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Spring 2015 Ensemble Audition Excerpts

Audition Times Monday, 1/12
9:00 -11:15 Flute
12:30 - 1:30 Oboe
2:00 - 5:00 Clarinet
6:30 - 8:00 Saxophone
8:30 - 10:00 Bassoon


Audition Times Tuesday, 1/13
7:30 - 9:00 Horn
10:30 - 12:30 Trumpet
3:00 - 4:15 Trombone
4:30 - 6:00 Tuba/Euphonium
7:30 - 10:00 Percussion


Audition Times Wednesday, 1/14
8:30 - 11:30 Conflict Times










Bass Clarinet

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Trombone & Bass Trombone


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Donor Contributes $100,000 for Band's Upcoming Trip to Ireland

Robin Miller, The Advocate, March 13, 2014

The LSU Tiger Marching Band is leaving Friday for Ireland — and the upwards of $700,000 trip won’t cost them a dime.

The band announced it would be taking all 325 members to Dublin to march in the city’s annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade.

Plans were to pay for the trip through proceeds raised at its annual Tigerama concert.

Then Houston businessman Ralph McIngvale pitched in $100,000.

“He’s a former LSU football player,” said Roy King, director of athletic bands.

“He came into my office, and he told me how in the late 1990s, he took his sons on an SEC football tour. He was tailgating at the LSU-Arkansas game in Fayetteville, and he said he remembered seeing me get off the bus with the pep band.”

King gathered the pep band for an impromptu pep rally.

“I used to do that all the time at away games,” King said. “And on that day, the pep rally was right outside of his motor home. He said he always remembered that, so he donated $100,000 to our Ireland trip.”

That made up the difference between the funds the band raised and what they needed to go.

“I told the band members in the fall that they might have to provide some of their own funding for this trip,” King said. “We didn’t know how our fundraising efforts were going to be. All of the stipends that go to the students at the end of the fall went to this trip.”

The stipends, funded by the LSU Athletic Department, usually come to the students at the end of the football season. The department paid $350,000 toward this trip.

“It won’t cost the state anything,” King said.

Band members will leave for Ireland at different times Friday morning from New Orleans, Houston and Atlanta.

“We were booking so early, because we didn’t know what kind of prices we would get later,” King said. “So, we were aiming for the best prices possible.”

Still, there was a problem. Airlines couldn’t accommodate all the band’s instruments.

“We were going to check them in as extra baggage, but the airlines couldn’t guarantee they could get them there in time,” King said. “They couldn’t accommodate the number and the weight, so we had to look for alternatives.”

King decided to contract UPS for the job.

The instruments, including the band’s 30-plus tubas from the 1940s, were shipped to Dublin three weeks ago.

“A trucking company that’s under contract with us picked them up and delivered them to a warehouse,” King said. “That will be the first place I’ll go when I step off the plane.”

Traveling with the band will be staff members, along with LSU President and Chancellor F. King Alexander and former LSU Director of Bands Frank Wickes.

“We’ll have 350 people all together,” King said.

The band will march in the St. Patrick’s Day Parade at noon, Dublin time, on March 17, playing the Tigers’ fight songs. A series of staggered city and country tours have been planned for band members, and all will sit down to a traditional Irish meal at Taylor’s Three Rock restaurant.

“We’ve rented out the whole place,” King said. “Other than that, the band members will have a lot of free time. Some have already planned other tours, and we gave them the option of staying an extra day. About half the band opted to stay, but they had to fund the extra day themselves.”

The rest of the band will return to Baton Rouge on Wednesday.


Ask 5, With LSU Tiger Band Director, Roy King



LSU Tiger Band Drumline is Selected to the Pearl Athletic Band Hall of Champions

Marching Band Website: "The Golden Band From Tigerland"

Drumline Website: LSU Drumline

Director of Marching Band: Roy King

Members in Marching Band: 325

Music education majors in marching band: 62

Members in percussion section: 30

Enrollment of University: 28,871

Mascot: Tigers, Mike the Tiger (live)

University NotesThe LSU Tiger Marching Band is the largest and most visible single organization on campus with a closed membership of 325 students. Recognized nationally for its outstanding achievements by the John Philip Sousa Foundation in 2002, the Tiger Band is comprised of students from all over the LSU campus. Even though Tiger Band members display a wealth of musical talent, we desire players who possess a strong sense of dedication and pride in their work. Approximately 80% of Tiger Band members are majoring outside of music.


LSU Band Director of Athletic Bands Roy M. King Named Band Director of the Year by Epsilon Chapter of Phi Beta Mu Bandmasters Fraternity

12/05/2013 12:13 PM

BATON ROUGE – Roy M. King, director of athletic bands at LSU and a faculty member in theLSU School of Music, was recently named Band Director of the Year by the Epsilon Chapter of the Phi Beta Mu international bandmasters fraternity.


The distinction was announced during the Louisiana Music Educators Conference, held Nov. 21-25 at the Crowne Plaza Executive Center in Baton Rouge. The award presentation was made during the All-State band performances, also held at the Crown Plaza Executive Center during the conference.


“I am honored and humbled to receive this honor,” King said. “Phi Beta Mu plays a significant role in the success of music education throughout the great state of Louisiana.”


In his role as director of athletic bands, King leads the award-winning LSU Tiger Marching Band. He serves as the primary instructor, show coordinator and drill designer, overseeing all aspects of the program. He also serves as conductor and director of the LSU Symphonic Band and the Bengal Brass Basketball Band. Within the LSU School of Music, King teaches marching band techniques and undergraduate conducting. He also serves as the faculty advisor for Kappa Kappa Psi, national band fraternity.


King received both his Bachelor of Music Education and Master of Music in Wind Conducting degrees from LSU. Before coming to LSU, King served as a high school band director in Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana and Florida. He has been a staff member and has consulted for various drum and bugle corps including the Phantom Regiment from Rockford-Loves Park, Ill. King has judged for Drum Corps International and Winter Guard International.


Outside of his work at LSU, King maintains an active schedule having appeared as a guest conductor, clinician and adjudicator throughout the U.S. In addition, he has contributed numerous articles for organizations such as National Band Association, College Band Directors National Association and Women’s Band Directors International and has served as a research associate for the “Teaching Music Through Performance in Band” series by GIA Publications. He is a member of the Music Educators National Conference, Percussive Arts Society, National Band Association, College Band Directors National Association and Phi Beta Mu. King also holds honorary memberships in Kappa Kappa Psi and Phi Mu Alpha fraternities.


Phi Beta Mu is a non-political, non-profit fraternity organized to promote fellowship among its members, encourage the building of better bands and the development of better musicians throughout the world, foster a deeper appreciation for quality wind literature and encourage widespread interest in band performance. The organization's Epsilon chapter covers the state of Louisiana. For more information on Phi Beta Mu, visit


To learn more about King and LSU’s Department of Bands, visit



Tiger Band to March in Irish Parade

The luck of the Irish will include a mix of purple and gold when the LSU Tiger Marching Band performs in Dublin’s annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade.

Yes, that’s Dublin, as in Dublin, Ireland.

