Monday, November 16, 2015

Marching Into a Different Life

by Lucy M. Pritchett

Amy Acklin is associate director of  bands and director of the Cardinal Marching Band at the University of Louisville.

When you hear the call to march to the beat of your own drummer, you might want to take heed. It could just be a turning point in your life.

It was for Amy Acklin, 39, associate director of bands and director of the Cardinal Marching Band at the University of Louisville. How did she come to be in charge of directing 200 marching band members at the university’s football and bowl games?

“I knew in college I wanted to teach music to college-age students,” says this UofL graduate. She holds bachelor’s and master’s in music degrees in conducting from UofL and a Ph. D. in music education from Florida State University.

In 2009, she arrived back at her alma mater as assistant director of bands and assistant professor of music education after teaching music and leading marching bands in California public schools for six years. After she had spent two years here teaching, UofL held a national search for someone to lead the marching band, and she applied.

Amy's choice to follow her instincts had a positive impact on her career.

“I was on a tenure track with the university, but the marching band position was non-tenure,” Amy says. “The position was offered with a three-year renewable contract. I would be giving up the security of possible tenure if I got the job.

“I was pregnant with our first child at the time, and I knew in my gut that if I was going to be a working mom, I had better be doing what I felt I was called to do with my life. It was the position itself that I was energized to teach.”

Amy directs 200 marching band members at the university's football and bowl games.

After multiple interviews and an audition, Amy was selected for the job. As it turns out, Amy says that Shirley Willihnganz, provost at the time, made the decision not to take tenure away from her.

So, even though Amy boldly made the decision to apply for a job she knew she would love over staying where she was for job security, it turns out that she got both.

Her passion for teaching music fuels Amy's motivation in the job. 

You can read here about the history of the university’s marching band and find the schedule of its upcoming performances.

Trumpets and tubas and drums, oh my!

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