By Kevin Shannahan
When the 305 members of the Spirit of Northwestern Band (SON) take to the field, they are carrying on a 105 year old tradition. Founded in 1911, the band does 10-12 performances each year. In addition to their signature halftime performances, they also march in the Natchitoches Christmas Parade and perform at the annual High School Marching Band Competition.
The band members excel in the classroom as much as they do in performances. They represent a broad cross section of the university. Only about 35% of the band members are music majors with the balance spread across the various majors offered at NSU. The band boasts a higher retention rate than the university at large, a reflection of the discipline and work ethic needed to succeed in the band – and in life.
In addition to the marching band, Northwestern State University also features several other bands in the Spring semester. The basketball pep band entertains the fans at games and makes life interesting for the opposing team. The Wind Symphony, Wind Ensemble, Magale Concert Band and Fredericks Concert band all provide a high quality musical education for the students as well as superb entertainment for the community.