The end of the month will bring with it the official departure of Professor Cynthia Bridges, band director and professor of upper level music education classes. She made the announcement to students at band camp near the end of August. Chair of the Music Department, Dr. David Donelson, said the announcement came at a surprise, especially because of the timing.
For seven years, Bridges has directed the marching band and symphonic band in addition to teaching several upper level music education courses. Her husband has served as an adjunct professor and has helped with the band in giving individual lessons.
Kristen Mahan, senior music education major, has experienced the teaching of both Bridges as a three year symphonic and marching band member.
“Her announcement at band camp was a sucker punch,” Mahan said. “They both cared about and helped me so much. But at the same time change can be good.”
Bridges officially gave instruction of the band over to Alan Houk, the new interim band director, on the 27th. Houk is a retired band director from United Local School District and is serving as director of marching and symphonic band for the year.
“We will be starting a national search sometime in October or November to find a permanent person for the position,” Donelson said.
Bridges will be the department chair of the music department at Del Mar College in Corpus Christi, Texas. Del Mar is a two-year state funded school of about 12,000 students. The mid-semester switch “was their timing,” Bridges said. The application process did not begin until late May, which put the interview process in late August.
“This is a very difficult position for me to leave; it’s a very difficult university to leave,” Bridges said.
As sad as student Mahan is that Bridges is leaving, she is glad for her new opportunity as well.
“She can be closer to her family and further her professional career,” Mahan said. “Kudos to her. I will miss her a lot.”
“Students have really appreciated Dr. Bridges,” Donelson said. “She has done a tremendous job and we wish her the best.”