UPIKE Band program has rich history and bright future

As UPIKE’s football team played its home game opener on September 14, another UPIKE team celebrated a major milestone. The UPIKE Band marched in its first home game which included a pre-game and halftime show. With the revitalization of the university band program comes excitement and memories of its history “on the hill.”

UPIKE’s Americans with Disabilities Act Services Counselor Katherine Petot and alumna of the university’s band program said it brings back many memories seeing the new program take flight. Petot credited former UPIKE Band Director and beloved professor, Jim Andy Caudill, for her memorable experience.

“During the early 70s, instrumentalists in the music program had a front-row seat to watch a renowned composer craft his work,” said Petot. “We were privileged to be part of the lab band that would debut Jim Andy Caudill’s ‘Landmark Overture,’ as well as other festival band compositions, marches and jazz charts. These experiences were invaluable in shaping our musical perspectives.” 

As a vital member of Pikeville College from 1969 to 1988, Caudill held several different roles including an associate instructor of music as well as band director. During his tenure, Caudill was the heartbeat of musical creativity at Pikeville College and inspired countless students to pursue a career in music.

Since there was no football program at then Pikeville College, the band was focused on music education and composition. Petot said the past and current band programs share a love for the community. During her time as a band member from 1971 to 1975, the group often made small performances and marched in parades. 

The UPIKE Band of today is involved in everything from service projects to pop-up performances in downtown Pikeville. 

“Band programs have been a spirited thread of our national identity throughout American history; they capture the culture of the people through music,” said UPIKE Director of Bands Michael Phillips, Ph.D. “The Wind Band program today has that same potential as the previous program, and more, as it reignites with not only students, but the faculty and staff of UPIKE that is laced with musical talent, and the community members that thirst for the resurgence of music and what it adds to the culture in Pikeville.”

With new uniforms, talented students and an upbeat staff leading a vibrant and unique program, there’s a lot on the horizon for the UPIKE Band. 

“I think the future of the UPIKE Band program is bright,” said Assistant Director of Bands Trevor Bailey. “We are finding ways each and every day to insert the UPIKE Band program into the city, state and region whether it’s through pop-up performances around our beautiful campus, performing at sporting events or traveling to Cleveland, Ohio, to play on the main stage at the iconic Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. This program is growing fast, and it is exciting to be around. We welcome anyone around the campus or community to participate in one of our ensembles. Being involved with restoring the music program here at UPIKE will no doubt benefit everyone and also ensure that this band program is around for future generations.”

The UPIKE Band includes UPIKE Wind Band, UPIKE Jazz Band, UPIKE Rocks Basketball Jam Band, The Mighty Five Drum Vibe and Drum Line, UPIKE Marching Band as well as the annual Tuba Christmas event, Band Summer Growling Sessions, Advanced Achievement in Performance Lab and AIM Summer Camp.

For more information about the UPIKE Bands, call (606) 218-5740 or email bands@upike.edu.

Jim Andy Caudill