The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus


The “best dressed band in the land” gets a new home

(Courtesy of Leilani Duran)

With fanfare, speeches, cheers and a ribbon cutting, the Mustang Band Hall was dedicated to SMU’s campus Friday night.

The $3 million building is five times larger than its prior location below Perkins Natatorium. It includes an expanded rehearsal hall, enhanced practice rooms, instrument storage space, a break room, staff offices and an outdoor performance plaza.

“I can’t believe I’m standing here in front of this building after all these years,” Mustang Band Director Donald Hopkins said. “It’s awesome.”

Over 1,250 students, alumni, families and faculty contributed to the funding of the Mustang Band Hall. Each did whatever he or she could to donate to the cause.

“This project has been built by bake sales, garage sales, car washes,” SMU President R. Gerald Turner said. “So much has been done to make this happen.”

(Courtesy of Leilani Duran)

Two years ago SMU broke ground on the new band hall. Turner stated that the long-term project was worth the wait because of how beautiful the facility turned out.

“You can [now] play and not worry about getting wet,” Turner joked of the band’s previous location.

The Mustang Band moved in to the space below Perkins Natatorium as a “temporary” location in 1956. Fifty-eight years later, the Mustang Band finally has its own space to call home.

“I have a sincere appreciation for loyalty and generosity for alumni and students who support this on a daily basis,” Chair of the SMU Board of Trustees Michael Boone said.

Band alumni from throughout the years were in attendance at the dedication and open house. They were thrilled to reunite with old friends and see the future of the Mustang Band.

David Hinsley played baritone for the Mustang Band from 1967-71. He said that the Mustang Band had talked of creating a new band hall for over 50 years and was excited that the band finally has a rehearsal space that is nice and functional.

“It was cramped. When we played we’d have to open the back door and it wasn’t air conditioned then,” Hinsely said. “It was something we made work for a long long time.”

Hinsley noted that, despite its flaws, the old band hall was home. It will take time for the new Mustang Band Hall to develop the character experienced in the sounds, smells, look and history of the previous hall.

“Eventually this one will get there and become home for them,” he said.

However, many students already call the new place home.

Sophomore band member Grace Gardiener said that the band plans on having more events, meetings and band get-togethers in the space.

“The rest of SMU is so gorgeous and now we have something to be proud of,” she said.

Band members also appreciate the large amount of space the facility has for practicing.

“It’s funny because the first time we had a rehearsal in here we all sat really close together because that’s what we were used to,” Gardiener said.

Now, members have room to spread out, practice in smaller sections and listen to each other play.

“It’s not like we’re stuffing to the brim a whole band and then having them play and bursting their ears out,” sophomore band member Timothy Stamm said.

The band will continue to instill its rich traditions and inspire athletes and fans at its new space. The Mustang Band Hall includes details of the band’s 100-year history by displaying past uniforms, photos, plaques mementos and a Hall of Honor. These items will act as a place where band members and visitors can learn more about the traditions of the group.

Hopkins stated that the band would also create new traditions, like the post-game concert on the outdoor performance plaza, located in front of the Dedman Center for Lifetime Sports by the Residential Commons Complex. There, more students and fans will hear the concert.

“Music inspires us, makes us laugh, moves us more than any words can,” senior drum major Nick Morris said during the innovation.

Donors, alumni, band members, the board of trustees, faculty and administrators are looking forward to the future of the Mustang Band in its new home.

“We thank current, past and future students who will benefit from this facility,” Turner said. “A facility worthy of Mustang Band.”

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