“We’re bringing all 325 members of the band to Ireland,” said Roy King, LSU’s director of athletic bands. “We’re still working on the exact dates we’ll be there, but we’re definitely marching in Dublin’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade.”

King likens Dublin’s parade to the Mardi Gras parades in New Orleans.

“This is their big event,” he said. “If you watch it on YouTube, you’ll see that it’s definitely their Mardi Gras.”

King said he and the band’s personnel have been working more than two years on an overseas trip for the band. The Golden Girls, the band’s dance line, performed in Hong Kong two years ago.

“After they returned, we started thinking about a trip for the whole band,” King said. “The time is right, and we wanted to plan a nice trip for them.”

In the meantime, Dublin’s mayor invited the band to march in its annual parade.

“We received a registered letter with his official invitation this week,” King said.

King met with the band’s Tigerama committee of supporters and sponsors at LSU’s Lod Cook Alumni Center on Wednesday. The band’s annual Tigerama concert serves as a fundraiser whose proceeds benefit the band program.

This year, the event will be Oct. 29 in the Peter Maravich Assembly Center. There will be a day performance at 9 a.m., followed by a VIP party at 5 p.m. with the main performance set for 7:30 p.m.

“All of the proceeds from this year’s Tigerama will benefit the trip to Ireland,” King said.



LSU Tuba and Basketball Player, Andrew Del Piero, Featured in the New York Times

BATON ROUGE, La. — The YouTube video is simply titled “Tallest Tuba Player I’ve Ever Seen.”

Hilary Scheinuk/LSU Athletics

Andrew Del Piero earned a music scholarship to L.S.U. but gave it up to join the basketball team as a walk-on

Del Piero grew to almost 7 feet by the time he was a high school senior, but said he never really had any desire to give basketball another try nor did he feel much pressure from others to play.  “A lot of people at school had seen me play, and they knew that I wasn’t a basketball player,” Del Piero said.  His tuba playing continued to progress, however, and he earned a music scholarship to L.S.U., which has one of the country’s best collegiate music programs.

“He was of two tuba players we brought in from Texas that year who were over 7 feet tall, and both of their names were Andrew,” Roy King, the L.S.U. band director, said about Del Piero and Andrew Stephenson, still a member of the Tigers’ band. “He was musically talented. He was academically talented. He was a good student, a good person of high moral character. So he had all the attributes that you’re looking for in a musician to be in the Tiger band and to be a music major in the School of Music.”  But when he arrived on campus, Del Piero began feeling the pressure to play basketball he rarely felt at Westlake. It did not help that L.S.U.’s basketball program has struggled in recent years.  “On game days here, it kind of turned into a big deal,” Del Piero said. “A lot of people saying things like, ‘Hey why aren’t you on the basketball team?’ and heckling me and stuff.”

Before one football game, a man dressed in a Big Bird costume walked next to Del Piero as the band marched to the stadium. One day during his freshman year, while dining out with his then-girlfriend, Del Piero was approached by Collis Temple, a former L.S.U. basketball player who had two sons, Collis III and Garrett, who also went on to play for the team.  “He came up and said, ‘The coach would love to have someone like you on the basketball team,’ ” Del Piero said. “He sort of put the idea in my head.”  Del Piero then began making occasional trips to the student recreation center on campus to participate in pickup games. The more he played, the better he became, eventually dominating games against his fellow students. His confidence began to soar.  “I felt like an all-star at the rec,” Del Piero said with a smile. “I was dunking on people. I felt like I was Shaq at the rec center. So here I am thinking I was pretty good from my time playing at the rec center, and the seed had been planted a couple of years earlier from the meeting with Collis Temple.”

By the time he was a junior, he wanted to present himself as a candidate to join the basketball team. Not really sure how to go about doing that, Del Piero said that he contacted an L.S.U. basketball player on Facebook. Then, after finding out the names of the coaches and the location of the basketball offices, Del Piero stopped by to introduce himself. Soon after, he signed paperwork allowing him to join the team as a walk-on, a step that meant he had to give up his music scholarship. He quickly realized that he was no longer at the rec center.  “The workouts were really tough for me,” Del Piero said. “Everyone was just bigger and stronger and faster, and I wasn’t used to running up and down the floor at all. It was a reality check for me.”  He took a redshirt year, and then, in his first season under the then-coach Trent Johnson, Del Piero played a total of 12 minutes. So when Johnny Jones took over as coach in the spring, he was presented with a quandary: what to do with the giant former tuba player? Was he worth offering a scholarship?  “I wasn’t sure if he would be able to make the type of progress he needed to make to help us,” Jones said. “We just weren’t sure if the coordination was there, if the desire was there.”

Del Piero, however, worked on his coordination and his on-court skills during the off-season, impressing his new coach with his commitment and earning a scholarship.  “He’s clearly the most improved guy we have on the basketball team,” Jones said. “He’s the most improved guy from Day 1 up until today. We’re really pleased with him.”  Jones added that Del Piero had earned the respect of his once-skeptical teammates — now “his biggest fans.” “They are so happy for him,” Jones said. “They cheer for him, not just in games, but also in practice. He’s earned a great deal of respect from them.”  And so it came to be that Del Piero made the first start of his basketball career against Seton Hall, a little more than three years since the YouTube video of him was posted. Del Piero’s unexpected rise has even inspired L.S.U. fans to create the Twitter hashtag, #tubapower.  “The big thing I want people to understand is that it’s not a circus act with him,” Jones said of Del Piero. “He’s started and has had the opportunity to play several minutes because of the hard work he’s put in.”

Del Piero said that he hoped to get the chance to play basketball professionally, perhaps in Europe, but he has not put down his tuba for good. Del Piero said that he would eventually like to return to music, perhaps even make a career of it by playing in an orchestra. For now, however, his focus remains on the court, a development that seems to surprise even him.  “I can’t really believe it sometimes,” Del Piero said. “If you’d have asked me five years ago what I’d see myself doing, this certainly wouldn’t have been it at all.”



Roy King Nominated for Phi Beta Mu Band Director of the Year

As posted on LSU Today

Roy M. King, director of athletic bands at LSU, has been nominated by the Epsilon Chapter (Louisiana) of Phi Beta Mu as Band Director of the Year. The nomination took place at the Phi Beta Mu annual luncheon held in Baton Rouge on Nov. 19. Phi Beta Mu is the international bandmasters fraternity. It is a non-political, non-profit fraternity organized to promote fellowship among its members, encourage the building of better bands and the development of better musicians throughout the world, foster a deeper appreciation for quality wind literature and encourage widespread interest in band performance. The history of Phi Beta Mu is significant to its present and its future. The founders’ ideals of honoring superior achievement are timeless, their values of moral uprightness are never out of style and their purpose of promoting the international development of bands will reward the world far beyond our fraternity’s membership.


Nov. 26, 2012-ESPN's The Magazine: You should have been there

Mag Sunday Tiger Stadium01jr 600

You should have been there

Alabama-LSU on Saturday night in Death Valley was a game to behold

By Steve Wulf | ESPN The Magazine

Originally Published: November 14, 2012

This story appears in ESPN The Magazine’s Nov. 26 One Day One Game issue. Subscribe today!

