Band Talk, March 2009 March 17 2009, 5 Comments

BAND TALK - JACK KOPSTEIN STRIKE UP THE BAND It is a distinct pleasure to present Lt. Col. Timothy J.  Holtan, Commander  of the WEST POINT BAND, as the subject of our interview for this issue of STRIKE UP THE BAND. Q: Tell us a little about yourself - background including education, schools, instrument(s), career in the army, how long served, where you have served, if retired how long retired, and what are you doing in retirement? A: Public school band director for eight years prior to joining the Army Bachelor of Music Education, Montana State University Masters of Music Education, University of Montana Joined the Army in Fall of 1988 – over 20 years in Service Assignment History: Armed Forces School of Music, Norfolk, VA Fort Monroe, VA (twice) US Army Band, Ft Myer, VA Dallas Wind Symphony/University of North Texas – one year Army “Training With Industry” program Department of the Army Staff Bands Officer, Alexandria, VA US Army Field Band, Ft Meade, MD US Military Academy Band, West Point, NY Q. What is your daily (weekly) band routine? A: Rehearsals are usually 0900-1130, about four days per week.  Chamber groups rehearsal in the afternoon. Q. Do you select the music played for concerts or is it done by committee? A: I select the music for my programs, but I get input from a repertoire committee and the ensemble senior musicians. Q. Do you have to spend a lot of time making arrangements for ceremonial performances? A: We do more ceremonies than many bands, and as such don’t need too much additional training and unpublished arrangements. Q. Are auditions for new band members done in collaboration with section leaders? A: Section leaders choose music, select finalists from applications, and conduct the live auditions.  Section members, group leader, NCO-in-charge, and officers attend the auditions – by regulation, the commander is the final decision-maker unless there is a reason to temporarily delegate that authority. Q. How important are recordings to you and the band? A: Quite – they are very good for pushing the ensemble to higher levels of performance execution and the distribution of the recordings to libraries, radio stations and educational institutions is a less expensive way to connect with the American people. Q. How  important to you are the various small ensembles  ie dinners etc which are often employed? A: Chamber music is a thriving part of our organization.  Through active recitals and community performances, the small groups build a substantial repertoire that also serves well in military protocol situations.  They are a part of the job, which everyone understands and accepts.   It is also an excellent opportunity for our musicians to interact with senior leadership. Q.  What is your view on the future of  military bands  worldwide? A: I expect that they will be around for many years.  Bands are an inherent part of the culture, and as the culture evolves, so do the military bands. Q. What type of music do you feel most comfortable with? –Classical, Jazz Popular, Broadway, various? A: I like it all.  That said, I do so much music at work, I don’t listen to much music at home.  When I do, it tends to be more classically or vocally focused. Q. Briefly what is your opinion of the world of music today? A: A mighty broad topic which I will narrow – I am very excited about music-making today.  This is primarily because of the increasingly high level of musicians that the universities and conservatories are producing.  Our organization has benefitted tremendously and the level of musicianship is increasing exponentially.  I’m extremely proud (and humbled) to be associated with these tremendous musicians, who do a great job a keeping live music vital in today’s society. Lt. Col. Timothy J. Holtan Commander West Point Band