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July 2011

New artist-in-residence to have music department marching to his beat

Students in the music department of Avila University’s College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences will march to the beat of a different drummer this fall.

Patrick McCarty, who has directed bands and drumlines at the high school and college levels for nearly 10 years and directed Avila’s first pep band last school year, will take a greater role at the university this year as the music department’s artist-in-residence. As such, McCarty not only will continue building on the success of the pep band, but he’ll also teach a class in music appreciation and assist the department in recruiting new students.

“College teaching is something I’ve wanted to pursue,” said McCarty, 30. “Being able to start that here at Avila is just awesome. I’m honored to be getting a chance at this experience.”

It’s a chance that McCarty has been building toward nearly his entire life.

The son of a retired band director and elementary music teacher, McCarty’s love of music was all but preordained. And, it was pretty early on that he discovered his love for drums and percussion, playing in pep and marching bands and drumlines all through high school growing up in Emporia, Kan. It’s the same area he concentrated on while pursuing his bachelor’s in music education at Kansas University, a degree he earned in 2004. He played in bands that traveled to two NCAA Final Four basketball championships, in 2002 and ’03.

While still pursuing his undergraduate degree at KU, McCarty took a job teaching drumlines at a number of area high schools – first at Raymore Peculiar High School in Peculiar, Mo., then Shawnee Mission North High School in Mission, Kan. and also at Lawrence High School. From 2005-10, he served as assistant director of bands at Lawrence High, taught four classes of sixth grade beginning band, co-taught marching band and directed concert, jazz and pep bands.

“I also do arrangements for pep bands,” he said. “I’m currently working on 10 high schools-worth of marching band music and drill.

“I’m at my computer 24/7 during summers.”

And, when he isn’t busy with all that, McCarty also plays in his own band, The Majestics Rhythm Revue, based in Lawrence.

At the same time, McCarty said he’s really looking forward to trying something new, such as he took on last fall when he formed and directed the first pep band at Avila.

“We played at the last three home football games and one basketball game,” he said. “It was very exciting to bring something new to those games. It’s a small, but mighty, group right now.”

It’s also a group McCarty said is growing. He’s recruited a lot of new instrumental players and said this season’s Eagles pep band should be about twice the size of last season’s.

“We’ll have a drumline for all football games,” he said. “And, we’re hoping to hit a lot more than one basketball game. We’re hoping to hit all the big rivalry games.”

McCarty’s path to becoming Avila’s artist-in-residence occurred primarily by chance, he said. A friend of his recommended him to Amity Bryson, a music professor at the university.

As artist-in-residence, McCarty said he looks forward to becoming much more involved on campus in what he calls a “great partnership we have between the music department and athletic department.” He’s currently working on his master’s degree at KU, which someday could lead to a full professorship at Avila, he said.

“Amity graciously brought me into the music department with a full line of drumline equipment, and we are working to collaborate very closely with athletics,” he said. “It’s exciting to be building something from the ground up. I have a great pride in that.” AU

Media Contact: Bob Luder, 816.501.2434