TitleMarching Band Equipment FY 2013-2015 Request Date2012-11-28
RequestorNathan Stark Phone406-994-5761
Campuses Bozeman Billings Havre Great Falls FSTS Extension MAES
Cross Depts All Departments
Proposed Dates Start: Jan 2013 End: Aug 2013
This is a proposal to replace old and failing equipment for the "Spirit of the West" Marching Band. The band is continuing to grow while at the same time experiencing a shortage of adequately functioning equipment. As a result, not only do we have an insufficient inventory for our current students, we are unprepared for any future growth. The marching band serves students from all over MSU representing nearly every college while also representing the entire university through frequent appearances at athletic events, ceremonies, and many other gatherings both on and off campus.
Objective E.1: Strategically increase service, outreach and engagement
at MSU.

As one of the largest and most visible student organizations on campus,the “Spirit of the West” marching band performs at over fifty events annually. While most of our performances are centered around athletic events on campus, we perform extensively for the community. Examples of this are “Legend of the Bobcat”, Freshman Convocation, the Homecoming parade, the downtown “Cat Walk”, two pep rallies, outreach to Anderson School and Greenwood Academy, and for a Bozeman High School football game. None of these performances provide the band with any additional financial support. We perform because we see it as a crucial component to our role as musical ambassadors for Montana State University.

Excellence: We believe in challenging ourselves and our students in the pursuit of the highest quality in all that we do.

Integrity: We value honesty and professionalism in all of our work. We also believe that each of us is personally accountable for our work and our behavior.

Participation as a band member demands dedication and perseverance as it broadens students’ artistic and social perspectives, building self-assurance and loyalty to the band and ultimately to MSU.
Funding Type: One-Time Only Funding Base (3-yr Recurring) Funding
  FY13 FY14 FY15 Base ($) OTO Startup ($)   FTE;
Materials & Supplies 40000             
Contracted Services              
Other Operations              
TOTAL 40000     
Please comment, if necessary, regarding cost and requirements.

Regardless of the purpose of each performance by the “Spirit of the West,” there is a tangible cost associated with that performance. Our expenses can be categorized into three areas: combustible materials, equipment wear and tear, and student time. Our operating budget helps us to offset expenses related to combustible materials, but the long-term strain on our equipment and students is more difficult to quantify. We have now reached the point when old and failing equipment can no longer be ignored. Our students need to feel valued and appreciated for their time and effort. To have them continue to perform on equipment that is barely functioning is not adequate. This proposal will supply equipment for the band that is beyond our ability to purchase using the funds that we currently have available to us.

Furthermore, an investment in equipment at this time will ensure that we have the needed instruments to supply to students in future years (and avoid a repeat of this year) as we continue to expand the band. Given current market prices, the cost to equip an increase of our band to 120-130 members is approximately $78,000.00. This proposal is for a portion of these expenses, as we expect that the combined efforts of the MSU Foundation and our other budget proposal to increase operating funds to make up the difference. When the band exceeds 120 members, our equipment needs will be reassessed.



Describe the Proposal

Our goal is to increase the size of the marching band to 150 members—approximately double the size of our 2011 band. However, before we can accept the challenge of funding a group this size, we must first support the band we already have. Our 2012 band is the largest we have had in over a decade. We are currently employing almost every piece of working equipment that we possess, in addition to using things that are only partially functional. Many of our students elect to use their personal equipment, and we are also borrowing instruments from Bozeman High school. Many of our instruments show visible signs of wear and tear including duct tape, loss of lacquer, and large dents. Our equipment truck is so undependable that it is broken-down as often as it is running. It is unthinkable that we should continue to grow our numbers without the equipment to do so.

Describe the broader impacts and benefits of this proposal

The role of the “Spirit of the West” is expanding. Traditionally, the band has performed at home football and basketball games, adding to the game-day atmosphere and energizing the crowd. We are now taking a larger role within the university to provide both pomp and ceremony to events such as Freshman Convocation. As we transition from being purely an “athletic” band to becoming musical ambassadors of Montana State, we have found that our emphasis in rehearsals and performance has also evolved. As a performance ensemble through the School of Music, we are obligated to provide our students with a dynamic repertoire with both musical and visual components. As representatives of the university, both on and off campus, we must instill a sense of the school's values and vision wherever we perform. Our efforts to accomplish this are undermined by a lack of adequate inventory of instruments and equipment to showcase our student talent and bring the best of Montana State music to our community.

Implementation Plan

Year 1 (FY 2013): Band has increased by 20 members (increase of 28%). This increase has stretched our inventory of equipment to its limits. In addition, failing equipment is in need of replacement. We need 4 piccolos, 6 sousaphones, 4 baritones, 2 mellophones, 5 cymbals, 1 tenor saxophone, and our equipment truck. These needs are immediate. The cost of these purchases will be paid completely by this proposal.

Year 2 (FY 2014): Band increases to 110 members. New instruments must be purchased to accommodate student needs: 2 sousaphones, 2 baritones, 4 mellophones, 2 snare drums, 1 tenor drum, 2 cymbals, 1 tenor saxophone. In addition, we need a replacement truck or trailer to haul equipment around campus and the community. Anticipated equipment needs will be purchased in FY 2013 by this proposal with additional support through the Foundation as well as our annual operating budget (provided increase is approved).

Year 3 (FY 2015): Band increases to 130 members. New instruments must be purchased to accommodate student needs: 4 piccolos, 4 sousaphones, 4 baritones, 2 mellophones. These purchases will be made with support through the Foundation and our annual operating budget (providing increase is approved).



Assessment Plan

FY 2013--Goal of increasing the band by 20 members is already met based upon Fall 2012 enrollment. Equipment has been borrowed from Bozeman High School to help outfit the current band. Many MSU-owned instruments are causing the band to under-perform due to excessive wear-and-tear.

FY 2014--Band size is approximately 110 members. Support from this proposal has helped outfit the band with new instruments and equipment. No instruments are borrowed from the local schools and all equipment is fully functional.

FY 2015--Band size is approximately 130 members. Support from this proposal has helped outfit the band with new instruments and equipment. Future equipment needs will be reassessed during this year.


If assessed objectives are not met in the timeframe outlined what is the plan to sunset this proposal?

Since the FY 2013 band recruitment goal has already been met, and the need for new equipment is immediate, there is little need to consider how to sunset this proposal. If future assessed objectives are not met, the music, CAA and university leadership will need to meet and discuss why they were not met and decide on a strategy for moving forward.

Department Head: Gregory Young (
Dean/Director: Nancy Cornwell (
Executive/VP: Martha Potvin (