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Rutgers Band Conductor Shares Experiences to Promote Diversity Among Band Directors

A Tempo this Saturday (12/17 at 7 pm) marches into the band world for a conversation about diversity and inclusion in that field of the performing arts.

If you've attended a basketball or football game at Rutgers University in the past year or so, you've likely seen Dr. Julia Baumanis conducting the marching band or pep band as they cheer on players and fans alike. When she was hired to join the faculty at Rutgers' Mason Gross School of the Arts in June 2021, she became the first woman to hold a band director position at the university in its history. She serves on the Conducting and Music Education Faculty as Assistant Professor of Professional Practice, assistant director of university Bands, and Director of Pep Bands.

Growing up in fairly diverse communities, the daughter of immigrant parents from different ethnic backgrounds (the Philippines and Latvia), it wasn't until college that she began to see the gender imbalance among aspiring band directors, and later felt another sense of "otherness" as a person of color. She feels fortunate to have had much support from her colleagues and instructors who recognized her talent and skills, but has seen how "otherness" can be a lens through which people with diverse backgrounds are perceived and treated, which, intentionally or not, can affect their progress.

A Tempo host Rachel Katz this week chats with Baumanis about her experiences and some of the issues about inclusiveness and diversity in the band world that she will be addressing on several panels at an upcoming conference.