Sea Aggie Band “101”

At Texas A&M University, Galveston Campus (TAMUG), the seaworthy arm of Texas A&M, tradition rules and music inspires.  The Sea Aggie Band combines rich traditions of service of a Texas A&M Band with time honored customs of maritime music as well as other musical genres.  A community of approximately 2500 located adjacent to Galveston Harbor and Galveston Bay, we share a passion to work and study amid an ocean environment.  Beyond that we endeavor to enrich our community with the sounds of Sea Aggie Spirit.  We invite you to join us and enjoy our performances.

When was the Sea Aggie Band (SAB) created?

With an original inception in 1969 under the guidance of (then) Texas Maritime Academy student Jim Sterling, SAB was revived in the spring of 2011.  Since June of 2011, the band has been under the guidance of university staff advisor, Major Wayne Bertrand, the Midshipman Training Officer of the Texas A&M Maritime Academy (TMA).

Who can join the band?

Interested TAMUG students, graduates, faculty, and staff as well as select musicians outside the university community are encouraged to join the band. Student participation in the band does not require enrollment in the TMA program of instruction. Since 2011, approximately 60% of the band’s membership has been comprised of undergraduate students pursuing majors unrelated to the academy.

What is the instrumental mix and size of SAB?

SAB has been comprised of woodwind, brass and percussion type instruments.  Stringed instrument players are welcome to explore joining the organization.  SAB participation has varied from eight to twenty-two musicians depending on the semester.

What types of music does SAB play?

SAB has traditionally played a mix of musical styles including marches, rags, classic rock, contemporary rock, blues and Texas Aggie favorites.  Band members are further encouraged to try their hand at jazz.

Is academic credit offered for participation in SAB?

No. SAB is not a typical college music class. It is instead a club.  

What are the requirements for joining SAB?

Since SAB is a student club, no auditions are required to join (unless the band’s constitution is changed to require it), but previous experience playing your musical instrument is helpful. Through collaboration with the campus Student Life Department, SAB student leadership has been charging a membership fee of $ 15.00 per semester.
Band participants are also asked to enroll in the non-credit class listing, Z-OPT 200, Band.  Z-OPT 200 is simply a class listing designed to limit the number of conflicts with other classes on campus. The “class” generates no required school work or tests, and no grade is shown on the students’ transcripts. A call or an email to Major Bertrand (409-741-4380, expressing your interest in joining the band, and what instrument you play would be helpful as well. With that information, he can get a better idea of the band’s instrumental mix prior to the semester.

Who directs the Sea Aggie Band?

Local musicians have been involved in directing the band.  However, if you have an interest in directing, and have drum major experience or other experience directing, feel free to express that interest to Major Bertrand as well as fellow band members.  As a student, no pay is offered for directing the band.

What are the benefits of joining the Sea Aggie Band?

Joining the band and being actively involved will allow you to maintain and improve your musical abilities.  Participation also allows one to enjoy the camaraderie typically found among musicians, and allows you to tell the Sea Aggie Story in various musical venues. It also provides for a good study break.

In what venues does the band typically play?

Band concerts and related events have included playing at Galveston’s Dickens on the Strand Christmas festival, as well as Moody Gardens’ Festival of lights.  The band has also performed on board Moody Gardens’ paddle wheel boat, the Colonel.  Band members have in the past played at new student conferences, at an on-campus variety show in the spring, and at Aggie Muster.  Select members have played Silver Taps at Muster and Silver Taps. The band has also played for fellow students in the on-campus dining facility a number of times.  In the fall of 2013, SAB performed for the inaugural cruise out of Houston’s cruise ship terminal.  This concert was provided in support of Princess Cruises Cruising For A Cause benefit which honored military veterans. The Sea Aggie Band was asked by Operation Homefront (a military support group involved with the cruise) to perform.  The band performed in the cruise terminal as well as on board one of Princess Cruises’ cruise ships.

Band members are free to suggest to the group and to Major Bertrand, additional venues.

Are there any scholarships available for participation in SAB?

In the past Major Bertrand has awarded a small number of modest scholarships (typically $ 600.00 for non-officers, $ 800.00 for officers other than the president, and $ 1000.00 to the president) to actively engaged band members.  The funds have come from the band’s Ed Rachel Foundation Grant of $25,000.00.  No scholarships will be awarded unless Major Bertrand states they will be awarded. The opportunity to apply for scholarships will be made known only if Major Bertrand sees significant, on-going participation and commitment to the group and only if he confirms their availability in written format with his signature.

How has the band benefitted from the funds in its portion of the Ed Rachel Foundation grant?

A number of instruments have been purchased for use by band members in previous years.

What can I do if I am unable to bring my own musical instrument to campus?

The band does have a limited supply of musical instruments which band members may sign for and check out.  All SAB instruments are to be returned to the SAB instrument room when one’s affiliation with SAB is complete.  Major Bertrand will issue you a receipt showing you have turned in the instrument.

If a fee schedule is ever required for use of the instruments, that notice will be issued at that time.

What level of commitment is expected of members?

Although no academic credit is offered, band members are expected to take their fellow members into consideration. If a member states they will be at a particular practice or concert, they are requested to make a good faith effort to live up to that, as the other musicians will be counting on their involvement for the success of the practice or concert.

When does the band meet?

The band has been meeting 5:30 PM to 7:00 PM on Mondays and Wednesdays, or Tuesdays and Thursdays depending on the availability of the practice room (For the fall 2015 semester, the university has scheduled the practices at 5:30 PM to 7:00 PM on Tuesdays and Thursdays)Since SAB is a club, members can decide whether they want to meet or practice at a different time or day. If they do choose to meet according to a different schedule, they must be aware that the band “practice room” may not be available at their chosen time.  Class room availability is dependent upon the academic needs of the university.