THE FOUR NOTES from the “Tiger Rag” are hardwired — you’ve heard them a thousand times. Daaaaaaaaaaaa da daaaaa da. “Hold That Tiger.”

But you’ve never really heard them until you’ve heard them played by the right hands and lips of the Golden Band from Tigerland at the right time on Saturday night, in the damn right place known as Death Valley. Daaaaaaaaaaaa da daaaaa da. The fanfare flies straight to the hearts of the Louisiana State University faithful and makes even novices understand what Dan Borne, the voice of Tiger Stadium, meant when he penned his ode to LSU football: “It is the cathedral of college football, and worship happens here.”

And when the notes are played in the pregame show before the team faces No. 1 Alabama, they give chills to more than 93,000 people inside the stadium and an estimated 60,000 gathered outside -- even on an unseasonably warm night. "Hold That Tiger" separates this football game from any other. But playing those notes requires taking a breath. So let's step back to Nov. 2, the eve of the big game. On the northern edge of the LSU campus, the marching band is getting ready to rehearse, and drum major Collin Barry is slipping on white gloves that don't quite go with his T-shirt and shorts. "The march down Victory Hill, the pregame, the way we interact with the crowd during the game ... there's nothing like it," says Barry, a senior from Austin, Texas. "A lot of bands claim they're the best. But I truly believe we are."

At the other end of campus, the RVs have begun pulling into the lots known as Touchdown Village. Denizens shake their heads at the news that Dr. George Boudreaux, the legendary booster and inventor of the diaper rash ointment known as Boudreaux’s Butt Paste, won’t be coming with his outrageously rigged Buttmobile. Seems the Buttman’s mama passed away two nights before, and even LSU fans have their priorities.

Outside the stadium, fans gather around the wondrous habitat of Mike VI, LSU’s real-life tiger mascot. They watch him prowl through his ersatz jungle like a man-eater, then scratch himself on his tree post like a pussycat. Meanwhile, three dark Dixieland tour buses pull up outside the players gate, and out come the Tigers themselves, walking through the locker room and out onto the field — but not before reaching above the doorway to touch a reclaimed section of an old crossbar with WIN! painted on it. They watch a video on the screen over the north end zone to get psyched up, a mashup of highlights mixed with scenes from Marvel’s The Avengers and inspirational slogans like “Our Swagger, Our Process, Our Victory.”

Leaning against one of the goalposts is an unlikely Tiger, sophomore second-string fullback Connor Neighbors. He’s a 5’11″, 236-pound converted linebacker who made the team as a walk-on. He also happens to be the grandson of the late Billy Neighbors, a lineman in Bear Bryant’s first recruiting class at Alabama who made the College Football Hall of Fame; the son of Wes Neighbors, the starting center from Bear’s last recruiting class; and the brother of Wes Jr., a former Bama defensive back who is now a graduate assistant. Connor could’ve gotten a legacy scholarship to Alabama, but he wanted to earn his way to an elite program, and his family supported his decision. “They might’ve felt differently,” he says, “if I had decided to go to Auburn.”

When the video is over, the players file out of the stadium in eerie silence and reboard the buses that will take them to a cineplex for a showing of The Man With the Iron Fists. (Imagine the surprise of the usher at the 7:15 p.m. show when scores of large men enter the theater.)

Meanwhile, the party is already on at the Parade Grounds, where ESPN’s College GameDay crew will kick off its Saturday show. On Alabama weekend in Baton Rouge, sleep — or passing out — is merely a way to kill time.

Eventually, though, the sun comes up, the fog and dew evaporate, and alarms go off. Jacob Allen Nichols is the first to arrive at the student gate at 7:30 a.m., wearing purple high-tops with gold laces and carrying a disposable grill. “We’re going to make the ground shake tonight,” he says.

At 8, troops of Girl Scouts enter the stadium to begin draping 65,000 purple-and-gold towels over the seats. “Should take us about two hours,” says Mary Ann Yeargain, an LSU grad supervising the girls. “It’s gonna be a good day today.”

She’s right. As Dan Borne always says before a game: “Chance of rain: never.”

Louisiana State Police Sgt. Bryan Madden, who will escort LSU coach Les Miles, is a creature of superstition, just as he was when he was an offensive lineman for the Tigers. On this morning, he polishes his brass in the same order he always does — buttons, buckles, badge — and picks up his usual game-day lunch from KFC: a 10-piece order of chicken bites and a large lemonade.

The meal is much more elaborate over at Marvin “Big Ragoo” Dugas’ tailgate next to Carl Maddox Fieldhouse: crawfish, jambalaya, brisket, boudin, beans, beer. This is where the 40-strong Krewe of Ragoo gathers for every home game, with T-shirts reading “We Hell When We Well, And We Never Sick.” In truth, Big Ragoo is a sweet 63-year-old oil field engineer who trades hospitality with the same group of Alabama fans every year — they come to his tailgate in Baton Rouge, he and his wife go to theirs in Tuscaloosa.

Relations between the two sides are not usually that amicable. And the hostility starts young. A 2-year-old boy in an LSU jersey breaks away from his mother when he spots a man in an Alabama golf shirt and shouts, “Tiger bait!” The man can only laugh. At another commingling, an adult LSU fan says to a 10-year-old in crimson, “You know, you look like a nice kid,” and tries to shake his hand. The boy refuses, saying, “Do you remember what happened the last time we played you guys?” (Alabama 21, LSU 0.) The LSU fan responds, “I just threw up in my mouth.”

Just before noon at the entrance of the Cook Hotel, where the LSU team stays the night before a game, Wes Neighbors is waiting for Connor alongside his wife, mother, daughter, sister and sister’s two boys. “I finally figured out why Connor used to go out duck hunting at 4 a.m.,” says Wes, now a stockbroker in his hometown of Huntsville, Ala. “He was part Cajun. Seriously, he’s worked for everything he’s gotten. I could not be prouder of him.”

After Connor comes out and hugs everyone, Miles appears, walks over to Wes and whispers, “He’s doin’ wonderful.”

Back on campus, along the Victory Hill parade route, the crowd and suspense are building. Girls with tiger tails and “Love Purple, Live Gold” T-shirts drag stuffed elephants on the ground. Two Teletubbies — one purple, one gold — compete for attention with a purple-and-gold Batman. Cowboy Mouth, the New Orleans band playing a concert in front of the Maravich Center, turns Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Sweet Home Alabama” into “Sweet Home Louisiana.” At 4 p.m., PA announcer Dan Borne arrives to prepare for the game. Fifteen minutes later, the student gates open. The first in line, Nichols, steps aside as the crowd rushes by. “I was just saving the spot for friends,” he says. “I already have my ticket.”

At 4:30, Madden walks up the hill from the stadium to the traffic circle where the Dixieland buses will drop off the coaches and players. He scans the crowd, looking for signs of trouble, spots an Alabama hat standing in the second row back and says, “He’s probably drunk, and you just know he’s going to say something stupid.”

