This year we welcomed Dr. Wesley Broadnax to UNC as the new Director of Bands. We sat down with him to see how life as a Bear was going thus far.
You’ve been at the University for a little over two months now, what has been your favorite part?
The students! The Students! I believe the students here are some of the most wholesome, tenacious and hardworking people I've ever worked with. They're pleasant, and they seem to be invested in their education, as well as loving what they do. When I see them smiling and happy, that's fuel for me!
We have some wonderful music schools in our state – CSU, CU, Metro, DU – what is unique
The major thing that's unique about UNC is that for the size of the institution, I'm amazed at how connected we are to the band directors within the community at large - many thanks to my predecessors, Professors Kenneth Singleton and Richard "Dick" Mayne! UNC produces many music educators that are teaching in every corner of the state. A lot of things have contributed to that, but you have to give credit where credit's due, and that's been the hard work, dedication, and commitment of Ken and Dick. They really cultivated this community. I'm hoping to build on it and keep it moving!
What is UNC’s role in that music education community?
We should be at the forefront of music education, particularly instrumental music education. It's incumbent upon us to continue positive recruitment to maintain our close relationships to the schools. We have to continue providing major events like All-State Band, which is crucial to us. I don't think we (UNC) can survive if we do not maintain those relationships. That's our bread and butter. We're sort of joined at the hip with them. I can tell you since being here, I've hit the ground running. Just last week, I drove down and worked with a band in Colorado Springs. I'm going to get to all of the schools along the front range, eastern slope, western slope, and really get my face out there on behalf of UNC!
What are you trying to convey to students in your wind ensemble?
Go beyond the notes on the page. I think we get into the weeds of things and the minutiae of the music where we're trying to figure out the mechanics. But we're not looking at necessarily what's underneath the notes like the crescendos, or on top of the notes like the articulation markings.
It's mainly trying to get at their soul to pull out what's really already in there, but they have not necessarily been able to express it in the way that it needs to. The best ensembles do that! Therefore, our goal is to give the definitive performance of each piece we perform. We wish to be the definitive wind ensemble! We have the capacity and ability to be the very best for what we do.
We have a lot of music education students, what are you trying to impart on them?
Hopefully I'm serving as a model. It's not just conducting, but I'm serving as a teacher
in the rehearsals. Every rehearsal should be a teaching moment. Oftentimes, if you're
in my rehearsals, I step off the podium and teach. I say "those of you who are going
to be music education majors, this is how you style this, etc. " This is how I try
to draw connections to what I'm doing artistically as a conductor to teaching.
I want to convey how delighted I am to be here, and I am enjoying myself immensely. It helps me that it is not just being here with the faculty and the students in this community, but also experiencing this beautiful state. It's just so beautiful here! I go hiking and do lots of outdoor activities. I am looking forward to building on the work that both Professors Singleton and Mayne have built and cultivated!