The Hastings College Band will welcome a new director in the fall, as Dr. Louie Eckhardt returns to Hastings College and central Nebraska after earning his doctor of musical arts degree from Louisiana State University and working in the Baton Rouge and New Orleans areas.
At Hastings College, Eckhardt will be director of bands, which, in addition to the main Hastings College Band, includes leading the Symphonic Band, Wind Ensemble and Marching Broncos Band.
“I am very excited to be returning home to central Nebraska, as is my wife Kristen and our 18 month old son, Malcolm,” Eckhardt said. “Hastings College has a rich musical history and I look forward to working with outstanding students and supporting their musical talents and interests.”
Dr. Byron Jensen, chair of the College’s Department of Music, said, “I’m thrilled for Dr. Eckhardt to join our music staff at Hastings College. He is an incredible musician, an enviable scholar, and tireless educator. The future of music remains bright because of people like Dr. Eckhardt and his family.”
Eckhardt graduated from Hastings High School and then attended Hastings College, where he earned a bachelor’s of music degree in music education and trumpet performance in 2005.
He earned a master’s in music degree in trumpet performance from The Pennsylvania State University in 2007, and then taught for five years in Hastings and Grand Island public schools. He led all bands while at Grand Island Senior High, where his bands and many students earned superior ratings at marching band festivals and district music contests.
With the goal of teaching at the college level, he left GISH in 2012 to pursue his doctorate of musical arts, which he received in trumpet performance in 2015 from LSU.
Eckhardt is currently serving as the program director for Kids’ Orchestra, the largest el Sistema inspired music education organization in the United States for elementary aged students. He oversees 800 students and 80 teaching artists.
He is also a freelance trumpet player specializing in orchestral music, chamber music and early music. He currently serves as principal trumpet of the Monroe Symphony Orchestra, a member of the Acadiana Symphony Orchestra and the Chimes Street Brass Quintet. He also appears regularly with the Baton Rouge Symphony Orchestra, Rapides Symphony Orchestra and the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra. He has also performed with the Nittany Valley Symphony Orchestra and the Altoona Symphony Orchestra.
Hastings College is a private, four-year institution located in Hastings, Nebraska, that focuses on student academic and extracurricular achievement. With 64 majors and 15 pre-professional programs, Hastings College has been named among “Great Schools, Great Prices” by U.S. News & World Report and a “Best in the Midwest” by The Princeton Review. For more, go to hastings.edu.