As one side of the crowd yells “Geaux!” and the other yells “Tigers!,” the buses arrive at 5:03. Dressed to kill, or at least to win, in a dark suit, Miles de-boards and leads the players on the short walk down the hill, a smiling Madden at his side. As Miles walks out onto the field, he touches the WIN! crossbar — as does Madden. Once a player …

After the team comes Mike VI in his travel cage, then the human Tiger mascot, who’s dressed as Darth Vader, for some reason.

Then the Tiger Band, marching swiftly and sharply behind Barry, playing "Tiger Rag" for all it's worth. When they finish, that's the signal for the fans to find their places. Nobody wants to miss the warmups or the welcoming voice of Borne as he sets the stage for the evening, or the video version of his poem, "It's Saturday Night in Death Valley." But most of all, they don't want to miss the first four notes of the band's pregame. That's what all this fuss has been about, the catering and the costuming and the carousing. The fans no longer have to hold their breath. Those four notes come at precisely 6:58, a fanfare for the uncommon men and women who love purple and live gold. LSU fans don't come to watch the game; they come to play it. "I thought Alabama fans were crazy," Connor Neighbors says. "The passion at LSU runs deeper."

Borne announces the weather: “Game-time temperature: 75 degrees; chance of rain: never.” Chance of victory: Well, Alabama is a one-touchdown favorite.

After the Tide take a 14-3 lead at the end of the first half, that chance looks even slimmer. "Tough row to hoe," says Wes Neighbors as the Tiger Band performs Aretha Franklin's "Think" at halftime. "But don't underestimate Zach Mettenberger. He's a good quarterback." He's also Connor's roommate, so the Neighbors family has a rooting interest.

Sure enough, Mettenberger has a great second half. As the largest crowd in LSU history — 93,374 — waves the little towels the Girl Scouts left for them some 12 hours before, he leads the Tigers on drives of 58 and 90 yards to give them a 17-14 lead with 13 minutes to play. The stadium is shaking, the band is playing “Hey Baby,” and Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron engineers a 72-yard drive to give the Tide a 21-17 lead with not enough time for LSU to rally.

As the disappointed fans file out, Borne reminds them to please use the trash receptacles, drive home safely and come back next week for the game against Mississippi State. “It was a great game,” he says as he packs away his binoculars. “We have nothing to be ashamed of.”

Madden betrays no emotion but concern as he ushers Miles from the tiger eye at midfield through a mob of media and back to the sanctuary of the locker room on the other side of the WIN! crossbar. Connor, who saw action on only two plays, finds his brother across the field, and Wes Jr. tells him, “You guys almost had us. Keep your heads high.”

The band stays in formation and marches out behind a proud drumline. The Big Ragoo waits for the traffic to clear out before he does. “‘We should have gone for the jugular, but otherwise it was a great day, a great tailgate,” he says. And the Neighbors clan waits for Connor. Susan Neighbors, Billy’s widow, reports that her 7-year-old grandson, Billy, told her, “My heart is broken in a million pieces.” She says, “I think that’s so cute.” When Connor finally exits to their sympathetic arms, he tells his dad, “I still can’t believe we lost.” Mettenberger, meanwhile, cheers up Billy by carrying him around.

Then they all head off into a night lit by a waning moon you would swear looks like the hooded eye at midfield. “Hold That Tiger.”


Q&A with Garrett Ellison Tiger Band Trumpeter

By Matthew Jacobs

Photo By: Garrett Ellison
LSU Trumpeter Garrett Ellison

During the 1930s, the LSU marching band was nicknamed “The Show Band of the South” thanks to its rousing halftime performances, and the name is even more fitting today. That is just one part of a colorful history that has made the university’s marching band a staple of the LSU football experience. A rigorous practice schedule readies these talented musicians who serenade and amplify Tiger Stadium for LSU’s famous cheers. Senior Garrett Ellison talks with 225 about what it’s like to play his part in such a regal group.

What’s an average game day like for you and the band?

We have to show up pretty early. Normally, if it’s a 7 p.m. game, we have to show up around noon. We have practice in the indoor football field, and we’ll have that for maybe two and a half or three hours. And then after that, what we do is we go back to the Band Hall, and they normally have a meal catered for us, and we eat. We normally march down the hill a couple of hours before the game. So around 5 p.m. we’ll line up and get ready to march.

How is the music that Tiger Band plays selected?

It’s kind of hard to come up with Tiger Band songs that we play, because everyone has to like it. So we have to choose something that’s not really new and current, because then the older crowd will turn their nose up at it. But we can’t pick stuff that’s too old, because then the student section won’t like it.

Is there ever a song that you get tired of playing?

“Hey, Fighting Tigers” is like that, even though we still love it every time we play it. It’s because that’s the song that we loop and play again and again at a parade or that we play while we march across the field at the end of halftime. But it’s become a running joke in Tiger Band.

Is your hearing ever affected by being around so many loud instruments?

There have been occasions. Sometimes my ears are ringing after a game or sometimes I have a headache, but that’s not too big of a deal, and I’m kind of used to that. If you do marching band through high school, even though Tiger Band’s sound is exponentially louder, you get used to it.


Musician Recalls his First Tigerama, Now He's Part of It


Shoes shuffled in the dark; Taylor Gilbert didn’t quite know what to expect.  He knew only that the LSU Tiger Band was on stage next, and he wanted to be a part of it some day.  That day would arrive, because here he now stood, trumpet in hand, standing outside the new Tiger Band Hall, sharing section leader duties with fellow trumpeter Robert Wallace.

But things were different that night that now seems so long ago. Gilbert was a student at St. Amant High School, and he was attending one of the band’s annual Tigerama concerts.  That’s when the spotlight is pointed at the band during football season. The band will stage this year’s Tigerama on Tuesday, Oct. 23, in Pete Maravich Assembly Center. The VIP reception begins at 5:30 p.m., followed by the concert at 7 p.m.

Fans will get an up-close look at the Golden Band from Tigerland, along with the Golden Girls and Colorguard, as well as the LSU Cheerleaders. And opening the program are the LSU Wind Ensemble and LSU Symphonic Winds.  And it was near the end of the combined Wind Ensemble and Symphonic Winds performance when the room went dark and Gilbert heard the shuffling of shoes.

“I remember the lights came on, and there was the Tiger Band standing everywhere,” he said.  Well, the brass players minus the tubas.  “And they started playing ‘God of Our Fathers’ with the concert groups,” Gilbert said.  “It’s really amazing to hear ‘God of Our Fathers’ with the Tiger Band brass standing 360 degrees around you,” Wallace added. “It’s my favorite part of Tigerama.”  “Mine, too,” Gilbert agreed.

Gilbert is a junior majoring in music education. This is his third year to be a Tiger Band member. Wallace is a senior majoring in biochemistry. This is his fourth year in the band.  And this is the first year both have taken a hand in making Tigerama work.

This year, all proceeds from the concert will benefit the band, so director Roy King thought it would be appropriate for band members to have responsibility for promoting the event.  “He thought more people would be open to buying tables if band members were selling them,” Wallace said.  So, leaders of the band’s different instrumental sections were given a challenge. They were to rally their troops to sell tables for the event.  “The section selling the most will get a prize, which is the chance to mingle with the VIP crowd before the concert,” Collin Barry said.  He’s the band’s drum major, a senior music education major from Austin, Texas.  “They’ll get to hang out, eat the food and meet everyone,” Barry said.

