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Strike up the band: UTSA hires marching band director

Ron Ellis

Ron Ellis

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(May 19, 2010)--Officials at The University of Texas at San Antonio said plans are in place to build a university marching band and announced the hiring of Ron Ellis as the inaugural director of the athletics band and assistant director of bands. The university's goal is to field a 150-member marching band and color guard in September 2011 when UTSA football begins. Over time the band will expand to 350 members.

Ellis joins UTSA from the University of Central Florida in Orlando, where as a band director, drill designer and instructor since 1990, he led the 308-member UCF Marching Knights. Ellis will assume his new role in the College of Liberal and Fine Arts Department of Music on Aug. 1.

"It has been a very exciting process to start Division I Football at UTSA and now it is even more exciting because this start-up athletic program also will add opportunities for other students to be involved in a new tradition," said Lynn Hickey, UTSA athletic director.

In addition to the marching band, Ellis will lead the UTSA pep band and off-season will teach music and conducting.

David Frego, chair of the Department of Music, said Ellis was selected because of his experience, skills and enthusiasm for building a new marching band program.

"UCF has been UTSA's benchmark when it comes to building a football program from the ground up," said Frego. "To take that one step further, now UTSA has a band director who helped build the UCF marching unit from the ground up. We are thrilled with this hire."

"This is a huge undertaking and a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that's going to take a team effort from day one -- all the way until this ensemble marches out of the tunnel next season," said Ellis. "Texas is second to none when it comes to tradition, pride and instrumental music and I am truly honored to be selected for this position."

Ellis will begin recruiting students for the marching band as early as fall 2010. Students will enroll in a new one-hour elective class that will be offered in fall 2011.

"More than likely, the musicians in the marching band will come from every college, creating a strong unifying force for the whole university," said Frego.

To achieve this goal, UTSA officials emphasized the need for private support. "All of these programs will take time to build -- both in numbers and in financial resources -- so we are planning to add to these activities one step at a time," said Hickey.

Frego said he expects fundraising will be a big part of his role in the coming months. "Before we take the field, we will need support to purchase uniforms and equipment, particularly the drum line," he said.

In spite of these challenges, UTSA knows Ellis is the right person at the right time. Over his career at UCF, Ellis's bands have performed at several high-profile events including the NCAA Men's and Women's Basketball Tournaments and the 2007 Liberty Bowl.

Ellis also was band choreographer, conductor or adviser for the ABC television series "Coach," the HBO series "From the Earth to the Moon," Epcot Center's 20th Anniversary Celebration, the Universal Pictures feature film "Sydney White" and the "Disney's Very Merry Christmas Parade" ABC television special.

Ellis will continue to serve as a music director at Walt Disney Attractions Entertainment in Orlando. He earned a bachelor of arts degree in music performance from UCF and a master of music degree in wind and orchestral conducting from the University of South Florida in Tampa.

 

 

Events
Feb. 5, 6:15 p.m.

First Friday Stargazing

The UTSA Department of Physics and Astronomy's Curtis Vaughan Observatory will offer free stargazing for the public beginning on top of the 4th floor of the Flawn Science Building. Experienced astronomers will be on hand to show a variety of astronomical objects and answer any questions. This event is free and open to the public, so feel free to invite friends and family.
Curtis Vaughan Observatory

Feb. 6, All Day

10th annual San Antonio Writing Project Teachers' Conference

This year's keynote speaker is Donalyn Miller, author of The Book Whisper. The event will feature breakout sessions and a presentation by the Creative Writers from North East School of the Arts. The event is free and open to all teachers from Pre-K through university level. Attendees can earn a certificate for 3 hours of Professional Development Credit.
Riklin Auditorium (FS1.406), Downtown Campus

Feb. 9, 11 a.m. - 1 p.m. & 6 - 9 p.m.

Rowdy Gras 2016

The UTSA community is invited to attend the 3rd annual Rowdy Gras celebration! This year Rowdy Gras includes a daytime event from 11 a.m. -1 p.m. with a free food tasting and music on the UC Paseo. The main event takes place from 6 - 9 p.m. in the UC Lawn. The event includes free food, live jazz music, activities and giveaways.
University Center Paseo & Lawn, UTSA Main Campus

Feb. 10, 5:30 p.m.

UTSA College of Architecture, Construction and Planning 2015-16 Speaker Series

The UTSA College of Architecture, Construction and Planning’s 2015-16 Speaker Series continues with Dana Cuff, Ph.D., a professor of architecture and urbanism at the University of California, Los Angeles. In her talk, Cuff will discuss new forms of “studio” and new types of practices. Free and open to the public.
Aula Canaria Lecture Hall (BV 1.328), UTSA Downtown Campus

Feb. 13, 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.

29th annual Asian Festival - Year of the Monkey

The UTSA Institute of Texan Cultures invites Texas and Texans to the Asian Festival. What began as a traditional family reunion for the Chinese New Year has expanded to include other Asian communities and participants, showcasing their unique culture and traditions.
The UTSA Institute of Texan Cultures

Feb. 13, 1 p.m.

2016 Interdisciplinary Studies Colloquium

Join the UTSA Department of Interdisciplinary Learning and Teaching in celebrating interdisciplinary inquiry at the 2016  Interdisciplinary Studies Colloquium.  The colloquium will include a panel of faculty and recent doctoral graduate and a showcase of the best IDS undergraduate inquiry projects of the year 2015. The event is free and open to the public.
Business Building (BB 2.06.04), UTSA Main Campus

Feb. 23, 5:30 p.m.

African-American Social Welfare Pioneers Responding to Community Needs

The UTSA College of Public Policy presents the Dean's Distinguished Lecture Series featuring Dr. Iris Carlton-LaNey, Professor of the School of Social Work at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. Dr. Iris Carlton LaNey will speak to the UTSA community about the role and impact of African-Americans in the social work profession.
Buena Vista Theater (BV 1.326), Downtown Campus

Feb. 23, 7 p.m.

Presentation and Book Signing with Luis Carlos Montalvan

Please join us for a presentation and book signing by Luis Carlos Montalván (Fmr. Capt., USA), author of the New York Times Bestseller Until Tuesday and the international award-winning childrens book Tuesday Tucks Me In. His books will be available for purchase at the UTSA Bookstore. This event is free and open to the public.
Southwest Room (DB 1.124), Downtown Campus

Feb. 25, 6 p.m.

12th Annual Black Heritage Gala

The 12th Annual Black Heritage Gala is a formal event which includes a student performance, keynote remarks by Michael Brown, an award presentation, dinner and dancing. Tickets are $10 for UTSA students and $15 for all other guests. Tickets are on sale now at Roadrunner Express. Contact (210) 458-4770 for more information.
H-E-B University Center Ballroom, Main Campus

Feb. 27, 9 a.m.

Cultural Contrasts in Latin America

The UTSA Institute of Texan Cultures will host a free workshop focusing on teaching Latin American culture and geography for students seeking their teacher certification. The workshop includes free resources for teaching Latin American subject matter as well as presentations on language, identity, music, geography, and political and developmental history, and a special educators’ tour of the museum’s Los Tejanos exhibit. Free with registration.
The UTSA Institute of Texan Cultures (ITC 3.01.02)


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