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Marching band gains director

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The Spirit of the Southland Marching Band has recently undergone a change in leadership before the upcoming athletic season.

Director of Spirit of the Southland Marching Band Derek Stoughton was hired over the summer and is enjoying the level of commitment the university has to personal connections.

“All of the students work very hard and the collaboration between myself, the remainder of the band staff, our graduate teaching assistants and everyone associated with the program is a very special thing to be a part of,” said Stoughton. “But above all, they are terrific human beings who bring joy to my heart on a daily basis. I always look forward to sharing the hard work that all of our students have put in with the world and giving them the opportunity to show off the many talents of our entire organization.”

Stoughton was previously a high school band director in Texas for eight years. For the past two years he served as a graduate teaching assistant for the band department at Oklahoma State University, while earning his Master’s degree in music. 

Caroline Wright, drum major who plays the flute and piano has been with the marching band for about four years. The senior music major has performed at off campus venues but cannot forget the effects performing in Strawberry Stadium has had on her.     

“Performances are so exhilarating,” said Wright. “The hype from the crowd and the atmosphere of the stadium is almost addicting. It’s definitely a great experience I will only have during this time in my life and I am overwhelmed every time I step onto the field.” 

Beginning this season with a new marching band director, Wright is excited to work with Stoughton and see his ideas come to life.    

“With his new direction I think this season is going to be one of the best that we have had yet,” said Wright. “I am really excited to get to work with him and see what the rest of the season brings.”

According to Stoughton, the staff of the marching band prepares for the following football season during the spring and summer by taking into consideration other cultural and musical events, dates of football games and student schedules.

Changes in this upcoming football season will include a shorter pregame with the intention to get the crowd more excited for games. According to Stoughton, the first home game’s performance will be a dedication to the music of Taylor Swift.

“[It’s] an attempt to produce more contemporary shows that I hope will resonate with our student body and encourage them to stick around for halftime,” said Stoughton. “The band wants to share all of their hard work with every spectator at the game.”

Stoughton refers to everyone that he works with in the athletic department as “incredibly supportive” of the band.

“It is extremely important to have the support of both athletics as well as the entire university, as we all want to work together to ensure that everyone associated with Southeastern Louisiana University has the best possible experience at every event that we participate in,” said Stoughton.

The Spirit of the Southland Marching Band will continue to perform at pregame and halftime home football games in Strawberry Stadium and at various community events. After football season, the Basketball Pep Band will perform at each mens and womens home basketball game along with any tournaments that the team attends.

Auditions for prospective band members are held throughout the spring semester to assess skill levels, but does not prevent admission.

For more information, contact Stoughton at 985-549-3825 or visit his office in the Ralph R. Pottle Music Building Room 166A.

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