BC band puts on show under the bright lights

Ruben Perez, Reporter

With thousands of talented students at Bakersfield College, many may wonder why such a large school has such a small band.

The BC Band program, led by Tim Heasley, has two parts to it: concert band and drumline. Heasley has been directing both since he started here in spring of 2008.

“I think I had about 12 students total in the band program,” said Heasley. “The numbers in that group have generally grown through the years. The current group is not exactly the biggest that we’ve had. It’s a good group of students, about 25 members in the band.”

If you’ve attended the home football games recently you might have seen them there. They were playing pep band music.

Heasley changed the standard concert band schedule to play football games.

“Rather than two concerts, we’ll have five performances in the semester,” he said.

The previous pep band for football games was on a volunteer basis, so not everyone had shown up to games.

The football game performances are well received by band members that were disappointed by lack of a marching band.

“It’s different coming from high school, where you march all four years in a marching band, and coming into college with no marching at all,” said band member Mike Audie. “It’s weird.”

Clarinet player Duchess Nolbert was glad to hear the news of playing football games.

“That’s something that I’ve really wanted this to come to, maybe because I’m very used to a marching band playing at football games,” said Nolbert. “It’s just a really great experience to come and play and be used to old times. I love it.”

Unfortunately for the band, their usual band room is being renovated, so they’ve had to relocate to the Forums Building.

“We’re happy to be flexible because there’s some renovation going on in the actual band room area and hopefully when it’s done it’ll be a state-of-the-art facility and be great,” said Heasley. “They provide facilities and all the things that go along with that; air conditioning, heat, and support on a very conservative level to maintain what we have going.”

Due to funding issues, the band and drumline do fundraising themselves to help support the program.  A big issue with the program is lack of instruments for students.

“Every semester I have a handful of students come in, and they’ve benefitted in high school by the support of their high school programs,” said Heasley. “They come here, sign up for band, show up the first day of class, and realize our instrument inventory is very small for our band program.

“We have some really unique, interesting instruments, but we don’t have a lot of the standard instruments that are the more common instruments bands typically use like clarinets, trombones.”

Nolbert is among the students that borrows an instrument for the band program.

“I’ve been borrowing clarinets from the schools for years,” she said. “This one actually belongs to his [Heasley’s] wife.”

Heasley tries to make sure everyone in his band has an instrument to play, even if it means the student must check out an unused instrument from his or her old high school for practice.

“We haven’t had a new instrument in our inventory in the band since I’ve been here,” he said. “We have acquired instruments in the meantime through kind donations. We had a trombone that was donated to the program a few years ago.

“When Stockdale Music went out of business I purchased a handful of instruments at really low cost and have loaned them out to members that needed them,” he said.

“We’ve been able to repair instruments that were in our inventory, but even that was kind of a challenge.”

The drumline is also in need of some help with instruments.

“The college purchased the set of drums we use before I was here,” he said.

“With those drums we’ve been as careful as we can to make them last as long as they can, but they’re already starting to show their age. It’s time for those to be replaced.”

Band members currently would like to encourage more people to join in the hopes of more funding for the band and so that they can possibly start up a marching band.

“I would love to see it continue and grow so maybe we have a marching band,” said Audie.

“If they see an increase, that’ll probably change their minds; show them we’re serious.”

The band also does a lot to try and get their name out there, especially before the start of each semester.

“We really try to push that the class is out there and it exists through social media, and word of mouth really,” Heasley said.

“It would be cool to go to the high school during marching season and perform for them and show them that they can join,” said tuba player Devin Morrow.

The band can be seen at future home football games and those interested in joining the band can contact them at bcrenegadeband.org and bcdrumline.org