It’s not every day an ensemble is invited to the Southern Division Conference of the College Band Directors National Association (CBDNA). But, that is exactly the invitation USF’s Wind Ensemble received after its director, John Carmichael, submitted the group’s CD recording in May.
The CBDNA is the premier professional organization for college and university bands, and the conference would mean a trip to Charleston for the Wind Ensemble to perform Feb. 19.
However, problems arose when it came to earning travel funding. Carmichael said the university usually provides funding for such trips, but was told the most feasible way to pay for the trip was to fundraise. His estimate for the cost came out to approximately $13,000, and through fundraising, the program has managed to collect about half of that amount.
“In late July, the USF administration was notified of the honor received and the funding of the trip was discussed,” Carmichael said in an email to the Oracle. “Several approaches (to fundraising) were taken, including two email blasts to School of Music alumni requesting donations and the establishment of a crowd-funding site that incorporated social media connections.”
Carmichael insisted students will greatly benefit from the opportunity to attend the conference since — besides performing in front of numerous band directors who present the opportunity for offers of assistantships and graduate school — they will also have the option to attend workshops that will cover ways to improve their musical techniques.
“There will be a degree of institutional pride that will arise from having the opportunity to perform, particularly in the most coveted performance slot on Friday evening,” Carmichael said. “Our students will have the opportunity to hear other university ensembles perform, thus widening their knowledge of repertoire and providing them with the chance to enjoy superb musical performances.”
As a result, Carmichael came up with a new fundraising opportunity for the group-—a benefit concert, “The Road to Charleston,” from which all proceeds will go toward travel expenses.
“The opportunity to headline a list of select performance ensembles at a significant gathering of university and secondary school band directors from all over the south is a wonderful chance to share with others … outstanding music making (and) represent a great university,” Carmichael said. “To not make the trip, which is still a possibility, would be terribly unfortunate in so many ways.”
The concert will be held at 7:30 p.m. Thursday in the School of Music concert hall. Undergraduate and graduate students will perform together with several members of the faculty. Student tickets are $10 and can be purchased through the USF box office.
An outdoor reception will be hosted after the concert by Tau Beta Sigma, the band service sorority, where CDs will be available for $10.