By Christian Colon
The Sacred Heart University Band started the new year announcing their partnership with a drums corps known as the Connecticut Hurricanes (CT Hurricanes).
Beginning in February, members of the Hurricanes will come to Sacred Heart and give workshops and training sessions to those involved in the band program. There will also be clinics where the students will get a glimpse of the daily life of a Hurricane.
“We have forged an educational partnership that’s designed to help strengthen the CT Hurricanes overall structure, and help them establish some organizational stability. In return, the Sacred Heart band will have access to an expanded instructional staff, as well as joint opportunities for SHU band members,” said Keith Johnston, director of bands at Sacred Heart. “Our first project will be Feb. 19 when SHU marching band members will do a spring training session with the Hurricanes.”
Brian Maroldt, executive director of the Hurricanes, said he will send qualified, professional staff members who have pursued a masters degree in the arts. He said this new program will help the university’s band program grow and become a bigger and better program.
The CT Hurricanes are three time champions in the Drum Corps Associates, also known as DCA. However, over the past five or six years, they have experienced some challenges in recruiting both staff and members.
“Last fall we reached out to over 450 band directors around the state in order to recruit more members. Keith was one of the directors that got back to us. After that we got together and started this great partnership,” said Maroldt.
The partnership will be a recruitment opportunity for both the Hurricanes as well as for Sacred Heart. High school students within the Hurricanes who are looking for colleges will be able to learn more about the band program at Sacred Heart. On the other hand, those undergraduate students at Sacred Heart will have the opportunity to eventually apply and become part of the Hurricanes.
Maroldt said how being in the CT Hurricanes is a hobby. Students apply and join to compete and connect with other college and high school students.
“This new partnership will definitely be beneficial and very fun, however I do feel very nervous because I do not know what to expect,” said freshman Kelly Aarons.
According to Johnston, this will be the first time ever the Sacred Heart Band has partnered with a prestigious group.
“The CT Hurricanes are a very respectable group of musicians. Because I live in Connecticut, I hope I can really take advantage of this group even when I am not in school,” said junior Eric Cassidy. “ I am so excited to just get started and improve myself as a percussionist.”
The Sacred Heart Band has a few events coming up. Johnston will be travelling to Cuba after being invited to teach and perform in the Sala Dolores Concert Hall on Feb. 11.
On the other hand, the band will be gearing up for their set of concerts, including Pioneer Blast, and their special performances to Trinity Church Wall Street on April 28 and their tour to Prague and Vienna next January.