Sounds of the band, drum line and many other ensembles can be heard daily overflowing from the TJC band hall.

These sounds come from the dozens of students enrolled in not only the marching band or ensembles, but students who are also taking private lessons or are music majors. The band hall was originally intended to hold only 75 students, but 190 students are currently enrolled in marching band alone.

“The marching band itself cannot rehearse inside except for music rehearsals or inclement weather. Whenever we have (played inside), the band has a sustained decibel level as that of a jet aircraft on takeoff,” Director of Bands Thomas Mensch said.

The jazz band and drum line also practice in the band hall, and almost reaches the same decibel levels.

Another problem with the band hall is that it has no soundproof practice rooms for the 45 students that are required to practice for two hours each day.

“We need practice rooms, and new offices for the directors and instructors would be nice too,” Patrick Parker TJC saxophone player said.

While there may be other rooms in the Music building, they are not sound proof and practicing in them would mean disturbing other classes. This is why most students choose to practice on the stairs outside the band hall.

Students are ready for a new band hall and they are quite open with their opinions about needed improvements.

“We have been told we were getting a new band hall for some time now. We hardly get any recognition for the work we do. I think a new facility is long overdue,” Beth Baker, co-captain of color guard and indoor drum line manager, said.

What is not well-known is that TJC officials are trying to do something to alleviate the problems with the band hall and other areas around TJC campus.

Last January focus groups were put together to identify the current and future needs of TJC’s campus and students. Early this summer, 2008, President Mike Metke put together the Strategic Planning Core Committee, which includes students, staff, alumni and the community.

“This committee, with the information gathered by the focus groups, worked with Randall Scott Architects who were hired as consultants to develop the Master Plan that looks at the physical plant needs of the college that would tie into the Strategic Plan,” said Provost Butch Hayes.

The plans were presented to the Board of Trustees late last year, and the members of the board were taken on a tour of the campus to be shown the problems that are addressed in the recommended plans.

“Tyler Junior College is the only college that I am aware of that does not provide individual practice rooms for students seeking a degree in instrumental music performance or education,” Mensch said.

Although the plans have not been finalized, the Board of Trustees is working diligently with the architects to complete them. These plans are not specific to which area of need will be addressed first but improvements for the band hall are included. There is no estimated cost for the projected plans; however, it is known that a donor is needed to help finance the plans for the TJC band hall.

To find out more information on the TJC band or the projected plans for improvement to the band hall you can contact Thomas Mensch at tmen@tjc.edu or Butch Hayes at bhay2@tjc.edu.

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