The University of Arkansas Razorback Band selected Dr. Benjamin Lorenzo as their new Director this year and we had a chance to go 10 questions with him about his plans for the season and any changes that may be coming for the RMB.
1) Congratulations on being named the Director of the Razorback Band. What was your initial reaction to hearing the big news?
I was in Florida visiting my parents when I received word. I was ecstatic, and after I called my wife, I told my parents.
They have always been my biggest supporters, so I was very happy to share that moment with them.
2) What things are you working on now to be ready for this fall? Any insights into halftime shows that you're preparing? Will there be any major changes to the structure of the band, band camp, staff, etc?
Right now we are finalizing the itineraries for Section Leader Camp and Early Week (our summer band camp), getting a head start on uniform and instrument checkout, and completing all sorts of administrative tasks in preparation for the school year.
Most of the shows are mapped out already, but we are still discussing a few things. I think you will find a wide variety of music in our shows, with music ranging from Sousa to Bruno Mars. There will also be variety in the visual elements of the shows, from military style drill to picture drill, and a few other surprises.
I do not believe you will see many, if any, major structural changes in our program this year. We are fortunate to have a fantastic staff that has been together for some time, so there were many good things already in place. My goal is to make sure things continue to run as well as they have so that our students have a memorable experience in the RMB.
3) Tell us about your experience at OK State, what will you miss the most about the Cowboy Band?
The OSU band program is comprised of wonderful students and faculty. I will miss the daily interactions with the students and my friends on the faculty the most. Luckily, we can still stay in touch and share all of the good things we are doing.
4) What type of style or attitude are you hoping the band exudes under your leadership?
One that exudes dedication, passion, and pride in the University of Arkansas.
5) Bands across the country have begun to integrate all types of technology into halftime shows from lighting, to DJs, to sets, fireworks, videos and more. Will you look into integrating some of those elements into the band more so than in the past? What is your expected balance for the season when it comes to show design?
There are a few elements that we already incorporate in our rehearsals and game day experience (tablets, amplification, videos), and I am always looking for ways to make our shows more entertaining.
Variety is key when it comes to show design. Our audience, like most college bands, is very diverse. It is important to have something for everyone. We will begin the season with a show that features elements rooted in our military traditions. We will also perform classic hits from Motown, and balance that with music from Bruno Mars, which is more contemporary. There is a game on Halloween, which will allow us to have a lot of fun with that theme. To wrap up the year, we will perform music from Star Wars, which should be very familiar and exiting for our students and audiences.
6) The RMB has been such an integral part of the Arkansas football experience for so long, how is the relationship between the band and the athletics department and what more do you hope to build in terms of opportunity for your students?
We have an incredibly supportive athletic department, and have enjoyed a very good working relationship for a long time. Our colleagues there really care about our students and our program. I will continue to foster this positive relationship and build upon it. Ultimately, we have the same goals. It is rewarding to share ideas and work together to make this a positive experience for everyone.
7) The RMB alumni are a huge group and very loyal. How have they received the news and what are you looking forward to the most in working with them?
I received a very warm and enthusiastic welcome from the RMB alumni. I am really looking forward to meeting many more at our Alumni Band events and to working with them throughout the year, as many are involved with our program year-round.
8) Directors are always known for some great one liners. What are some expected pre-game speech one liners we could potentially hear from you that will grow into RMB lore?
I must first say that I borrowed this line from a friend. He always talked about “setting the standard from within.” That rings particularly true, and is something I would like to emphasize this year. It all begins with us; with how hard we work, our attitude, and how much pride we have in our organization. From there, a lot of good things happen.
9) What do you foresee will be your biggest challenge as Director? What are the coming challenges of the band in general that you expect to deal with?
An organization like the RMB has many parts that are vital to our success. We have many dedicated staff members and students who are eager to help. The challenge will be to coordinate all of these components and ensure everyone contributes the best they can.
10) What are you looking forward to the most as you head into year 1 as the Director of the RMB?
Getting to know the students of the RMB and watching them grow as musicians and people.
Final thoughts: Thank you for all you do to promote our programs, and Woo Pig Sooie!