And in the end, Tigerama has become something different — something more. It’s theirs.  “We think of it differently,” Devin Chamberlin said.  She’s leader of the mellophone section and a third-year member of the band. She’s also a junior from Tampa, Fla.  “We feel an ownership,” she continued. “I’d never done anything like this before. I would call people, and they would ask me to call back at 8:30. I had a class at 8:30, so I would have to run out of class and call. They would ask for my name, then tell me that the person wasn’t in. I learned a lot about what people in advertising have to go through.”

But all wasn’t bad.  “We put it out on Facebook and Twitter,” Gilbert said. “We’d get emails with suggestions of people to call.”  Those daily emails led to more table seats being sold, which generated more funds for the band. Outside forces didn’t make this happen; band members did.  “It really changes the way we look at it,” Gilbert said.

Yet some things will always remain the same. Audience members will anticipate the band’s march into the Assembly Center and cheer when it opens its part of the program with those first four notes of “Tiger Rag” that begin the “Pregame” song.  And the crowd will continue to cheer when the band runs through its fight songs, as well as the lineup of numbers it’s performed at halftime in Tiger Stadium up to this point. Of course, the Golden Girls, Colorguard and cheerleaders will get their share of applause, too.

But there are other groups that will get deserved praise, as well. Sure the Wind Ensemble and Symphonic Winds aren’t as well known as the Tiger Band, but they are part of the LSU Band Department. They annually combine forces to perform a few crowd favorites, including a song called “LSU Rhapsody.”  “That’s my favorite part of the program,” Barry said. “I’m in the Symphonic Winds, and I love the part where the horns are playing the Alma Mater in that song. I also love when the Tiger Band sings the Alma Mater at the end.”  “I love playing the ‘LSU Rhapsody,’ too,” Chamberlin said.  She’s a member of the Wind Ensemble, as well as the Tiger Band. But she and Barry are officially members of the concert groups when it’s time to play “God of Our Fathers.”

Gilbert was quiet for a moment. Yes, he was in high school when he first witnessed “God of Our Fathers” at Tigerama.  Now he’s one of the musicians playing that song in an event he helped put together.

WAFB - Tiger Band Makes 5-year-old's Dream Come True
This story was originally posted on WAFB on October 13, 2012.

By Kelsey Davis




While the LSU football team and Tiger fans have been gearing up for this game all week, one little boy from Baton Rouge has been holding out all summer. Saturday, the Golden Band from Tigerland made one this kid’s lifelong dream come true.

For most of his life, five year old Oliver Prats was a LSU band spectator.

“Oliver was born with Spina Bifida which causes paralysis below the waist,” said Lacy Prats, Oliver’s mother. “He uses a wheel chair to ambulate. So in therapy he can walk with braces and walker. So we always tell him to pretend that he’s marching with LSU marching band.”

But Saturday he did not have to pretend. After band director Roy King saw a picture of little Oliver in a miniature band uniform on Facebook this summer, he and his staff decided to bring Oliver in on the action.

“We’re going to start off where the band steps off at the Greek Amphitheater. And Oliver’s going to lead the band, literally, through the streets down the hill and into the P-MAC,” said Trey Prats, Oliver’s Dad.

Oliver, who was a little shy at first, absolutely transformed as he lead his heroes through a sea of purple and gold. After a long summer of waiting for this special day, that Oliver and his parents never dreamed of, this little boy’s lifelong dream has come true

“These kids go through so much. All day yesterday, in fact, we were in New Orleans at doctor’s appointments all day. He’s got a tough life. He really does. And you know days like this just makes it all worth it, and it just brings a smile on his face,” said Lacy Prats.

After all of the pre-game band fun, Oliver and his parents also got to spend the entire football game sitting in the stands with the band.

Copyright 2012 WAFB. All rights reserved.


Geaux Tigers!  LHS Senior Will Be Off To Play Tuba in LSU Band

LACONIA — Katherina Beliveau was dead-set on attending the University of Alabama, so she could fulfill her dream of playing in halftime shows for a football team playing in the mighty Southeastern Conference (SEC). However, her parents insisted that she broaden her search.
"My parents were like, you have to apply to more than just 'Bama," she said. 
As a member of the marching band, concert band, jazz band and pep band, as well as a couple of local community bands, the Laocnia High School senior is far more concerned with what happens during the half-time show than the events that precede or follow. So, she searched YouTube for college marching bands in the SEC, and one performance cut her search short. 
"I was so blown away, every section had their choreography, the music was awesome. I said, I don't know what school this is, but I have to go here." 
The performance, as it turned out, was by the marching band for Louisiana State University — "The Golden Band From Tiger Land". 
"Ever since then, I've been focused on LSU," she said.  And it helped that LSU offers a journalism program, which is Beliveau's chosen major field of study.
Music is something that Beliveau has always "tinkered with," she said, but only recently did she start taking the pursuit seriously.
Though now a Laconian, Beliveau spent her first years in Mannheim, Germany, the product of a native German mother and an American father stationed abroad while serving in the U.S. armed forces. In 2006, her family moved to Laconia. 
Beliveau speaks German fluently and has dual citizenship.
Though she's only been in Laconia for about seven years, she's made the most of that time. "I don't like sitting around and doing nothing. I just keep myself busy." 
At a local nursing home, she's volunteered 2,500 hours. She's worked at the ice cream stand that was operated in the Laconia Antique Center. She performs in dramatic productions at the high school, recently playing the female lead role in "Oliver". This summer, she'll spend her time washing boats at Channel Marine and selling merchandise at the Bank of New Hampshire Pavilion at Meadowbrook. Someone who keeps herself informed of world events, Beliveau occasionally sketches political cartoons, a couple of which have been published on The Daily Sun's letters to the editor page.
Yet, amid all the above activities, and her schoolwork, Beliveau also found the time to teach herself to play two instruments, in order to be a part of the LHS marching band. Her parents first tried to dissuade her, arguing that she didn't know how to play any instruments featured in marching bands. But, after cajoling and pleading through her freshman year, her parents relented. Over the course of a summer, she solved the puzzle of the clarinet. However, after a year of playing, she decided that the woodwind was to demure for her tastes, that she wanted something with more substance. When a graduating senior left a hole in the band that no-one else would fill, Beliveau found the right instrument to fit her voice.
In a way, her family has prophesized, at least in jest, her musical destiny. "It was always kind of a joke in my family: 'Why don't you just play the tuba?'" One day in the spring of 2011, she brought home the huge brass instrument. The outgoing tubist showed her enough to make a sound on the instrument, and she took it from there. She exclaimed, "It's the biggest darn thing in the band!"
She's been playing tuba for less than two years but has managed to amass a great deal of experience with her instrument. She, for example, is the first tuba player in the Laconia High School jazz band, which requires her to transpose all of her sheet music to fit her range.
That experience paid off a few months ago, when she e-mailed a video audition to the LSU band director. When she called to confirm its receipt, the receptionist told her to wait a week for a reply, instead the director, Roy King, rang her back within 10 minutes to welcome her to band camp this summer, where she'll work to earn the honor of wearing gold and purple, the Tigers' colors. "I'm super excited," she said.
Due to her citizenship status, she could have attended a German university for no charge. However, she said, "I'm a band geek," and universities in Germany don't have marching bands. She'll still get a bargain on her tuition, though, because she's planning to enroll in both the reserve officers' training corps and the Louisiana National Guard. 
Although a passion for her, she plans to treat music as a hobby rather than a professional pursuit. Instead, she's got her eye on journalism. She loves to write — she was twice a state finalist in the Constitution Day Essay Contest — and thinks she's make a good news anchor.
Whatever it is she does, it's fair to expect she'll approach it with more of a tuba's punch rather than a clarinet's whisper. "I just want to be productive, and do things that people will see," she said. "I want to be known."

