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Big Purple Frequently Asked Questions

Q: I’ve been told that I won’t have time as a freshman to be in band and still make good grades. Is this true?

A: NO! We could not exist if we demanded too much of your time. The band rehearses MWF, and has multiple weekends off during marching season. The truth about grades is this: if you don’t make good grades, it won’t be because of band commitments. Many times in the past, members of the band have been ACU valedictorians and salutatorians. Additionally, many members of the band each year receive generous scholarships and assistantships to graduate schools in their areas of study including music, psychology, mathematics, law, medicine and others.

Q: Will I have time to participate in service and social activities outside of the band?

A: YES! Many members of the band each year participate in the Students’ Association as council members, senators or class or executive officers. Several students have participated in Freshman Follies, Sing Song, Spring Break Campaigns, Habitat for Humanity, and many other related opportunities. Many Big Purple members also maintain active memberships and serve as officers in campus social clubs.

Q: What if I’m not good enough to be in the Big Purple Marching Band?

A: We have members from every size high school, with diverse levels of ability including those with little or no experience. At this time about 75% of the band members are non-music majors. If you can play your instrument, we can teach you the rest. We use “corps” style marching which can be learned quickly and easily. There have been a few members of the band that have had no prior marching band experience and some that come from military marching band traditions who have adapted quite well to our system. We welcome anyone who wishes to participate. There is no need to feel intimidated!

Q: Is every weekend in the fall filled with activities?

A: NO! The band performs at the home football games (usually 5) and often one out-of-town game. We usually march in two local parades and have a blast at our annual retreat during the fall. There are several open weekends that will allow you plenty of time to go home and visit friends and family or just “hang out” in Abilene!

Q: How can I become a member of the band? Are auditions necessary?

A: There is no audition requirement for the marching band – with the exception of color guard members and percussionists (to place members on the correct instruments). Simply enroll in MPEI-301.01 (non-credit), MPEI-311.01 (1 hour credit) or MPEI 210.01 (1 hour P.E. credit). One-hour credit allows you to receive a grade toward your GPA and costs one hour of tuition. The non-credit option allows you to pay a nominal participation fee and though the grade appears on your transcript, it does not affect your GPA. Regardless of your enrollment option, grading criteria are the same for all members.

Q: How are grades assigned in band?

A: The grading policy is based almost exclusively on attitude and attendance. If you are at rehearsals and performances, it will be an easy A!

Q: What if I’ve already registered and band is not on my schedule?

A: If you have already registered and have a conflict with the M, 11:50-12:45 and WF, 11:15-12:45 slot, we would be glad to work with you to make band possible in your schedule. In most instances, we can take care of the scheduling change for you. With freshman level courses, there are almost always additional sections available of the courses you need. If you don’t have a conflict, simply contact your advisor to add the course. (Remember to inform your advisor and our staff of your preferred enrollment option.)

Q: Are scholarships still available for participating in band?

A: YES! Almost all of our Big Purple members receive some form of financial assistance. Please see scholarships and auditions for more information.

Please contact us for more information: 

Laura Dickson
Administrative Coordinator for Ensembles and Recruiting

ACU Box 28274
Abilene, Texas 79699-8274