Spirit of Northwestern band directors continue enhancing program’s reputation


The Spirit of Northwestern Marching Band may not be performing on Saturday nights this fall, but the band’s directors remain active working with students and raising the profile and reputation of the program.

Director of Bands Dr. Jeffrey C. Mathews was recently appointed Louisiana state chair for the National Band Association. The National Band Association is the largest professional organization for bands in the world. It was organized for the purpose of promoting the musical and educational significance of bands and is dedicated to the attainment of a high level of excellence for bands and band music.

Mathews has accepted an invitation to serve as the College Band Directors National Association representative on an international task force on band curriculum in the COVID-19 environment. The task force recently released a survey to band directors all over North America asking details about how they are teaching this fall. Mathews will aid in data collection, interpretation and presentation of the data collected from the North American Band Survey. The task force is a joint project between CBDNA, the American Bandmasters Association, the National Band Association and the National Federation of High School Associations.

Assistant Director of Bands Dan McDonald was elected state chair of the Louisiana Chapter of the College Band Directors National Association. In this capacity, he organizes the schedule of college bands at the annual LMEA conference and serves as chair of the biannual Louisiana Intercollegiate Concert Band.

McDonald is also serving on the national CBDNA Athletic Bands Committee. This spring, the committee presented a completely free Virtual Athletic Bands Symposium and opened it to all music educators around the world. The committee continues to pursue ways to assist and guide the music education community through advocacy, lesson planning resources, guidance and research during the current pandemic.

Assistant Director of Bands Dr. Oliver Molina currently serves as Education Committee chair of the Percussive Arts Society and the vice president of the Louisiana Chapter of the Percussive Arts Society.

“None of this happens without the support of the university administration and we sincerely appreciate that support,” said Mathews. “Our students’ dedication to excellence and loyalty to the program make our jobs easy and contributes significantly to the success of the band program.”

Over the past 15 months, Mathews led the NSU Wind Symphony in performance at the World Association of Symphonic Bands and Ensembles International Conference in Bunol, Spain. The band was selected to perform by a panel of wind band conductors from around the world. The Wind Symphony was invited to perform at the College Band Directors National Association (CBDNA) Southern Division Conference. Mathews served as the host of the conference at NSU. Twelve university, high school, and middle school bands performed at the conference. Over 80 band directors and 1,300 students were on campus for the event.

A video of the “Spirit of Northwestern” marching band submitted by McDonald to the CBDNA Southern Division Conference was chosen to be highlighted at the conference. The Spirit of Northwestern performed in front of over 100,000 fans in the Demons game at LSU last season. The halftime included a combined performance with over 650 band members that filled the field.

The Wind Ensemble led by McDonald performed as a clinic band during a conducting symposium at the CBDNA Southern Division Conference. McDonald assisted with rehearsals and conducted a portion of the program on the Wind Symphony’s performance in Buñol, Spain.

In the fall of 2019, Molina’s students won the 2019 Percussive Arts Society International Convention Concert Chamber Ensemble Competition. A percussion ensemble led by Molina was also recently selected to present a New Literature Showcase concert at PASIC in 2020. This performance has been postponed to 2021 due to COVID-19.