappa Kappa Psi/Tau Beta Sigma National Intercollegiate Band (NIB) this year by earning the F. Lee Bowling Award, given to the college or university with the most members participating in one of the country's most prestigious collegiate ensembles.

Collegiate musicians from all over the country, from all sizes of schools, participated in this year's round of auditions. There were 330 students from 107 colleges and universities who auditioned and only 80 were invited to audition for chair placement in the 2015 NIB. Six of those spots went to TLU band students. In only its second year in recent history to have students audition, TLU beat out Texas A&M Commerce with five students earning chairs.

Recent graduate Aissa Maese earned principal clarinet and will be continuing her studies at Indiana University in music performance. Manny Martinez, a senior, earned first chair tuba. Senior Sam Almanza, who made the 2013 NIB, came back to play trumpet and improved his ranking by several chairs. Junior Linsey Rios earned a spot in the French horn section, Junior Bianca Salazar earned a spot in the flute section, and Senior Jesse Rodriguez earned a spot for bass and contra-bass clarinet.

With a more than 40 percent increase in auditions from 2013 to 2015, so many applications came in for the mid-April deadline the submission form temporarily crashed, according to the NIB Facebook page. After the audio auditions were reviewed by college faculty from nine major universities, notifications went out to the 80 selected musicians in late May. Students convened at the Lexington Opera House in Lexington, KY in late July for final chair placement auditions and to perform the premiere of a newly commissioned work, "Of Blood and Stone: Pyramids of Giza," by nine-time Emmy award-winning composer Julie Giroux. Also on the program were seven other musical selections, all under the direction of Joseph Hermann, director of bands at Tennessee Tech University and past president of American Bandmasters Association. The world-famous Boston Brass joined the NIB for a surprise encore that brought the enthusiastic, full-to-capacity crowd to its feet.

“I was delighted six TLU band members were invited to come to Kentucky. They had an amazing experience, rehearsing and performing with some of the most dedicated and talented college musicians in the country. It was a life-changing experience for them.” reported Beth Bronk, TLU Director of Bands.“I am currently serving as the Vice-President for Professional Relations on the National Council of Tau Beta Sigma. With my colleague Travis Cross, Director of Bands at UCLA, we collaborated to coordinate the music, equipment, personnel, and to allow our guest conductor and composer to be fully engaged in the music. We were so busy, I didn't know TLU had won an award until just before it was given to us.” Reflecting on what made this experience special for her TLU students, Bronk added, “I think part of it was that they fared very well on a national level, and my project helped to fuel them to set a goal for themselves.We’re good together.”

The biennial NIB began as a program of national music honors fraternity and sorority Kappa Kappa Psi and Tau Beta Sigma more than 65 years ago. The band is open to all qualified musicians, regardless of association with the fraternity or sorority. According to the NIB website, "NIB brings members face-to-baton with some of the most dynamically stimulating composers and respected conductors in America."

The participation award is name after Dr. F. Lee Bowling, Kappa Kappa Psi National President (Alpha Iota) from 1941-1947, who is regarded as the founder of the NIB. Previous recipients of the F. Lee Bowling Participation Award include the University of Colorado, Texas Tech University, Baylor University, University of Maryland, Eastern New Mexico University, and most recently Florida Atlantic University.

Pictured left to right: Aissa Maese, Jesse Rodriguez, Linsey Rios, Bianca Salazar, Samuel Almanza, Manny Martinez, and TLU Director of Bands Beth Bronk. Photo by Travis Cross.

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