TUMB Banquet Awards Process

I thought it might be a good idea to document the process we use for the TUMB Banquet Awards in an effort to promote transparency and an understanding of how awards are chosen.  The process is something that evolved over the first few years of the banquet but has held steady for the past several years.  The process is subject to future tweaks if I feel it’s necessary, but i’m pretty comfortable with the system that we have set in place.

Full Service Awards are awarded to members that will have completed eight semesters in the TUMB by the end of that academic year.

Extended Service Awards are awarded to members that will have completed over eight semesters in the TUMB by the end of that academic year.

Outstanding Section Member Awards: The student leadership (section leaders and drum majors) are given a list of the TUMB membership minus themselves broken down by section.  They all vote independently against that list, and the majority votes win for each section.

KKY Awards: The entire KKY Rho Chapter discusses the potential candidates and decides via committee who receives the awards; for the senior award, all seniors in KKY are excluded from the discussion.

Outstanding First Year Member, Section of the Year, and Spirit Award:

The TUMB staff (including the Shockwave and Color Guard contractors) individually picks two Section of the Year nominees and three Outstanding First Year Member and Spirit Award nominees to be considered for the award.  Those get compiled into a new poll where the staff then votes independently on their first and second choice for all awards.

Any first choice vote earns 5 points and any second choice vote earns 3 points.  The highest point total wins the award.  This process has created at times a rare result where an individual with no first place votes has won the award (when the first place choices are diverse but the second place choices are very narrow).

Director Award: The Director of Bands requests from the TUMB staff a list of up to three nominees for the Director Award.  From that list, he handpicks the award recipient.

The context of National Anthem protesting in marching band

I have a tendency to keep my personal political beliefs out of my online life when it comes to mainstream topics such as our current presidential election, black lives matter, etc. etc.  I do this primarily because I feel like my opinions on those mainstream topics, despite sometimes being nonmainstream, are represented easily enough by my actions and personality and echoed well enough in our currently connected society that my voice doesn’t add significant impact or meaning at the social media platform level.  If i do post something of a political nature, it tends to be about something niche or something that I’m particularly passionate about and/or invested in.

I never intended to make any commentary about the national anthem protests that started happening as a result of Kaepernick, but recently the ripple effect of this has bled into my profession in the marching band arena. (For those not aware of what i’m talking about, members of the ECU marching band and the SMU marching band have recently created headlines due to individual members deciding not to play and/or kneeling during the national anthem.)  Because of that, I feel a responsibility to voice my opinion in that context as a representative and potential influential voice for band directors, members, athletic fans, and marching band fans.  I preface this with the caveat that this is not meant to disrespect views contrary to my own beliefs on the matter; I respect any organization’s choices for how they run themselves.

In the Interest of full disclosure…

pew pew pew…

my brain is firing in about eight different directions right now. these should be written down somewhere for myself if nowhere else.

1. my wind ensemble piece entitled beauty…beholder is almost done. I feel a lot better about it than i did about a week ago because things in the end finally started to click into place. It’s not my best work mainly because i’m out of practice writing original stuff for large groups – the last large ensemble piece i wrote was somewhere around ten years ago, and between 2004-2009 i wasn’t writing any music at all. I’m happy enough with the piece generally, it’ll just need some revision if i ever get it performed again. Hopefully it’s well received, i’m a bit tickled with the shock moment towards the end of the piece. John Cage would be proud.

2. This spring i’m going to try to start writing a percussion quartet for the Portland Percussion Group. Originally i was going to have it be all thematic about my family, but these days i tend to do better writing music based on a musical concept that i then translate to a real one as opposed to starting with a real concept that i then translate to a musical one. I think that will change as i start writing more music again and get reacquainted with how my voice translates to solid ideas.

3. Also this spring i’m planning on putting the pieces together for my musical internet installation project. Basically what i’m planning on doing is buying some muscle wire and playing with it in the hopes that i can attach it to some guitar strings and have a mechanism for heating/cooling the muscle wire and a mechanism for playing the strings that is controlled and activated by both random and controlled actions from the internet. This is very early experimental stages so i can figure out what’s possible.

4. Aside from my nienteForte concert happening this spring, Mark and i had a conversation earlier about trying to pitch playing a percussion duet for the percussion ensemble concert run by Doug Walsh, and we’re already talking about trying to write a duet for the nienteForte concert in 2014. I already have a guest ensemble tentatively lined up for that, and i want to write a piece for *that* group too, which i’ll probably start in early summer right after Jazz Fest.

5. Also in mid-spring i’m going to start thinking about marching band arranging again for Hermiston. Paul was very happy with what i did this past season, so i don’t doubt that i’ll be able to write for the group again.

6. I’m planning on putting together a new music seminar class sometime in the spring semester, a volunteer thing since i can’t officially register a course with the university at this point. I just want to get people excited about some of the music that got me excited in college as well as going out there and finding other music, newer stuff that i don’t know to keep my own creative brain fresh and current.

7. Also this spring i imagine that i’ll be in some final talks with Galaxy Interactive to figure out exactly how my contract is going to work for TerraLife, a project that they anticipate will start occupying a lot of my energy this summer.

8. Sometime a year ago, Tyler and i talked about trying to put together some sort of DDR reunion this coming summer. Originally it was going to be another sight-read tournament, but the context for that sort of thing has died out as far as we’re both concerned, so more and more i’m thinking about making it into some big Johann Sebastian Joust competition or something.

I know i’m missing something, but that’s okay. Brain will continue firing off on all of this probably until next fall. Then i can relax.

In general something that’s come to light from this past fall is that I shouldn’t try to tackle a lot of creative projects in the fall. Thankfully i had the foresight to turn down an opportunity to write a piece for Kim Walker’s fianceé who wanted the piece by around christmas. I said no mainly because i knew that the wind ensemble piece was going to take a major chunk of my time, but the thing that i didn’t anticipate was how busy the fall season was – partially brought on by my rather sudden medical issues, but also because the marching band season was much busier than i anticipated it would be and i didn’t have a whole lot of energy to devote to independent projects.

Granted, it’s not like my spring and summer isn’t occupied a great deal as well, but the method behind that busy is much more in line with creative and original efforts as opposed to the fall semester teaching and administering a marching band organization. Clearly a lot depends on exactly how the football schedule falls out, but i’m starting to come to the conclusion that my creative calendar should be much more dense in the spring and summer than in the fall.

We’ll see what happens. In the meantime, much needed website updates coming soon, time to try to send my Timpani piece off to another publisher for consideration of publishing, and keep the ball rolling.