Dr. Oldham joined members of the Golden Eagle marching band for practice one day to find out firsthand how hard they work.

As the new guy on campus, it is a lot of fun discovering all the amazing attributes of Tennessee Tech.  Yes we certainly have signature programs in engineering and science, but everybody already knows and expects that.  However, don’t be so quick to put TTU in a box, because there is much more to us than that. Many folks around the state may be surprised to find out that TTU has truly outstanding programs in the fine and performing arts.  TTU’s Appalachian Center for Craft located near Smithville, Tenn., offers a unique and highly creative environment for the fine arts. Several times a year these outstanding artists open their studios and display their talents for the community. Two of the biggest are coming up soon. Bacchanal, an auction whose proceeds go to support our art programs and student scholarships, is Sunday, Oct. 21, and the Holiday Festival, a sale of fine craft with demonstrations and workshops, is Friday through Sunday after Thanksgiving.

Music has also enjoyed a long history of excellence at Tech, dating back to 1915.  I am not sure how to legitimately compare university music programs, but my personal observations and experience put Tech’s programs among the very best anywhere in the country.  Music has such a unique way of simultaneously capturing our emotions and inspiring our actions.  These are qualities of Tennessee Tech that are not easily captured in a campus profile or documented in a spreadsheet, but you easily recognize and appreciate it when you experience it.  Whether it is the Golden Eagle Marching Band, the pride of Tennessee Tech, the drum line, the Tech Chorale, or one of the many other ensemble groups, you will find the performance quality outstanding and the experience personally moving.

It is nice when these qualities are recognized nationally by others.  The Tennessee Tech Percussion Ensemble, under the direction of Eric Willie, has recently been invited, along with three other schools, to perform at one of the largest and most prestigious showcases for percussion in the world.  The event will be Nov. 1 in Austin, Texas, featuring the University of Texas, University of South Carolina, Troy University and our own Tennessee Tech.  Congratulations to the Percussion Ensemble and best wishes.  You make us all proud to be Golden Eagles.

As humorously illustrated in the video, performance at this level is not for the novice and does not just happen easily or accidently.  The commitment and dedication of these students is more than commendable and nothing short of amazing.  However, it’s the passion they put into it that is the real magic ingredient.  One of the standard pieces performed by the Golden Eagle Marching Band is “There’s a Sweet, Sweet Spirit in This Place.”  Aside from being one of my personal favorites and a beautiful song, it is a true statement about Tennessee Tech.  There is a sweet spirit at Tennessee Tech, but it has little to do with the campus landscape or the buildings.  It’s a sweetness that comes from the passion and hard work of our great students and the faculty who continue to inspire and encourage them to reach their full potential.

Go Eagles!