Southern Arkansas University's band has made an agreement with the college's housing department for members to reside exclusively in Fincher Hall beginning fall 2019.
The Magale Rehearsal Room, in the Richard O. Oliver Band Hall, will also expand to 5,824 square feet to provide extra storage and practice space.
The band now has 143 students, an all-time high that J.P. Wilson, director of bands and assistant professor of music, said he hopes to grow next year by at least 20 students. He added that the size and quality of the band attracts dozens of new applications each day.
"I always felt that a band with 160 members would be the perfect size for SAU," Wilson stated in a press release. "We are knocking on
He said the band being housed exclusively in Fincher Hall was "huge" for them.
"It's fantastic for security and peace of mind," Wilson said. "I'll know where my kids are at all times. I'm tickled that housing has worked with us and given us this opportunity."
Sandra Martin, dean of housing at SAU, said they were excited for the band to move into the hall.
"So many of our band members are involved in campus living and we are happy to provide them a centralized residence hall to foster community and relationship growth among members," she said.
The band is also hiring an assistant director of athletic bands. The position will teach high brass full-time and help run the football and basketball pep band programs. Wilson said he will still be involved with those programs, but will be able to spend more time on the road recruiting.
"It means so much to a kid when we actually come to their school," he said. "It means we care. I plan to be able to visit four to eight high schools each week beginning next fall."
He said that sometimes, in a single hour, he receive mores than 30 new band applications.
"More high school band directors are advocating for our program," he said. "We'll have a full-time high brass teacher. We have a visible marching band and a good concert group. We've shown that we really have something to offer and have established a solid program."