The EMC Band Camp is open to students entering the 6th grade through students who have just completed the 12th grade. New in 2018, the students will be placed in one of three bands, allowing for more targeted level of repertoire difficulty. Over the course of the week, students will meet as a band class with their assigned EIU band director to work towards preparing a variety of fun and entertaining pieces for the Saturday afternoon concert. During rehearsals students will improve listening skills; discuss intonation, balance, blend, and tone quality; and they will learn how to hone their ensemble playing skills through daily reinforcement and practice.
In addition to participating in a concert band, students will receive instrument-specific instruction from the EIU applied faculty who will focus on the technical details of improving each student's playing ability on his/her instrument. Students will also attend music-related classes throughout the day and spend the evenings participating in a variety of fun and social activities including: swimming, the camp talent show, attending concerts, Karaoke night, and attending the ever-popular dance on the final evening of camp.
Mandatory auditions for band placement are held once students arrive on campus at the start of the camp. Audition materials will be available by May 31, 2018.
Dr. Alicia Neal joined the EIU faculty as Director of Bands in the Fall of 2012. Her teaching responsibilities include Wind Symphony, Concert Band, Conducting Classes, and overseeing the band area. Originally from Kingwood, Texas, Dr. Neal earned a Bachelor's degree in Music Education from the University of Colorado, where she graduated with honors. She completed her graduate conducting degree with Allan McMurray at the University of Colorado. Dr. Neal attended Northwestern University for her doctoral degree, where she studied with Mallory Thompson and graduated in 2007 with Conducting Program Honors.
Prior to her appointment at Eastern Illinois University, Dr. Neal served as the Assistant Director of Bands and Associate Director of Athletic Bands at the University of Minnesota, where she assisted with Marching Band, directed Pep Band, conducted University Band, and taught Basic Conducting Classes. Dr. Neal also spent one year at St. Xavier University in Chicago as the Interim Director of Instrumental Ensembles, and three years teaching high school and middle school band in the Humble Independent School District in Houston, Texas.
The EMC Wind Symphony will be conducted by the EIU Director of Bands, Dr. Alicia Neal.
Dr. Benjamin Druffel joined the faculty at EIU in the Fall of 2016 as Assistant Director of Bands and Director of Athletic Bands. Druffel’s teaching responsibilities include the Panther Marching Band and Basketball Band, Concert Band, Eastern Symphonic Band, Marching Band Techniques, and Band Arranging.
Dr. Druffel holds degrees in wind band conducting from Rutgers University and Minnesota State University, Mankato. As a Wind Conducting Associate at Rutgers, Dr. Druffel regularly guest conducted the Wind Ensemble, Symphony Band and Concert Band. His duties also included serving as an instrumental instructor with the Rutgers University Marching Scarlet Knights and leading performances of the Pep Band. In January of 2014, Dr. Druffel was part of the instructional staff that prepared the marching band for a pre-game performance at Superbowl XLVIII. Dr. Druffel has also taught middle school and high school bands in Alden, Minnesota and Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
The EMC Concert Band and Symphonic Band will be conducted by the EIU Assistant Director of Bands, Dr. Benjamin Druffel.