The University of Arizona

An Open Letter to The “Pride of Arizona”

The following message is from incoming UA Director of Athletic Bands, Chad Shoopman, to the current and future members of the Pride of Arizona.

March 23, 2016

To the Membership of The “Pride of Arizona”:

Dear Members,

It is a distinct honor to be selected as the Director of the “Pride of Arizona”. It is a tremendous opportunity professionally and it affords me the unique chance to come home and lead a program that truly helped shaped my life. As a University of Arizona Alumni (’96, ’99), I was a member of the POA for 4 years, the first 2 as a trumpet player and section leader. The last 2 years I was the drum major. I went on to become a Graduate Teaching Assistant for Professor Jay C. Rees in 1996 & 1997 (Pink Floyd & Smashing Pumpkins) and I had the privilege of taking the Pep Band on the Sweet 16 leg of our National Championship run in 1997 under Coach Lute Olsen. These are great memories that I will cherish always. I am a Tucson native. I attended Donaldson Elementary, Cross Junior High, and Canyon Del Oro High School. My parents still live in Oro Valley, as does my sister, who is an amazing music educator and choir director at Wilson K-8 School.

My journey home took 17 years and included a wealth of experiences working as a professional conductor, trumpet player, arranger, and clinician. As I further developed my passion for the transformative power of music, particularly through music education, I gained real-world appreciation for the impact that creativity and performance excellence can have on people. I am truly excited to return to my alma mater and share that experience with you.

I appreciate that changes in leadership can be hard but these changes also represent a unique opportunity to hear new ideas, experience new ways of thinking and, they frequently help us grow as people as well as musicians. As a freelance musician, including my work at Disney, I quickly learned that change is a constant; with new leaders bringing new approaches and fresh ideas that pushed me to adapt, realize and embrace their vision to the best of my ability. Even during my time with the “Pride” I had the privilege of marching under 3 different directors….each bringing with them their own unique talents, styles, and expectations. Looking back I appreciate how these changes impacted my life in a profoundly positive way. So as we begin our new journey together I ask you to embrace the possibilities of this change. Rest assured that I care about your experience in the “Pride of Arizona” more than anything else. This band has always been about the students. It is the experience you have and the growth you will experience that inspires me. I trust in the power of what music can do through you and for everyone that experiences the “Pride”…it will be great and it will be yours!

The expectations I have for you will be nothing short of your best at all times. If we cannot do something to a standard of excellence beyond any other, than we don’t do it. I expect 100% from each and every one of you. You will get 110% from me. With your commitment, our journey will bring unforgettable experiences, opportunities, memories, and friendships that will last a lifetime!

I will be visiting campus April 8th – 11th and April 27th – May 9th to take part in section leader and drum major auditions, and to make preparations to hit the ground running this summer. I look forward to speaking with each of you soon. We have a great opportunity to build on the tremendous reputation of the POA, a reputation earned by so many who came before us. We will build on their great work, and together we will take the “Pride of Arizona” to even greater heights in the years to come!

Musically Yours,

Chad Shoopman