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New campus band puts students next to professors

By Sally Jongsma

Students could have been playing next to their professor or maybe their neighbor this semester in the newly-expanded Campus Community Band. The sixty-member-and growing-band is under the direction of Julie Hulstein ('81) who has directed nearly every high school band in the area and knows many people in the community. Dr. Henry Duitman calls Hulstein a builder and a very inspiring director.

"We've realized for years that we're too small for two completely separate bands and too big for only one," says Duitman, who directs the Concert Band. Hulstein, who took over the campus band last semester, suggested expanding it this year. It currently includes about eight talented high school students and a dozen music-loving adults from the community who played in high school and college.

At present all first-year band students are required to participate in the Campus Band. Those who wish can also audition for the Concert Band. But Duitman looks forward to having two complete bands so that students have more options. Internships and student teaching can make scheduling difficult for Concert Band members and their conductor. Having two separate bands that meet at different times, like the Chorale and Concert Choir for singers, not only gives options for different ability levels, but also for fitting rehearsals into different schedules.

Hulstein is enthusiastic about how the semester has gone. But the success has also meant going forward and backward at rehearsals.

"We've had new people showing up regularly," she says. For this semester, though, Hulstein believes keeping membership open was a good thing because it gave the band a chance to grow to the good size. It takes a little while for word to get around and for busy people to commit. Hulstein expects the band to grow even more than its current seventy members, but says she will likely ask new members to join only at the beginning of each semester.

"It's been good for Dordt student to play next to older people who are excited about the opportunity to play," says Hulstein. "We have some very fine adult community players, and they are so enthusiastic about the opportunity to play again." Although the Northwest Iowa Symphony Orchestra has room for a few brass and wind players, most people who played in bands in high school and college don't have an opportunity to continue playing their instrument regularly.

Hulstein, who has been a music teacher and band director in most of the local Christian and public schools in the area, is pleased about another aspect of the band too. "It's good for high school and college musicians to see that they may be able to use the skills they're developing after they get out of school," she says. "This band can be a great venue for that to happen."