Washington Pavilion and Augustana University partner to keep Municipal Band alive

Sioux Falls Municipal Band
Sioux Falls Municipal Band(Scott Engen)
Published: May. 17, 2022 at 11:57 AM CDT
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - Christopher Hill has announced his retirement as Bandmaster of the Sioux Falls Municipal Band. To ensure the band’s continued presence in the Sioux Falls community and take it to new heights, the Washington Pavilion is partnering with Augustana University, which will provide musical leadership for the Municipal Band.

“I’m grateful to the ‘Save Our Band’ organization for fighting for and saving the band, the City Council for voting to keep us funded, and to Darrin Smith and the Washington Pavilion for stepping up and managing the band. I am also grateful to our wonderful band and audience members who have supported the band for generations. It has been an honor and privilege to be your Bandmaster for the past 24 years,” says Hill.

According to a press release, during his tenure, Hill was known for innovative programming, with soloists such as Spooncat!, narrators like Senator John Thune and former Representative and current Augustana University President Stephanie Herseth Sandlin, and nationally renowned vocalists such as Andrea Ross and Emily Lodine. Top composers, such as Rossano Galante, Dan Goeller, Bruce Roter, and Christopher Stanichar, wrote pieces for the band under his direction. Hill greatly expanded the band’s outreach to retirement communities and carefully programmed music to suit the audience at each particular venue.

Moving forward, the Augustana University School of Music will provide musical leadership, including planning rehearsals, programming performances, recruiting band members, developing performance standards, and maintaining the band’s assets. The Washington Pavilion will provide operational leadership, including administering the budget, booking venues, marketing, and payroll. Band members will remain employees of Washington Pavilion Management, Inc., and conductors will be employees of Augustana University.

“We are honored to be a part of the more than 100-year tradition of the Sioux Falls Municipal Band, and we look forward to creating new opportunities for our students at Augustana and professional development opportunities for our faculty,” said the Dean of the Augustana School of Music, Dr. Peter Folliard. “When Chris Hill shared his retirement plans with me, we sat down and talked about possibilities, and this immediately made sense to us. I am so grateful for Darrin Smith and his support of this idea. Together, we’ll help carry on the tradition of this community treasure and find new ways to elevate its prominence.”

Officials say the Sioux Falls Municipal Band is one of the oldest and most prestigious community bands in the Midwest and has been performing since 1919. Since 2021, the band has been managed by Washington Pavilion Management, Inc.

“We are so grateful for Chris Hill’s years of service to this community and the joy he brought to so many people through his leadership of the Municipal Band. We also are so excited to partner with Augustana University, which of course is recognized for its tradition of excellence in music,” said the Director of Performances and Events at the Washington Pavilion, Regina Ruhberg. “Together, we can strengthen all three organizations by creating this amazing intersection between civic music performance, higher education and arts administration.”

To see the band’s full performance schedule for this summer’s season, go to WashingtonPavilion.org/SFMunicipalBand.

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