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Arts & Life

Personalities: Jim McKinney, Fmr. SDSU Band Director

Jim McKinney

Jim McKinney came to South Dakota State University in 1975 and was SDSU's band director from 1983 until his retirement in 2009. Hundreds and more likely thousands of student musicians followed McKinney's lead in concerts and other performances in South Dakota and around the nation.

Chuck Anderson interviewed McKinney in November of 1992. They talked about filling the ranks of SDSU's large marching band, "The Pride of the Dakotas."

Students seeking music scholarships must perform well in auditions before the entire SDSU music faculty.

JimMckinney-Auditions.mp3
The music scholarship process at SDSU is highly competitive.
Jim McKinney
Jim McKinney (yellow shirt) marching with the SDSU band.

Among other things, band directors need to draw a line between having fun in the band and having too much fun.

JimMckinney-HavingFun.mp3
Students won't stay in band if they're not having fun but if they're having too much fun, performances can suffer.

Chuck Anderson was a high school band director for a time. He and McKinney discovered they had a musical experience in common: both played drums for Bob Hope on tour. McKinney began his musical career as a drummer and percussionist.

JimMckinney-bobHope.mp3
Bob Hope expected a lot from the players in his bands.

Listen to Chuck's entire interview with Jim McKinney, SDSU band director from 1983 until 2008.

JimMckinney.mp3
Interview recorded November 8, 1992 on the SDSU campus.