By Kevin Shannahan
The Spirit of Northwestern Band has been delighting audiences for over 100 years. Founded in 1911, the band performs its superb halftime shows at every Demon home football game and is an integral part of Northwestern State’s traditions. 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’s 312 members include a flag line, dancers and color guard in addition to the musicians. The band puts in hours of practice for each performance. One can hear the rehearsals all over Natchitoches each morning during the football season.
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 90% fall to spring retention rate -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. The band also have earned an average 3.2 GPA and an average 23 ACT score, a testament to their hard work and dedication.
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 difficult 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.
The Spirit of Northwestern Band’s first performance will be a joint one at the LA Tech game September 2nd. The first home performance will be at the September 16th NSU Football game.