Band Students Host Regional Music Convention

Undergraduate Musicians from Maine to Virginia Converge on the Marist Campus

It is not every day that a major regional convention comes to a college campus, especially one that is primarily student-run. However, when the Brothers of Kappa Kappa Psi and the Sisters of Tau Beta Sigma set to host their 2016 North East District (NED) convention at Marist College, the local chapters set about to welcome attendees to a convention that would be a blueprint for a student-run gala.

The Marist affiliates of these honorary band societies, Kappa Upsilon of Kappa Kappa Psi and Iota Alpha of Tau Beta Sigma, hosted nearly fifty chapters of their organizations on campus from March 18-19. The 1,000 or so attendees came from Maine to Virginia, and according to the Marist chapters, they all left with a great impression of the campus and the host chapters.

“We received praise all around for our convention,” stated Brian Moran, a senior in Iota Alpha who helped coordinate the convention between the local chapters and the regional and national leadership. He added that despite the amount that the students worried about pulling the event off, “every aspect of the convention seemed to fall right into place.”

“The attendees seemed to be extraordinarily pleased with our efforts,” added Alyssa Trippi, a sophomore in Kappa Upsilon who was Moran’s counterpart. “We received endless compliments from National Council, District Council, Governors, Counselors, and Students. The pleasant experience they had made our efforts worth it.”

That pleasant experience was made possible by the hard work of the host chapters at Marist. The process for the convention began back in November 2013, when representatives from both organizations, as well as their mutual sponsor and head of operations at Marist Michael Napolitano, began planning what hosting a large convention such as the NED would entail for both the students and the college (Unlike other district conventions, which are held at hotels, the NED conventions are located on the host chapters’ campus). While the chapters originally planned to bid for the 2015 convention, the bid was awarded to West Chester University in Pennsylvania. Despite the setback, this allowed the organizations to their bid for 2016, which would coincide with the Marist College Band’s 30th anniversary, as well as Kappa Upsilon and Iota Alpha’s 15th anniversaries.

“[Kappa Upsilon’s] Derek Daffara and I were the two who put on our salesman acts and went to work, trying to put Marist College in the front of everyone's minds,” recalled Moran, thinking about the presentation at West Chester University. “Once selected, every other aspect of hosting a convention came into play.”

This meant both organizations’ members, about fifty students in total, doing the brunt of the work, from scheduling lecture halls with both the college and Sodexo Dining Services, to individually labeling nametags for each attendee, to serving as technical support for presentations. Much of this was finished well beforehand, but students were still putting in long hours in the days running up for the convention, even as the rest of the college went home for spring break.

“A lot of prioritizing was necessary because this convention wasn't the primary focus of our lives,” Moran stated. He explained how they could get the McCann Arena, which would be the primary meeting space for the convention until the Men’s and Women’s Basketball teams had finished their season. While neither made any tournaments, a bid to either team would not only jeopardize the use of the basketball arena for the tournament but would also take away KKY and TBS members who would join the teams wherever they played.

 “At times, it seemed as though the work was never ending and overwhelming,” admitted Trippi. “In the midst of academics and a busy band schedule, hosting an entire convention seemed impossible. However, we never stopped going above and beyond.”

Both Moran and Trippi emphasized that members in both organizations that were involved in the planning had an enjoyable and rewarding experience, and received praise from members of both organizations, as well as faculty at Marist.

“Planning and hosting a convention was probably one of the most stressful experiences I have ever had the pleasure of helping make a reality,” Moran said. “It's daunting the amount of work that needs to be done but in the end, the final product is worth it and I believe we set the bar very high for future conventions.”

“The hardworking team is a reason why our convention was such a success,” stated Trippi.


Written by Gregory Rycharski ‘16, a proud member of the Marist Band and Kappa Kappa Psi.

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