Katharina Beliveau, a senior at Laconia High School, will be attending Louisiana State University in the fall, a school she chose specifically so she could play in its marching band. (Laconia Daily Sun photo/Adam Drapcho)


LSU band director Roy King will march with wife, daughter when alumni band takes field              


Ladies and gentlemen, we yield the floor to Roy King.

“And I would like to say that Olivia considers it an honor to be marching with her mother and father,” he said. He smiles. Olivia King does a slight eye roll before shooting him a “get real” glance.

She’s Roy King’s daughter, and she’s a first-year member of the LSU Tiger Marching Band’s Colorguard. Her dad is director of the band, as well as a former member. Mom Monya King also is a former band member, having headed the Colorguard at the same time Roy King was the section leader of the drums. She was known as Monya Gordon in those days; she met her husband in the band. They married, and in 1993, became parents to Olivia King. “Monya and I came back in 1993 to participate in the band reunion,” Roy King said.

Things are different now. As a member of the Colorguard, Olivia King already will be on the field with the band. Her mom, meantime, participated in the Colorguard’s 40th anniversary celebration in 2011 and returns in 2012. The only missing puzzle piece would have been Roy King who usually would be directing the band at halftime. “But Frank will be back for the reunion, so the band will be in good hands,” Roy King said. He speaks of Frank Wickes, who retired in 2010 after 30 years as LSU’s director of bands.

So, Roy King will trade his baton for a set of drumsticks, which hasn’t been so easy. “You really have to be in shape to play the drums,” Roy King said. “I’m not there yet, but I’ll get there.” He said this while sitting in his office in the Old Tiger Band Hall between game day rehearsal and the band’s step-off time for LSU’s game against the University of Idaho. Monya King sat on the opposite side of his desk, as did Olivia, dressed in her Colorguard uniform. Roy King later would lead the band to Tiger Stadium, but for the moment, he gathered with his family to talk about the big night when all three will stand on the football field. It will mark the first time a director of the Tiger Band has relinquished his halftime duties to march with the alumni band. Then again, not every director has been an LSU alumnus.

Wickes was director for 30 years and was Roy King’s director when King was a member of the drum section from 1979 to 1983. Roy King earned both his bachelor’s degree in music education and master’s degree in wind conducting from LSU. Wickes hired Roy King as assistant band director in 1998, and King was named director after associate director Linda Moorhouse accepted a position as a visiting professor at the University of Illinois after Wickes’ retirement.

And through the years, Olivia King spent her football seasons sitting behind the LSU Colorguard. She learned all of the dances they performed in the stands, and she performed with them. Well, no one could see her performing. Colorguard members stand up when the band plays, so no one could see the little girl imitating their moves. Now the little girl is one of 32 who wear the Colorguard’s velvet uniforms.

“Olivia worked hard to make the Colorguard,” Roy King said. “And it’s important to her that everyone knows that she didn’t receive special treatment. She even made the Colorguard’s first line in the pre-game show. This is something she worked hard to achieve, and she continues to work hard to prove that she is worthy of membership.” Not that Olivia King didn’t receive a little parental advice along the way. Prospective Colorguard members are required to develop an original routine for auditions. Now, Olivia King also is a trumpet player, having played in the band at St. Michael the Archangel High School. “But I’m a better Colorguard member than I am a trumpet player,” she said. Besides, she was already a Colorguard fan. And mom once was the Colorguard captain.

So, she turned to mom for advice on the audition routine. “Olivia came up with the audition,” Monya King said, “I just gave her some tips. But the routine was hers, and we’re proud of her work.”

So proud that mom and dad decided to join daughter on the field when former LSU Band members join current ones in marching halftime during LSU’s game against Towson University on Saturday. The halftime show is the highlight of the annual LSU Tiger Band Reunion weekend. “We have between 225 and 250 people who have signed up so far,” Roy King said. That was as of Sept. 15. More may have signed up since then.

“I’ll go change out of my director’s clothes and into my reunion clothes before halftime,” Roy King said. “I’ll change back into my director’s clothes afterward.” And for the duration of a halftime show, the Kings all will be band members together for the first time. Just band members.

So, how does Olivia King really feel about this? She laughs. Yeah, dad spoke up for her earlier, and though she’s still getting used to having to be around him every day at school, she’s having fun. And the idea of marching with her parents is special. “I’m definitely excited,” she said.

Which says it all.


Tiger Marching Band takes dry run rehearsal in preparation for season opener

This story was originally posted on the Advocate, August 26, 2012.

Arts writer

So it begins.

The first rush from the curb and on to Dalrymple Drive, the first whistle, the first step toward Tiger Stadium. Ladies and gentlemen, presenting your 2012 LSU Tiger Marching Band.

Well, there actually are not any announcements at this point, and the smattering of LSU fans along the way are the only ones who will hear the band’s first performance of the “Pre-Game” song at the bottom of Victory Hill outside the stadium. This is the band’s dry run rehearsal march from the Greek Theater to Tiger Stadium at the end of its two-week pre-season band camp. It happens every year on the Saturday morning before the first day of class in the fall semester, after the final roster cuts have been made.

More than 400 showed up at camp. Band director Roy King and new assistant director Dennis Llinas whittled the number down to the band’s seasonal 325 during the week. And now, LSU Tiger fans, here’s your band, marching down Dalrymple toward Stadium Drive on a hot August morning. Again, some of the people along the parade route are parents. Others are fans who have claimed spots along the street just to watch.

“We heard about it last night on the news,” Melinda Bender said.

“I sat in the student section during my freshman year. But it was nothing like coming into the stadium with the band today. ” – Jennifer Chaung, one of seven band managers  

She stood on the curb, her 7-year-old son Russell next to her in his purple, No. 7 LSU jersey. It seems Russell Bender is a “Honey Badger” fan.

Tyrann Mathieu, The “Honey Badger,” won’t be here this year, but the band will, as it always has in the past. Even when it was relegated to rehearsing only outside.

For 50 years, the band really had no place to escape nature’s elements. Oh, it had a band room, but the hall was too small to house even the band’s 150 members in 1952, when it was built alongside the LSU Music and Dramatic Arts Building. And through the years, as the band more than doubled in size, the practice field was the only place that could accommodate it. Until now. Construction on the new Tiger Band Hall is complete, and it officially opened with a ribbon-cutting ceremony last spring. And for the first time in half a century, the band has a roof over its head. “We love it,” Dario Scalco said.


