Non-athletic events deserve attention too

Student attendance at athletic events is generally less than the athletes strive for, and for the number of hours they put in they deserve more people there.

Well, I’m guilty as charged. I’ve never been to a single basketball, volleyball, baseball or soccer game. In fact, I’ve only ever been to football games, which I enjoy very much. All student athletes work very hard and deserve a good crowd to see the culmination of their work.

But then I thought about the last time I saw a football player at one of my band concerts. It was in eighth grade when half of the football team was still in band.

As a matter of fact, thinking about the band concerts we’ve put on since I’ve been at TCU, the students in the audience tend to be members of the marching band. Surely we deserve a better turnout for the hours of work we put in as well.

The orchestra usually gets a better turnout than we do, but still never as many students as they would like. Members of the choir often sing only to their parents and other music majors. I’ve been to student recitals with fewer than 20 people in the audience, only two or three who are students. Those recitals are among the proudest moments of a music major’s college experience, and they work for countless hours, weeks and months to prepare for them.

Then there’s the group of students who work for the most hours for the least number of performances: the theatre department. I was in a small theater production once in high school, so I have a vague idea of how much time it takes to build the sets, create the costumes, arrange the lights and get everything running smoothly. The time it takes to practice each scene, memorize lines, rehearse every scene and put on nightly dress rehearsals is staggering. Plus, there’s the amount of time students spend simply trying to improve their craft by taking acting, singing and dancing classes.

The dance department puts on two shows a year, and they are big productions that require more hours of physical activity than I can fathom. During Family Weekend this year, Mu Phi Epsilon, a co-education music fraternity, and the Music Educators Organization hosted the third annual Stars of TCU talent show with some really impressive acts, including Tim Halperin. Fewer than 300 students attended. Each Thursday, Senseless Acts of Comedy gives an improv show in the BLUU Auditorium to usually less than 100 students.

I’m not saying I think there should be as many students present at every band concert as there are at every football game. That’s unrealistic, and there’s not enough space in Ed Landreth Auditorium. Not every student on campus should go to every one of these events. But I do think that if student leaders and faculty are going to try to promote campus unity, instead of encouraging more students to attend sporting activities, we should be encouraging students to attend everything that catches their eye. There’s so much more going on around here than athletics, and those of us involved in those things care as deeply about them as the athletes do about their games. We want to see a bigger turnout as well, and the more people can come to a variety of things, the better connected our campus will be.

Katie Croll is a junior music education major from Grapevine.