The following article was printed in the Indiana Statesman, Friday, April 12, 2012. It is reprinted here with permission.
By Hayley Demaree
Assistant Features Editor
Students made music history Tuesday when the Kappa Kappa Psi national honorary band fraternity initiated former faculty members of Indiana State as honorary members.
William Wakefield, George Graesch, Cynthia Wagoner and Gary Smith were inducted into the fraternity.
Senior music education major and president of Kappa Kappa Psi Noah Leininger said the faculty members chosen to be inducted were honored for their accomplishments throughout their careers.
“Their contributions to ISU’s bands, School of Music and the university as a whole are truly unparalleled,” Leininger said.
The “Concert of Celebration” was held to honor Graesch, who is the longest serving band director at Indiana State. While under Graesch’s direction, ISU’s bands played for thousands of Hoosiers while touring Indiana. Also under Graesch, the “Marching Sycamores” performed for several National Football League halftime shows, including Green Bay Packers and Chicago Bears games.
“Without Graesch, it is possible that ISU’s bands and entire School of Music would not exist … certainly not in the same way that they do today,” Leininger said.
Wakefield, Wagoner and Smith were invited back as guest conductors. All three were either Graesch’s students or colleagues during his career at ISU. The fraternity held a pre-reception and post-reception to the “Concert of Celebration” on Tuesday.
Sophomore political science major Julian Winborn, who serves as vice president of programs for Kappa Kappa Psi, said the fraternity is expanding its reach and taking on larger projects like the Graesch concert in order to become more visible on campus.
The organization recently received the 2012 North Central District Superior Achievement Award and hosted a solo and ensemble workshop for Wabash Valley middle and high school musicians.
The group also presented the “Kappa Kappa RePsital” in November 2012.
“Most of what we do is not blatantly apparent,” Winborn said. “We do quite a bit of behind-the-scenes work that is required for the success of the university bands.”
Leininger said his involvement with the organization has helped him develop skills that will be invaluable to him professionally and personally.
“The fraternity has helped me really come out of my shell,” he said. “I have made relationships with current and future band directors all across the nation.”