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The Orion

Music professor to be honored in 15th annual memorial concert

Royce Tevis, the director of bands at Chico State, waves his baton in a classroom at the Performing Arts Center. The Chico State Wind Ensemble is preparing for the 15th annual Daniel Hiestand Memorial Concert 7:30 p.m. Saturday. Photo credit: Emma Wood-Wright

Six hours.

That’s the amount of rehearsal time the Chico State Alumni and Friends Band has before performing in the 15th annual Daniel Hiestand Memorial Concert with the Chico State Wind Ensemble.

The concert, presented by Chico State School of the Arts, invites community members, former band members and friends of Hiestand to join the two bands in honor of the beloved music professor emeritus at 7:30 p.m. Saturday in the Harlen Adams Theatre.

“He was one of those teachers that teaches you and you don’t know you’re being taught,” said Royce Tevis, a former student of Hiestand and current director of bands at Chico State.

With nothing but professional experience, Hiestand began teaching music at Chico State in 1967 and continued until his death in 1992.

“He did not have a doctorate, and he didn’t need one,” Tevis said. “He became a full professor without one, which is unusual.”

In 1967, the band was small, but Hiestand built it into a large ensemble, eventually creating multiple ensembles over the years, Tevis said.

“He attracted that many students,” he said.

Tevis joined band his first year at Chico State in 1966, a year before Hiestand began teaching, he said. He wasn’t pleased with his band experience and didn’t plan on being in it the following year.

“I go in to offer my help and the next thing I know I’m sitting in band playing,” Tevis said.

Tevis spent the next three years studying under Hiestand and developed a great admiration for his professor, he said. So much so, that in 2000, when Tevis became director of bands, he created the Hiestand Memorial Concert.

“It’s music that is reflective of the things he would do,” Tevis explained. “It would be almost impossible for me to do a concert that didn’t reflect Dan’s music.”

Before Tevis became the director of bands, he taught high school music for 16 years. When he decided he wanted to get his doctorate, he sought out Hiestand for guidance.

When the two met Hiestand pulled a crumpled piece of paper out of his pocket and told him to read it, Tevis said.

“On it was my handwriting,” he said. “I remember him asking us where we wanted to be in five years.”

Tevis’ goal was to teach at a university level, he said. He had written down that he wanted to follow in Hiestand’s footsteps.

“He kept it for all those years,” Tevis said.

At the end of the 2014 spring semester, Layla Ramones, vice president of the Chico chapter of the National Band Association and sophomore music education major, began preparing for this year’s concert.

Ramones sent out hundreds of letters, inviting band alumni and friends to play or attend the concert.

“I’m really excited about seeing how many alumni come,” she said.

Ramones performed in the concert last year as a freshman.

She said it’s fun to collaborate with the alumni and hear them talk about their time in the Chico State music department, which is now called the Music and Theatre Department, as of 2013.

“It gets a little hectic, but it comes together,” Ramones said.

The band only knows about 40 percent of who’s going to show up and perform in the alumni band, Tevis said.

“We’ve had people from Chicago and New York come play in the concert,” he said.

The Chico State Wind Ensemble has been more or less rehearsing for the concert for the entire semester. But the alumni band is a different story.

Some have continued to play music since they graduated, but others are a little rusty, Tevis said. Nevertheless, everyone meets on the Friday before the concert and rehearses for three hours, with another three hours of rehearsal the morning of the concert.

“By the end of the first hour, chops are on the ground,” Tevis said.

The Daniel Hiestand Memorial Concert is one of the only times students and community members can hear the Chico State fight song and the marching band. The hymn of the University will be played, too, which is also heard at commencement ceremonies.

“We play them and make people stand up,” Tevis said.

At the end of the concert, the Hiestand Scholarship recipient is announced. This scholarship comes from donations to the foundation and goes to a student in band to help fund their musical education.


Concert Details

  • Date: Saturday, Oct. 11
  • Time: 7:30 p.m.
  • Location: Harlen Adams Theatre
  • Price for Chico State student: Free, with donations accepted


Emma Wood-Wright can be reached at [email protected] or @emmawoodwright on Twitter.

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