2016 Season Preview: Louisville Marching Cards

Interview with Director Amy Acklin

August 26, 2016

Blue Line Media ImageWith college football kicking off tonight without college bands, as the Cal vs Hawaii game is being played in Australia, that means we have more time to talk about college marching bands!

Today we are stopping in Louisville, KY to hear about what's in store for one of our favorite band programs in America, the Marching Cards! We sat down with Director Amy Acklin to get the inside scoop.

How many years is this now for you at Louisville? What are you looking forward to the most this season?

This marks the start of my sixth year directing the UofL Cardinal Marching Band.
I can’t wait to introduce our new Pregame Entrance to our fans! We’ve completely changed the opening of our show, including a new way to enter the field, a powerful call to attention and a dynamic drum major routine.

I’m also excited to see what this year’s band accomplishes throughout the entire season. The optimism in the band and the disciplined work ethic is through the roof. We have our largest group of returning members to date, a seasoned and driven student leadership team and a class of talented and spunky freshman. The sky is the limit for this year’s band!

When does band camp usually start and what is your favorite part of camp each year?

Band camp begins 2 weeks before the start of school. We have a 2-day Leadership, Color Guard and Drum Line camp, followed by a one and a half week of Full Band. I LOVE BAND CAMP. It feels as if the world stops for a moment in time as we magically develop into “being a band.” My favorite part of camp is experiencing all of the “firsts” of the season…the first CARDS cheer that kicks off our welcome meeting, the first performance of the UofL Fight Song and the first time our fans see the band at the culminating Community Preview Performance. I also look forward to our annual Handbook Skit, BBQ Lunch, Alma Mater Ceremony and seeing our wonderful Alums at the end of camp.

Where will the full band be traveling this year? Any other special performances? What can we expect at halftime this fall?

In October, we will be traveling with the full band to the Clemson game in South Carolina – a trip made possible by Coach Petrino and the Petrino Family Foundation, UofL Athletics and the President’s Office.  This is our 3rd year in a row to have an away trip for the full band and we are thrilled for the opportunity to support our team on the road and to be with Dr. Mark Spede and the awesome Clemson Band!!! We are also excited to perform as the Exhibition Band at the Eastern High School Invitational, host our 4th Annual Band Day and host the KMEA State Marching Band Championships.

All of our halftime shows this season were designed based on feedback from the band. We’ll open our season with a Pentatonix Show, followed by “Girl Band” Hits and a Patriotic Salute. We’ll close the season with our annual “Louisville Showcase” show, which this year is focused on Disco. (Fun fact – Louisville is the #1 distributor of Disco Balls in the world!)

If there was one other band in the country that you'd love to host at Louisville who would it be and why? Who will you host this year?

Easy question…Florida State University! Some of my most powerful and pivotal developmental years of my life were during my doctoral studies at FSU. Part of that experience was working with the Marching Chiefs and seeing the incredible impact that they had on the university community.

We will be hosting the University of Kentucky marching band on Thanksgiving weekend. My favorite part of the game each year is taking a pause from the heated rivalry and watching the two bands come together at halftime to play our state song, My Old Kentucky Home. Many of these students have been in grade school or various honor bands with one another throughout the years. It’s an incredible moment to see them all together on the field reconnecting through music.

Blue Line Media ImageWhat does it mean to you to come to work every day in this role? What do you hope the students take away from their time in band?

The first word that comes to mind is deep gratitude. I am thankful for the amazing students and colleagues I get to interact with every day, the creative environment that is part of university life and the opportunity to build upon the wonderful traditions at UofL.  Hands down – I work with the best students in the world and it is a privilege and honor to be a part of their lives and have my family as a part of theirs.  My students inspire me everyday by the way they see life differently and their desire to make this world a better and more vibrant place.

My hope is that all band students walk away with a drive for excellence, the ability to default “positively” in challenging circumstances, and the instilment that the “how” of what they do matters.

Give us two fun facts that students/fans don't know about you

My favorite dessert is blueberry cobbler cooked in a cast-iron skillet…à la mode, of course! Just in case there were any doubts…there is only one color I will be bleeding at the UofL/FSU game…CARDINAL RED!