Being cut due to budget issues may sound like the death knell for a band program, but the Eastern Kentucky University (EKU) band in Richmond plays on.
When the announcement came in April that the band program would be cut this coming school year, “I was saddened because I think the band has a role in the student community,” says Tim Wiggins, director of athletic bands.
Support from students and the community led to a fundraising campaign that caught the attention of EKU’s president, Michael T. Benson. He then formed a task force that reevaluated the university’s budget and ended up finding the funding to restart the band, which remains as a program under the university’s school of music.
While the online campaign did raise some funds, “it was fairly minimal and really had less to do with the [band] coming back than the university deciding that they were choosing to support the group.” Wiggins says.
While the band is still looking for sustainable funding to carry it into the future, for now Wiggins states that he looks forward to seeing how this next season progresses. To expand the band, Wiggins plans to build a larger contingent of non-music majors and possibly remove the requirement that student must participate in the band for at least three years.
In addition students in the band will wear Adidas uniforms this year since its traditional uniforms have exceeded their lifespan.
“I’m trying to think outside the box,” Wiggins says.