“I support the marching contest because I want to give kids the opportunity for that experience, get them to visit a college campus and hear a good college band,” Causey said.
Northwestern State hosted this year’s contest Oct. 26 in Turpin Stadium, drawing bands from schools of all sizes from throughout Louisiana and Texas. The contest was streamed online via banddirector.com with color commentators in the press box who provided information about the bands and their history.
This year, 21 bands participated averaging 75-100 members each with total attendance of about 4,000, including spectators, Mathews said. The event includes an exhibition performance by Northwestern State’s Spirit of Northwestern Demon Marching Band, a 300-plus member ensemble that performs at athletic events, parades and university functions.
Causey’s history with the contest goes back to when it was first established by Bill Brent in the 1980s and Causey was a band director who brought his band to the contest. Brent was director of bands and director of the NSU’s School of Creative and Performing Arts before announcing his retirement this year.
“I came every year,” Causey said, lauding the work of Brent as an exceptional director, colleague and mentor. During the years Causey participated in the marching contest, he observed “good, nationally-known judges with objective evaluations that gave us an idea of where we stood. It was always a good experience for the kids and good for them to see the NSU band.”
Causey described his young grandson’s reaction while attending this year’s contest.
“When NSU band played the first note, he said ‘Wow!’ That’s what this is all about, having these kids get turned on to music. That sealed it and I knew I was going to make this presentation. If this is what this contest does for one kid, think what it has done for other students and other band directors who participated. Northwestern is promoting music education and is known for the number of excellent teachers they produce who are doing a great job all over Louisiana, Texas and Arkansas. The marching contest gives kids the opportunity to know what a good band is and it’s easy to support that.”
Causey, who grew up in Natchitoches, said his parents, his sons and daughter-in-law all attended Northwestern State, but his motivation in supporting the marching contest has more to do with his esteem for Mathews and Brent, who have supported him professionally and are known to have positively impacted many students over the years.
“They support the kids from start to finish,” he said. “I want to see other kids have that opportunity and to keep something that is good going.”
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