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K-State Today

July 31, 2020

K-State bands gone virtual

Submitted by Alex Wimmer

The K-State band program has gone virtual this summer. The band staff has been busy organizing, administering and running programs to help students and band directors in Kansas, as well as across the country.

The program's annual Leadership and Auxiliary Camp — July 13-14 — presented clinics, sectionals and master classes to more than 350 students from across the country in a virtual format. Alex Wimmer, assistant director of bands and camp director, organized the online experience utilizing our very own K-State band staff, section leaders and music education majors. Frank Tracz, director of bands, provided three leadership sessions for the students, and internationally acclaimed motivator Tim Lautzenheiser provided a tremendous final session to the high school students, band directors and parents participating in the camp.

Tracz was also a clinician for Conn-Selmer's first-ever online program for music teachers, Conn-Selmer Connect, June 8-9. The program drew more than 2,500 band and orchestra teachers from around the world for a very productive and informative two-day event in June.

The band staff organized marching band instrument delivery for this fall's Kansas State University Marching Band members. They delivered more than 150 marching band instruments across Kansas in the first-ever Stonestreet Truck Delivery Trip. Students registered online for an instrument and Bryant Kniffin, band manager and K-State alumnus; and Tracz drove from Manhattan to Salina, west to Great Bend, east to Wichita, up to Kansas City, west to Topeka, and finally back home to Manhattan with an empty truck. They also delivered hope along with the instruments to band members to prepare for this fall.

The band has also created a website with a video training series for all band members to watch to learn our marching fundamentals and pre-game music. Section leaders and drum majors recorded these videos following an organized sequence of what and how to prepare to be a part of the marching band.

The band program has also launched a virtual K-State Band Pandemic Relief program, offering online clinics, videos and Zoom sessions to high school and middle school band programs across the country in preparation for a different and unknown band season. Sessions on motivation, student leadership, marching fundamentals, music rehearsals and more were presented by Tracz, Wimmer, band graduate assistants and undergraduate section leaders. The program began this summer and will continue throughout the school year.