Tiger band has shelter, space with new band hall

22 11 2011
(New Tiger Band Hall Script)

The “Golden Band from Tigerland” has a new place to practice its famous tunes.

The first phase of the new Tiger Band Hall will officially open its doors this week according to LSU Director of Athletic Bands Roy King. The centerpiece of the $10 million building is a rehearsal hall that fits all 325 members of the Tiger Band.

“Before this building was finished, the Tiger Band rehearsed outdoors rain or shine,” King said. “The Tiger Band has never had an indoor space in the history of the Tiger Band that the entire band can assemble and have a rehearsal.”

Finding funds

A view from the outside of the new Tiger Band Hall. Photo by Derek Ochoa.

In a time of budget cuts, finding funds for the project was the toughest obstacle in getting phase one completed.

“There was a $5 million matching funds project with the state,” King said. “The state provided five million so we had to match the five million.”

The LSU Athletic Department contributed $4.5 million of the bands share. Private donors provided the rest according to King.

The support showed by the state and university means a lot to Tiger Band member Greg Renoud.

“It shows how much a part of the university we really are,” Renoud said. “It shows how much the university really cheers us on.”

Moving up

The rehearsal hall is a much-needed upgrade for the Tiger Band.

Built in 1959, the old band hall is only able to hold 120 members. The new rehearsal hall has the same dimensions as a basketball court, and is double the size of the old band hall.

“The reaction for everyone when they first walked in was like they were walking into the Taj Mahal,” Renoud said. “Just wide eyes and gasps. It’s like seeing heaven almost.”

Subtle features in the rehearsal hall, like curtains and wooden grooves, help with acoustics in the room to provide a perfect indoor practice environment.

“With 325 people in [the band hall], you’re going to get a lot of reverberation that we’re not going to get in Tiger Stadium,” Renoud said. “So it’s good to practice with the sound kind of dampened as much as we can.”

“Hell hole” to haven

The building also has much needed storage space for instruments and uniforms.

“We currently have four 18-wheelers out on the side of the practice field for instruments and other equipment because there is simply not enough storage space on site at the old building,” King said.

Space was so limited that equipment was stored in a pump room behind one of the building’s bathrooms.

The new Tiger Band Hall has traditional LSU architecture like covered walkways and arches. Photo by Derek Ochoa.

“We affectionately call it ‘the hell hole’,” King chuckled. “So we won’t have to store our equipment in those areas. We’ll have nice, clean storage space in the new building.”

New building, old look

For King, it was important for the new Tiger Band Hall to fit in with the “look and feel” of LSU’s historic campus.

The outside of the hall features LSU’s famous arches and covered walkways, which match buildings in the quad. The roof is covered in red tiles, which are also featured prominently around campus.

“I think it looks great,” King says. “It looks as beautiful as any other building on campus.”

The observation tower gives LSU Band Director Roy King a bird's-eye-view of the practice field. Photo by Derek Ochoa.

Over the top

Another new feature is a tower overlooking the band’s 120-yard practice field.

Two observation towers allow King to critique the band’s formations as they prepare for halftime performances.

“We’ve never had a permanent tower,” King said. “I can’t imagine any school in our conference, or maybe even in the country, that has a better rehearsal tower for the marching band than our tower.”

More to come

With phase one completed, King now looks forward to the completion of phase two.

It will be another building adjacent to the band hall, which will include the Tiger Band’s administrative offices, classrooms, storage space and an archive room that will serve as a museum for the Tiger Band.

“Once we get phase two built and finished,” King said, “it will be a facility that rivals any in the SEC for sure.”

Listen to “The Golden Band from Tigerland” perform Pregame.mp3
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