Golden Eagles Marching to Tune of New Scholarship Program

Photo of the Golden Eagle Marching Band

Southeast Missouri State University hopes to double the size of its Golden Eagles Marching Band in the coming year.

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo.,

Jan. 26, 2007 – Southeast Missouri State University hopes to double the size of its Golden Eagles Marching Band in the coming year.  To make it a reality, the University is spearheading a new scholarship program designed to encourage students to join the Golden Eagles.

“This is probably the biggest thing that has happened to our band program ever,” said Barry Bernhardt, director of University Bands at Southeast and winner of this year’s Faculty Merit Award.

During the 2007-2008 academic year, all first-year members of the band will receive a $500 stipend. Second-year members will receive a $650 stipend. Third-year members will receive a $750 stipend, and fourth-year members will receive a $1,000 stipend.

Students wishing to join the Golden Eagles who also have participated as members of any all-state band, orchestra or choir will be eligible to receive a $1,000 stipend per year. All-state musicians must perform with the Golden Eagles Marching Band during the fall semester and in a Department of Music ensemble during the spring semester.

All-state bands, orchestras and choirs are composed of select high school music students who audition for inclusion in these premier groups. This year, about 900 students auditioned for 75 spots on the Missouri All-State Band.

“We want the all-staters here on our campus,” Bernhardt said. “We have several all-staters here now. This is going to be a way for all-state musicians to get some money for college. They are going to get rewarded to play. We are telling them that we are going to reward them for their talent.”

He says the Golden Eagles have roles for all-state orchestra and choir members as well as all-state band musicians.

“They might play percussion,” he said.

All-staters wishing to apply for the additional scholarship should contact Bernhardt to arrange an appointment for an audition.

Last fall, 75 Southeast students were members of the Golden Eagles Marching Band. Until now, students were given a small stipend and one hour of course credit.

“We want quality students, but we would sure like to see 150 to 200 people in the band,” Bernhardt said. “This scholarship program will allow us to do that.”

Bernhardt says non-music majors, as well as music majors, are welcome in the Golden Eagles. He adds that the financial incentive is terrific for students who receive an academic scholarship at Southeast who couple it with the Golden Eagles scholarship.

“Students would be foolish to go elsewhere,” he said, adding the University, as whole, is going to benefit from the scholarship program.

“This is going to help our enrollment and retention at the University tremendously,” Bernhardt said. “I think it’s the biggest and most positive thing we have done for our students. The Golden Eagles are such a visible part of our University, and we can make a real positive influence on our student body. It’s a win-win situation.”

Bernhardt says the new scholarship program comes at an exciting time for the Golden Eagles. The Golden Eagles have been invited to perform at the Greater St. Louis Marching Band Festival next October at the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis. He says 12,000 to 15,000 students and their parents will be on hand to see their performance.

“This is the biggest marching band festival in Missouri,” he said.

In addition, the Golden Eagles are scheduled to perform in summer 2008 at the prestigious Edinburgh Military Tattoo in Edinburgh, Scotland.

“This is the largest event of its kind in the world,” Bernhardt said. “We are only the second United States college band invited to participate, and we are going for our second time.”

The Golden Eagles performed at the Edinburgh Military Tattoo in 1999. During a five-week tour of the United Kingdom, the band performed more than 30 times. The Golden Eagles were seen by more than 217,000 during their live performances, by more than five million in a BBC broadcast to the entire United Kingdom, and by an estimated 50 million viewers worldwide.

The Golden Eagles also will be part of another exciting development at Southeast Missouri State next fall when the Department of Music moves to its new quarters at the River Campus. The River Campus will house Southeast’s School for the Visual and Performing Arts.

“It’s an exciting time,” he said, “and it’s all coming together at once.”

More information about the Golden Eagles scholarships is available at http://www.semo.edu/music/goldeneagles.htm. Students may also visit http://www.semo.edu/music/ and http://www.semo.edu/study/music/index.htm for additional information.

Students interested in applying for the Golden Eagles scholarships are asked to contact Bernhardt at (573) 651-2334 or e-mail bbernhardt@semo.edu. A downloadable Golden Eagles Marching Band application is available at http://www.semo.edu/liberalarts/images/music_GoldenEagles_App_Jan_2007.pdf. Completed applications may be returned to Bernhardt at 108 Brandt Music Hall, MS7800, Southeast Missouri State University, One University Plaza, Cape Girardeau, MO 63701 or faxed to (573) 651-2710.

Golden Eagles History

The Golden Eagles have thrilled audiences throughout the United States and abroad since 1957. During its history, the Golden Eagles have performed for audiences for many National Football League (NFL) teams, including the St. Louis Cardinals, the Kansas City Chiefs, the Atlanta Falcons and the Indianapolis Colts.  In addition, the band has performed for two NFL Pro Bowl Football Games and one NFL Super Bowl. The Golden Eagles have been one of the most televised university marching bands in the United States. 

The Golden Eagles Marching Band performs at all home football games and at selected high school marching band festivals. The Golden Eagles is one of seven bands in the Department of Music at Southeast.  Students in these ensembles represent virtually every academic area on campus and consistently maintain high academic and musical standards.

Bernhardt has directed the Golden Eagles Marching Band since 1990. The percussion instructor for the Golden Eagles is Dr. Shane Mizicko.