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A New Direction

The SHSU Bearkat Marching Band gears up for the coming season while following the lead of a new dire

Entertainment Editor

Published: Thursday, September 2, 2010

Updated: Thursday, September 2, 2010 12:09

There's a new boss in town. Brian Gibbs stepped foot on campus Monday as the new director for the SHSU Bearkat Marching Band, and is settling in to get ready for the upcoming season.

Gibbs is a former music education professor and associate director of the marching band at TCU. He graduated from SMU with a degree in music before going on to receive his masters from Amberton University, and is currently completing his Ph.D. from Walden University.

Although Gibbs missed the summer band training and rehearsals, the late arrival of the new director is not slowing the band down

"I didn't try to just start teaching right away," Gibbs said. "I spent the first rehearsal just watching their procedure because they'd been working hard for a week and they had already done a lot of really good work. I need to catch up with them, not them catch up with me."

Although the first home football game is the third week of September, the band is already getting the first of two shows ready to perform.

"The first thing we're doing is a ‘Blues Brothers' show," Gibbs said. "We're going to have a second show but we don't know exactly what that's going to be. We do have some people that have expressed interest in arranging some things and they have some pretty cool ideas, so we're going to try and do that."

Apart from getting the halftime shows ready for the field, another project may soon occupy the band's time.

"There's some interest in having the marching band do recordings of the fight song and the alma matter and some of the stand tunes that they play all the time," Gibbs said. "There's some interest from alumni to have that kind of thing, and it's also a really good recruiting tool to be able to hand out something when kids are interested in coming to school here."

A major change that high school students have to go through when coming to college and participating in marching band is the lack of formal collegiate competitions.

"That's something that's really different for a lot students who come from very highly competitive high school programs," Gibbs said. "The whole aspect of performance and music when you get to the college level, that in itself is competitive because [although] you are no longer competing with other organizations, it's the individual trying to become the best musician they can be."

"To a certain degree there's a level of competitiveness anytime we're going to be performing at a halftime show with another band present. It really becomes that they're doing this for the enjoyment and the school spirit aspect of it."

Striving for greatness, increasing publicity and boosting school spirit are goals that Gibbs has set for himself while he is here at SHSU.

"What I would like to do is contribute to the success the band has already had and look for opportunities for the band to be more visible," Gibbs said. "I think the band is already recognized as key to school spirit. We want to entice more people to come to football games and be a part of that excitement."

Just like the fans at a football game, Gibbs is excited about this season and discovering what the band can accomplish.

"They're going to be really, really good," Gibbs said. "The band's going to sound good, they're going to look good and I think we're going to  have a lot of fun together."

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