Scalco is a junior from Dallas majoring in political science. He’s also the section leader for the baritones, who gathered at the top of the Greek Theater as he spoke. “We have plenty of room now,” Scalco continued. “It’s a place where we can actually fit everyone, including the Golden Girls and the Colorguard. Before, the only places we could be inside were the Field House or the IFF.”

IFF is technical jargon for the LSU football team’s indoor football facility. The band also makes use of the facility, as it did later on this day. “The section leaders and the staff came to campus early, and we were given a tour of the new band hall,” Scalco said. “Now it’s come full circle, and the whole band is in there. It’s a lot better. We can walk straight from the band room on to our practice field. We’re not cramped anymore, and we feel appreciated. But now we’re wishing for phase II to be completed.”

Phase II will be an administration building housing directors’ offices. But make no mistake. No one is complaining. Band members are grateful for their new home. Later that morning, they left the stadium for the first march to their new digs. For now, fans watched, anticipated. Some later slipped through stadium gates to listen and cheer while the band rehearsed in the stands. Sept. 1 can’t come soon enough for these onlookers. That’s the day LSU opens the 2012 season against North Texas State University.

The day Collin Barry will take the field as the band’s new drum major. Barry sat in and marched in the trumpet section up until this time and was the section leader last year. He was drum major at Westlake High School in Austin, Texas, before coming to LSU to major in music education. And besides getting his degree, his goal was to be the Tiger Band’s drum major. Barry finally gets his chance in his senior year. “I’m ready,” he said. “I’m just going to take the advice my mom and girlfriend gave me. They both told me just to have fun with it, and I will.”

Back to Melinda Bender, who let her 16-year-old daughter Caitlyn sleep in on this morning. Caitlyn, Bender said, plays trumpet at Christian Life Academy. “But I just thought Russell and I would come out here and watch,” she said.


Standing near her was a family whose young daughter dressed for the occasion in a miniature LSU cheerleading outfit. Of course, almost everyone along the route was wearing some combination of purple and gold.

And, it seemed, almost everyone was capturing the moment with cellphones, cameras and iPads. Such devices were lost on LSU’s live tiger mascot, Mike the Tiger, who began running circles around his habitat at the sound of approaching drums. This was his territory. And his band. His band that stopped at the bottom of Victory Hill outside Tiger Stadium to pound out the “Pre-Game” song for the morning faithful. His band that marched through North Gate 6 beneath the sign declaring, “Through this gate enters the All American Golden Band from Tigerland.” His band that ran through “Hey Fightin’ Tigers,” “Tiger Bandits” and “Eye of the Tiger” in the merciless sun that left band members soaked in sweat.

Even in the blazing heat, Jennifer Chaung couldn’t hide her awe. She’s one of the band’s seven managers, the people who make sure everything runs smoothly. Managers handed out water to band members as they entered the stadium. The managers carry extra uniform parts to games in case someone loses something along the way. They make sure everything is in its right place. Chaung originally had tried out for the colorguard this season but didn’t make the final cut. “Her attitude was so great, that we asked her to be one of the managers,” King said. She is a sophomore from Dallas majoring in political science. “I sat in the student section during my freshman year,” she said. “But it was nothing like coming into the stadium with the band today. This is a whole different perspective, and I love it. I can’t wait to see what it’s like on game day.” And she enjoys her new manager’s position so much that she might decide to keep it in coming years. “That’s not to say I wouldn’t try out for colorguard again,” Chaung said. “I might. But I really love what I’m doing now,.”

And speaking of the colorguard, it’s being fronted by two new co-captains this year, Suzanne Rewerts and Angelle Kerek. Both are juniors, meaning they will automatically be back as co-captains next year. Rewerts is from Lake Charles and is majoring in fashion merchandising. Kerek is from Gonzales and is pursuing a double major in psychology and sociology. Both have been colorguard members since their freshman year of college. Now they’re the leaders, which includes choreographing all routines for the stands and field. “We don’t have a choreographer working with us — it’s just us,” Kerek said. “We usually get all of the music for the season during band camp, and we come up with the routines each week.” Rewert and Kerek create the routines on Mondays, when the band is off from rehearsal. They teach it to the 30 other members of the colorguard on Tuesday, then add it to the band’s show. “Then we perform it on Saturday,” Kerek said. “It’s intense.”

This year, the colorguard has 15 returning members and 15 new members. And though many fans’ eyes may be fixed on the Golden Girls during featured dance numbers, it’s a given that they would miss the colorguard if it weren’t there. For without the flags, there would be no flash.


She, Kerek and the rest of the team wore shorts and T-shirts on this day, and they were drenched in sweat. Imagine game day, when they’ll be decked out in velvet and sequins. “Oh, it’s hot,” Rewert said. “The velvet just keeps the heat in.” But it’s OK, because it’s all a part of being in the band, as is the hazard of marching back to the band hall after the game.

Tuba leader Carson Allgood explained this to his section as the band lined up to exit the stadium. “People will try to break through the line,” he said. “You never let them through.” And trying this with the tuba section definitely isn’t recommended. Carson is a junior from Shreveport majoring in biology. “We don’t really have a big problem with this at home games,” he continued. “It happens more with fans from opposing teams at away games, especially if LSU beats them. They’re mad, and they try to break through the band. Last year, one guy was really mad. He was trying to break through the tubas, and he ended up getting elbowed in the face.” Carson paused for a moment, then smiled. “The rumor was that we killed somebody,” he concluded, laughing.


That’s last year’s history. This year’s history has already begun with the band’s trek to its new home. The band traditionally would halt at the Greek Theatre, but King mapped out a new route through the north campus parking lot leading to the band hall on Aster Street, stopping momentarily to allow a panicked coed to back her car out of a space. Then stop and back it out again. And finally drive off after going forward and backing up a third time. “Women shouldn’t drive,” the drum section teasingly chanted, when finally moving forward. Hey, it’s all in fun. It’s all a part of a new season filled with new possibilities.

And, ladies and gentlemen, it’s your 2012 LSU Tiger Marching Band.



LSU College of Music & Dramatic Arts Unveils New Tiger Band Hall at Ribbon Cutting Event

On April 26, LSU unveiled its new home for "The Golden Band from Tigerland," officially cutting the ribbon on the new Tiger Band Hall facility at an event hosted by the LSU College of Music & Dramatic Arts.

The 17,740-square-foot complex, located on Aster Street near Highland Road and just beyond the campus' north gates, will be used by for rehearsals by the Tiger Band and the LSU School of Music's entire band area, including the Wind Ensemble, Symphonic Winds and Symphonic Band concert groups.

"The new Tiger Band Hall is a welcome addition to support a very visible entity that is closely identified with the spirit, identity, pride and passion of LSU," said Laurence Kaptain, dean of the LSU College of Music & Dramatic Arts. "This will be the fourth building in the LSU College of Music & Dramatic Arts, and our faculty and students will benefit greatly from the much needed space for storage and rehearsals as well as the teaching, learning and creativity that emanates from our band program and other areas."

