By Randy Seely
After the year that many of us have had, I’m not sure that reviewing the year is in our best interest. On the other hand, there were a lot of positives this year, and maybe as we look back, these are the things that will stand out.
At the beginning of 2021, the board was looking at a few serious issues. Our membership was declining, our technology platform was not meeting our needs, and it appeared at the time that we would not be participating in Homecoming once again.
However, as the year progressed, we started to see some improvements in all these areas. Our technology committee (thanks Becky Burley, Doug Czekaj, and Mark Poblete) began an investigation into new platforms. We were able to find one that suits our organization much better, allowing us to bring what once was a conglomeration of different platforms under one umbrella. Special thanks also to Jon Ford for his help in assisting with this transition.
We also got word that we would be able to participate in Homecoming. Although this would look very different than in past years, we began planning for the event. Julia Stack and her committee once again planned for a Virtual 5K to support the Blue Band Legacy Fund. And once the new platform was operational and our membership saw that there would indeed be a Homecoming this year, our membership numbers improved. Homecoming itself was very different than it has been in year’s past, but with the reduced number of participants and other protocols that were in place, the event was conducted as safely as it could be. Special thanks to all who helped volunteer, especially the Homecoming Committee – Mark and Carol Poblete, Julia Stack, and Johanna Steinbacher. The committee wanted me to note that we appreciated all of the feedback, and are already in discussions to improve the experience for next year.
As the year now draws to a close, despite all the challenges, we managed to end the year on a positive note. Between the Virtual 5K and our Homecoming donation, we were able to contribute over $32,000 to the Blue Band Legacy Fund.
We have begun planning for next year’s Fore the Blue Band Golf Tournament, sadly missed the last two years. (Save the date – June 18, 2022!) Our hope for the next year is that we will be able to continue to grow as an organization and provide our membership with more opportunities to get together as we return to what we believe will be a greater sense of normalcy.
Each year, the Alumni Blue Band Association holds elections for seats on our Board of Directors. This year, there are a total of seven seats up for election. We have four incumbent board members who have expressed interest in remaining on the board, but a few others will be stepping down. I would personally like to thank Casey Hesse, Lee Shaw, and Tom Range for the time they have spent working for ABBA. Their efforts are varied, but all have had an impact in one way or another.
If you are interested in serving on the board, please reach out to Kevin Sabolcik and the elections committee at firstname.lastname@example.org by December 21.
In your email, please include
· the years you were in the Blue Band
· degrees earned
· current residence
· any relevant ABBA/other alumni group experience
· a short write-up on why you are seeking a seat on the Board.
The Board meets approximately four times a year, which we have been doing virtually, so you do not need to physically be present in State College.
There is the additional opportunity to be involved in one of our committees, but no requirement to do so. It is the Board’s goal to have diversity within our representation – particularly with regards to graduation years.
Additionally, we are still looking for someone to step in as treasurer to replace Doug Czekaj. This person will need some accounting experience and be familiar with generally accepted accounting procedures.
We will be conducting the election at the beginning of January, with the hope to have our new members seated at our (virtual) board meeting Sunday, January 23, 2022.
Click to read the article published in the Daily Collegian.
By Curt Harler
The Blue Band will hire a new Assistant Director in the near future. The search process for the position should start shortly.
Meantime, the Blue Band plans to add three new graduate assistants. Two will be from the Conducting Studio and one will be a percussion student instructor. The two conducting spots will be a combined effort with the new Director of Concert Bands, allowing the positions to be leveraged across both programs.
The percussion position is in cooperation with the School of Music and will provide a graduate student to assist with the drumline.
Penn State Alumni Blue Band Association
101 Blue Band Building
University Park, PA 16802
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