Groundbreaking for New Minuteman Marching Band Building Set for Saturday, Oct. 17 at 1 p.m.

*****MEDIA ADVISORY*****

DATE: Sat., Oct. 17, 2009

TIME: 1 p.m.

PLACE: 151 Grinnell Road, off Commonwealth Avenue and adjacent to the UMass Amherst police station.

Officials from the University of Massachusetts Amherst will break ground for a new $5.7 million Minuteman Marching Band Building, which will serve as the permanent home for the band known as “The Power and Class of New England.” George N. Parks, band director, says in addition to the nearly 400 members of the band who will be at the event, he expects a significant number of band alumni and friends to be at the ceremony.

Among those attending the ceremony will be Sen. Stanley C. Rosenberg, a former band member, Jack M. Wilson, UMass president, Robert C. Holub, UMass Amherst chancellor, Henry M. Thomas III, UMass trustee and Jeff Cox, chairman of the department of music and dance. Holub will introduce alumnus and former band member Matt Dunphy, who also served as manager, personnel manager and Hoop Band manager, and Caitlin Bogdan, the current band manager.

Parks notes that the band has been without a permanent home since 1997 when it was moved out of the Old Chapel due to safety issues with that building. The new structure will be attached by a walkway to Grinnell Arena, which will be renovated. The main band building is located up the hill from the new student recreation center and next to the police station. The first floor of the new building will consist of a grand concert hall where the band will be able to rehearse inside if necessary. The second floor will have an observation deck and offices for the band’s administrative staff. The building will be constructed using energy-saving techniques and materials.