UA alumnus, Chad Shoopman has marched home to be the new UA director of athletic bands and lead the Pride of Arizona band program he once preformed in.
Shoopman, who received his bachelor's degree in music education and his master's in music performance from the UA’s Fred Fox School of Music, was a drum major in the Pride of Arizona, which is widely viewed as one of the premier college marching bands in the nation.
“The Pride is more than just the individuals," Shoopman said. "When you put it all together there is something just magical that happens, it creates something more, and that has been something that brought me back here."
Shoopman is originally from Tucson and attended Canyon Del Oro High School where he was a trumpet player in the Dorado's marching band. He began playing music in sixth grade.
"I kind of wanted to play saxophone, so I went to my middle school director and he asked, 'can you buzz your lips?'” Shoopman said. “ So I just started running around and made airplane noises and he said ‘you’re a trumpet’ and I said 'okay.' I was really bummed then, but it ended up being a very good match for me.”
Shoopman, whose UA office is decorated with pictures of famous trumpeters , has continued to work in the musical performance industry since graduation.
- Shoopman served as a graduate teaching assistant under the direction of former director of bands, Jay C. Rees.
- For 17 years Shoopman worked as a performer, conductor and clinician with the Walt Disney Corporation.
- Shoopman directed the Brass Band of Central Florida..
- He is also a freelance musician who has performed with numerous orchestras, jazz bands and ensembles.
Shoopman said he believes everyone does things differently and doesn’t have any intention of changing every aspect the band is about, but rather bring a renewed sense of professionalism.
“Pride spelled out is performance, respect, integrity, dignity and excellence - everything we do comes back to one of those five things,” Shoopman said. "We want to perform at the highest possible level with excellence in everything we do, and dignity is how we get there.”
Shoopman said that any decision he makes will always be in the best interest of the students, their growth and their life experience is number one on his list, everything else is secondary.
“Something about band is unique, there is a performance aspect, an athletic aspect, a family aspect — there’s so many aspects of band that really kind of draw you to it,” said Pride of Arizona senior drum major, Abby Lynn Hill.
Hill is in her last year of marching band, and said she feels excited to see the future of something she has been a part of for four years.
“I’m really excited about something new for our band,” Hill said. “I think traditions are really important for our band, but I think that having different perspectives is important to continue to grow.”
Hill said Shoopman is really open about hearing opinions on how to make the Pride of Arizona better, and keeps all of the members’ best interests in mind.
“My dream goal is for someone to come back in five or six years and go ‘remember that day in rehearsal when you said this’ or ‘remember when we did that, it changed my life,’” Shoopman said. “That’s the best. I can’t imagine something being more meaningful and affecting someone’s life in a way that they may not get it now, but that down the road they go ‘man that’s what it’s about.’ That makes me feel goosebumps.”
Shoopman said the 2016 Pride of Arizona will be performing the music of Earth, Wind and Fire, because it's something that most, if not all people, will recognize and believes it is a great way to reach the audience.
“For me if a regular person in the stand is having a hot dog and hanging out with friends, and all of a sudden they see and hear the pride, I want them to go ‘Man the band looks really good, man the band sounds good,’” Shoopman said. “If we can reach the average fan that comes to the Arizona Stadium, in that way, that’s a huge draw because we represent the Fred Fox School of Music, athletics and the Tucson community.”
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