ESU Welcomes New Band Director
Jeremy Ketterer is a member of East Stroudsburg University’s band, and he’s on the Brian Hodge bandwagon. Hodge, hired as assistant professor of theatre at ESU, will also serve as ESU’s band director.
“So far, he’s done a tremendous job,” said Ketterer, a sophomore majoring in computer science from Sellersville, Pa. “He has brought a lot of organization to our band. He’s been able to get a lot of things done. He’s bringing incredible ideas, and taking our band to new heights.”
For years prior to the 2018-19 season, ESU did not have a full-time band director.
Hodge is doing everything he can to put together a show that the 50-plus band members will not only enjoy but be proud of.
“As far as I can tell, they are loving the energy we are bringing,” Hodge said. “I think everyone appreciates that the university hired someone full time, and they’re really digging into what has been given them.”
“The response has been wonderful from the students,’ Hodge said. “They have really bought into what we are trying to build here. I think we have a shared vision for what this can be.”
“We are excited to have such an accomplished band director and scholar to breathe new life into the band program at ESU, and the surrounding Northeastern Pennsylvania music community,” said Margaret J. Ball, DMA, professor of theatre and interim associate dean for the college of arts and sciences. Professor Ball was chair of the theatre department when Hodge was hired.
The halftime performances at ESU football games at Eiler-Martin Stadium will include music from Rock & Roll Hall of Fame members The Kinks, Led Zeppelin and Ozzy Osbourne.
“We are putting together a pretty killer show,” Hodge said. “I am really taking advantage of how quickly the students are learning on the field. I’m writing one of the most difficult shows I have ever written, and they are eating it up.”
“I am very happy and so proud of the progress we are making,” Hodge said.
The hours were long for Hodge and ESU’s band members late this summer. Days started at 9 a.m. There were breaks for lunch and dinner, before things wrapped up daily around 9 p.m.
The hard work and long hours have not discouraged Ketterer and his band mates. In fact, they respect the effort and dedication Hodge has put in.
Previously, Hodge was assistant band director at the University of Arizona, as well as interim director of instrumental music at Rhodes College, a small liberal arts school in Memphis, and director of bands at Sullivan North High School in Kingsport, Tenn.
He is drawing from his experiences working with bands small and large, and writing music with the ESU band specifically in mind.
That hasn’t gone unnoticed.
“Because he is writing new music for us,” Ketterer said, “he is able to tailor it to our band so we have a unique presentation.”
“The fact that he can write music for us, specifically, has been really nice and lets us reach our full potential. If we don’t have a lot of one particular instrument for a certain song, he makes sure that his song writing takes that into account. We are very excited about that.”
Hodge also believes some credit for the current state of the ESU band program belongs to past, part-time directors.
“They can only invest so much into it,” he said. “Now it’s my job to get them growing and improving. These students are wonderful to work with.”
“We are trying to grow and build a legacy, and that’s what they really want to have here. I want to be a conductor who is committed to them,” said Hodge. He believes there are bright days ahead. “There are a lot of good things that will happen for these kids, and I’m excited to see it all unfold.”
The Warrior Marching Band’s first performance under Hodge’s direction will be at the Warrior Football home opener on Saturday, Sept. 8, at Eiler-Martin Stadium at 6:05 p.m.