Scott Boerma, Marching Band director and an associate professor of conducting, resigned Tuesday evening to assume the position of director of bands at his alma mater, Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, Mich.
In a statement on the Marching Band’s Facebook page, University Director of Bands Michael Haithcock announced the resignation and wished Boerma well.
“Today Professor Scott Boerma announced his resignation as Director of the Michigan Marching Band to students in their post-bowl wrap up meeting,” Haithcock said. “Dr. Boerma is leaving UM to take his ‘dream job’ as Director of Bands at his alma mater, Western Michigan University. While we are all very sad Professor Boerma will leave us, we are thrilled his dream has come true.”
In an interview Wednesday, Boerma said he decided to announce his decision early in the semester so the band has a plan in place to move forward.
“It is our highest priority to make sure (the transition) is smooth for the students,” Boerma said.
Boerma will continue to lead the Marching Band until the end of the semester. He will begin his position at WMU in August.
Haithcock said in an interview he has not yet named Boerma’s replacement.
“He was just offered the job at Western Michigan right around the holidays so there is a bunch of institutional steps we have to go through to consider (his replacement),” Haithcock said. “Because it’s the first day of school we have not been able to get very far in the process.”
Boerma’s dedication to the program was evident in remarks from his students regarding his departure.
LSA junior Zach Salander, a horn player, expressed his gratitude for all that Boerma has done for both him and the program.
“He will truly be missed. He helped me make my dreams come true, and I will always be thankful for that. It was always my dream to be in the Michigan Marching Band, and he helped make that a reality,” Salander said. “I’ll never forget how one day he asked people to switch from trumpet to horn and when I volunteered he helped me and supported me with that. The very first day he already knew my name.”
Music, Theatre & Dance senior Eric Szkarlat, who plays the piccolo, reflected on the impact of Boerma’s leadership on his past four seasons with the band.
“All that I can possibly say is how lucky Western is to have him. We were very lucky to have him, and undoubtedly they’ll be successful,” Szkarlat said. “He’s wanted this for a long time, but basically every music program he touches turns to gold.”
The effects of Boerma’s influence are not only evident in the words of seasoned veterans, but also in responses from freshmen who spent only one season with him. Many regarded Boerma as caring, attentive and a motivating force within the program.
“He was always there to make sure we were on task, and I quickly learned a lot,” LSA freshman Sam Wallace said.
Wallace added that even in one season, he was impacted by Boerma.
“He was very popular with everyone within the band, and people had a lot of respect for him,” Wallace said. “He was fantastic at arranging music, but, more importantly, had the power to inspire and motivate people to push themselves to always do their best.”
Engineering freshman Monica Walker echoed Wallace’s sentiments, saying that working under Boerma’s leadership aided in not only her musical progress, but also in her overall college experience.
“As a freshman, he really helped me transition into college,” Walker said. “He came up to me on the first day and said, ‘Hello, Monica. I’m glad you’re here; it’s nice to meet you,’ and it was really cool — like he already knew my name. I’ll miss him terribly, but this is his dream job and nobody deserves it more than him.”