Auburn University cuts the ribbon on a new Band Practice Complex

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The 380 students who provide the sound and entertainment element of the gameday experience are settling into a facility that will take their work to the next level.

The Auburn University Marching Band hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony Friday, Sept. 29, for the new $3 million Band Practice Complex on Beech Street. The band will now enjoy two new dressing rooms and an instrument storage building to go along with its artificial turf field and practice pavilion.

Auburn University Marching Band Director Corey Spurlin said the improvements will benefit the students and the Auburn Family.

"It lets band members know that the university cares about them and appreciates the efforts they put forth for the institution," Spurlin said. "It also helps us in recruiting. We're a lot like athletics in that we have to draw talented musicians to this university, and when they see a space like this, they know that the band is valued and is something they want to be a part of."

The J.W. and Nell Birchfield Marching Band Practice Field, dedicated in 2013, has an artificial turf practice field identical to Pat Dye Field at Jordan-Hare Stadium. The turf field has the same markings, lines and logos in order for the band to practice alignment and logistics and drains rain more efficiently than the old grass field.

"When we're practicing we can use the markings on the field to clean forms and know where we're supposed to go," said PJ Spina, senior trumpet player and freshman advisor to the band. "Visually the field looks amazing."

The pavilion provides shelter from rain and inclement weather, as well as restroom facilities and space for rehearsals and activities.

Band members also have space for dressing rooms in the new complex that allows them to change into their uniforms and keep their uniforms crisp.

"We take a lot of pride in our uniform standards and don't ever want to be partially dressed," said Emily-Anne Nguyen, head drum major of the marching band. "They [the dressing rooms] give us a nice place to change and have air-conditioning."

The new storage spaces house instruments, gear and uniforms the band needs to practice and perform. There are four separate, secured areas to store the equipment that band members can access efficiently. This space ensures that band members don't have to carry their instruments with them from their homes to the practice field or store them in their cars.

"The band is only as good as its equipment can be," Nguyen said. "As our facilities get better, we have the ability to get better, because the more efficient we can be with our rehearsals, the better we can perform through and through."

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Auburn University is a nationally ranked land grant institution recognized for its commitment to world-class scholarship, interdisciplinary research with an elite, top-tier Carnegie R1 classification, life-changing outreach with Carnegie’s Community Engagement designation and an undergraduate education experience second to none. Auburn is home to more than 30,000 students, and its faculty and research partners collaborate to develop and deliver meaningful scholarship, science and technology-based advancements that meet pressing regional, national and global needs. Auburn’s commitment to active student engagement, professional success and public/private partnership drives a growing reputation for outreach and extension that delivers broad economic, health and societal impact.