This article is part two in a series on the UMass Minuteman Marching Band as they prepare to march in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.
On a typical day, Dr. Timothy Anderson comes into work around 7 a.m., goes to the University of Massachusetts Recreation Center and then attends to his administrative duties before his evening is consumed by his passion: marching band.
“I was in marching band in college at the University of Iowa and my first fall there, it was just such a wonderful experience and I enjoyed it so much, I wondered if we could make a living doing this,” Anderson said.
Anderson has been the director of the UMass Minuteman Marching Band since 2011, after the former director, George Parks, passed away unexpectedly from a heart attack in 2010. During his tenure in Amherst, Anderson has brought the marching band to a Bands of America Grand National Championship Exhibition and is preparing to bring the band to the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade at the end of the month.
“Each band has to apply for [the Macy’s Parade] and you send videos of what you’ve done and…a resume of your band’s accomplishments for a long period of time,” said Anderson.
He added, “I’d say our invitation was based on the great work of Professor Parks and Professor (Thom) Hannum and everyone who’s done so much for the band over the years.”
Anderson attended the University of Iowa where he received his bachelor’s degree in music and then the University of Florida where he received his master’s degree in music. He also received a doctorate of education in music education from the University of Illinois.
Before coming to UMass, Anderson taught for five years at Fresno State University. There he directed the Bulldog Marching Band and pep band, the symphonic band and the concert band. He was also a middle school and high school band director in State Center, Iowa.
The decision to transition to UMass came from a variety of factors for Anderson, chiefly the marching band’s reputation.
“It’s a band with quite an illustrious reputation,” he said. “It was a neat opportunity, it was something a little different and it seemed like something to look into.”
When Anderson is not directing the Minuteman Marching Band, he teaches multiple classes at the University, including a graduate conducting seminar and a class on marching band technique. He also directs a concert band and the UMass Hoop Band, which plays at the UMass basketball games.
“There’s a lot to keep involved with,” said Anderson.
Outside of the school, Anderson enjoys following sports, especially college basketball, being involved with his church, St. Brigid’s Parish and reading a variety of different books.
“Lately I’ve been reading a lot of Russian literature,” Anderson said. “I find that their experience is very unique and the Russian people have gone through a lot and the way it’s been expressed in their authors is always … compelling.”
One of the Anderson’s favorite things about UMass is the students’ strength of conviction.
“UMass students are very independent-minded,” he said. “They have very strong opinions and they’re not afraid to share them. I respect their free thinking. In today’s day and age it’s important for students to stand up for what they believe in.”
Anderson does not plan to change much about the marching band in the coming years – just to continue the traditions of his predecessors.
“I think [my goal is] just continuing the traditions that this band is known for, the tradition of excellence that all of our alumni look back at and see a band that they’re proud of and can relate to,” Anderson said.
“This band has been very good for a long time,” he added. “Professor Parks came here in 1977. This band has been invited to three different presidential inauguration parades and we view going to the Macy’s Parade as another step in our band’s continued history.”
Patrick Hoff can be reached at [email protected]