Musical reunion

Clarence Plank

Eastern New Mexico University is hosting a special class reunion this weekend with the alumni band.

The reunion began Thursday at the newly renovated band hall in the music building. Band alumni are rehearsing for a concert 4:30 p.m. Saturday at Buchanan Hall.

“They get together every other year,” said Dustin Seifert, ENMU director of bands. “The first reunion occurred in 1988, so if my math is correct, this will be the 12th reunion of the alumni. It was originally organized to celebrate the accomplishments of their mentor, Floren Thompson Jr., who the new band hall is named after.”

Thompson retired in 1987 as a professor of woodwinds. To honor his retirement, former band alumni gathered in 1988 for a reunion. The tradition of the ENMU Alumni Band was born.

In 2008, the ENMU Alumni Band raised money to renovate and rename the band hall.

“They also generate funds for a scholarship that is still offered through the department,” Seifert said. “They contributed significantly to the building project and once again the focus will shift back to the scholarship fund this year.”

Seifert said the alumni were also responsible for the acoustic curtains hanging in the band hall. The curtains can be moved to create different acoustic environments.

Today, alumni will be rehearsing and will attend a banquet later in the day.

Saturday includes rehearsal and a concert followed by a reception at the home of an alumnus.

The concert is free and open to the public.

“We expect over 140 people to attend the banquet on Friday,” said Seifert, noting he thinks this might be the largest turnout for the reunion.

ENMU alumnus Louis Hewett flew in from Italy, where he teaches choir at the American Naval Base. Hewett attended ENMU from 1995-2000 and 2002-2004 and plays the trombone.

“I come to this every two years mostly to come back and see my friends,” Hewett said. “So it is really pleasant to see the people I went to college with, trade stories and experiences. After teaching choir for a year I haven’t got to play much, so I’m looking forward to sitting down with the group and making music.”