Serenaded by members of the Tiger Band performing songs that the LSU community has come to know and love, a host of supporters and campus officials toured the facility during the event, led by members of the band as well as members of the Colorguard and Golden Girls. A luncheon followed the festivities.

The overall cost to construct the facility came in at $8.7 million, with up to $10 million approved by state government for the project, LSU Director of Facility Development Emmett David said. He added that a competitive bid process led to the project coming in under budget, and that unused dollars were returned to the state's general fund.

"The original costs projected in 2007 were more than $10 million dollars, and we are very proud that the Tiger Band Hall came in well under those original budget estimates," Kaptain said. "With the lower construction costs due to the recession, this stands as positive fiscal news in higher education during this difficult time in the nation's economy."

New Orleans architecture firm Howard Performance Architecture designed the complex, and Baton Rouge building contractor firm Percy J. Matherne Contractor Inc. served as the project's general contractor.

Making of a masterpiece

Planning for the new Tiger Band Hall dates back more than three decades, when recently retired Director of Bands Frank Wickes arrived at LSU and began efforts to create a new space for the LSU bands.

The current band hall - tucked away behind the Music & Dramatic Arts Building - was constructed hastily in 1959, after the original hall and its contents were destroyed in a devastating fire the prior year, LSU Director of Athletic Bands Roy King said.

"From the start, the space was too small," said King, who was a drummer in Tiger Band when Wickes arrived in 1980. "Band membership numbered 180 at that time. The space was built to only hold 140 players. Today, the band has a membership of 325 members, so we needed to find some way to accommodate those numbers."

The lack of space also meant inadequate storage facilities for instruments and band uniforms, King said. For years, the band was forced to store many of its larger instruments and other equipment in four semi-trailers that sit near the edge of the band's practice field.

"Those trailers are not climate controlled, so the instruments would sit out there in the blazing hot Louisiana summers," King said. "That's not a good environment to keep much of anything in, especially sensitive musical instruments."

Most storage concerns have been eliminated with the new Tiger Band Hall, a facility with separate climate controlled spaces to accommodate everything from musical instruments, field equipment and band uniforms to Colorguard banners and Golden Girl uniform accessories.

The lobby area features an illuminated trophy case. LCD flat screen televisions will also be installed for the band's tradition of watching afternoon football games prior to their night game performances.

Meanwhile, the energy efficient building also includes sensors and other "smart" devices to control the climate and assure that lighting is managed economically.

The new Tiger Band Hall is also equipped with the latest in digital audio and video technology, Kaptain said. High-speed internet connectivity will allow for distance learning, teaching and collaborative activities with other schools throughout Louisiana, as well as for the Tiger Band students themselves.

"This facility is more than just a band hall," Kaptain said. "This is a learning space for the course MUS 4250. Tiger Band is a credit class for our School of Music students, and can be claimed as an elective credit by non-music majors."

The centerpiece of the new Tiger Band Hall is the band's first ever indoor rehearsal space, which is about the size of a standard basketball court.

King said the concept for the size of the rehearsal room was determined by using the floor space of the Pete Maravich Assembly Center. He noted that, when seated, the Tiger Band takes up the dimensions of a basketball court.

"When architects asked us how big all the spaces and critical adjacencies needed to be, that's how we came up with the square footage for the big room," he said.

According to King, the design of the rehearsal hall is intentional and takes into account certain Tiger Band traditions and best practices. To this end, a 15-foot wide projection screen is available for the band to review their halftime performance immediately after returning from Tiger Stadium on home game days. Also, designated walls are mirrored to accommodate Colorguard and Golden Girl rehearsals.

Every element of the rehearsal room is tied to the acoustical system, from the double set of motorized purple velvet curtains that line the walls surrounding the room, to the angled walls. The curtains also control light from the clerestory windows that surround the rehearsal room.

"The room can be adjusted to accommodate everything from the full Tiger Band to the 60 piece Wind Ensemble," King said. "An ensemble conductor can alter the acoustics of the room as needed. The irregular nature of the slat work was done for the acoustical properties and diffuses the sound as it hits the wall."

Outside, the band will continue using its current practice field for rehearsals of halftime performances. However, now overlooking the field is a specially designed observation tower with a 133-square-foot base, providing a safer observation area for King and other staff members to survey formations.

"We've never had a permanent conductor's tower before now," King said. "This tower is one of the best of its kind anywhere in the conference or, quite possibly, the nation."

King said that the exteriors of both the band hall and tower were designed to match the Italian Renaissance style of many buildings in the LSU Quadrangle, in order to maintain the university's architectural theme. The administrative offices of the band area will remain in the current Band Hall, along with the area for instrument maintenance and repair.

Kaptain said when Tiger Band is not using the facility, its use can be extended for activities that will benefit students and support LSU College of Music & Dramatic Arts faculty, such as evening concerts and recitals.

"Louisiana taxpayers should know that this space will be used for maximum benefit and will not sit empty when Tiger Band is not in session," he said.

The site also features a courtyard lined with engraved bricks. Alumni, family and friends of Tiger Band are able to purchase bricks there for engraving. More information on purchasing bricks can be found at Other funding opportunities for the Tiger Band Hall are also available. For more information, contact Miriam Overton with the LSU College of Music & Dramatic Arts at (225) 578-8594 or, or contact the LSU Foundation at 225-578-3811, toll free at 1-800-452-7928 or email

Banding together

Funding for the new Tiger Band Hall project was made possible through numerous sources, both private and public. Through an action of the 2007 Legislature, the state of Louisiana appropriated $5 million toward construction of the new hall. However, to gain these funds, the university was required to provide a $5 million match in 2008. To do this, the LSU System and LSU Athletics vowed to commit $4.5 million to the project through proceeds from athletics ticket sales. Meanwhile, private donors raised approximately $2 million toward construction of the facility through the Forever LSU campaign.

"Due to prudent planning, support from the state Legislature, LSU Athletics and many generous donors, this building is built to last for more than 80 years and is equipped with the technology and storage capacity commensurate with the nation's finest collegiate marching band," Kaptain said. "We are very grateful to the members of the Louisiana State Legislature, the many private donors who stepped up when called, and for all of the support from the LSU Athletic Department, LSU campus and system officials who saw the need and responded forthrightly."

"LSU is extremely fortunate to have the support of state government as well as LSU Athletics, alumni and private donors, whose combined efforts have helped us to create a top-notch facility for a top-notch organization such as Tiger Band," said LSU Chancellor Michael Martin. "This state-of-the-art facility will afford an outstanding group of students, faculty and staff the opportunity to build upon an already stellar legacy of musical education and entertainment. We offer our sincere thanks to everyone who had a hand in making this dream a reality."

LSU Vice Chancellor and Director of Athletics Joe Alleva said that the new band hall's opening "ushers in a new era for the already rich history of Tiger Band."

"The LSU Athletic Department is pleased to have participated in such a significant way in helping construct the band hall, and we look forward to the opportunities this new facility will offer Tiger Band members for many years to come," Alleva said.

To learn more about LSU Tiger Band or other performing groups within the band area, visit