Dennis Llinas, director of the LSU Tiger Marching Band, will be leaving the university on June 30 to take the director of bands job at the University of Oregon.
But he isn't giving up his LSU ties all together.
"The next time LSU plays Oregon in football, I'll be wearing a little bit of purple with my green," he said in an interview Thursday evening.
Llinas has been the associate director of bands at LSU since 2012 and director of the LSU Tiger Marching Band since 2016.
The decision to leave, he said, wasn't easy.
"This was absolutely a difficult decision," he said. "I've formed some great relationships with the students, the community and staff here, and the community's support of the band means so much. Everyone loves what we're doing here, and that's especially great for the students."
But moving from an associate's position to director of bands will give Llinas an opportunity to lead a band program, and Oregon's program is comparable to LSU's in size.
"There are about 500 students in their school of music," Llinas says. "And the band program has the same number of ensembles as LSU's: three concert bands, a marching band and a basketball band."
Llinas will oversee these ensembles while lending support to the marching band director. He'll also oversee the program's budget, work with graduate students and conduct the program's top ensemble, the wind ensemble.
"I have plans for the program, but the only problem is when to start putting those plans in place," he said. "I want to listen to the staff first, and I want to talk to the community and let the high school band directors know that they're part of this, too."
Llinas said he'd like to make the Oregon band program more visible.
"It's a great program, but they're not world famous like LSU," he said. "I have some ideas to bring to them that would make them more unique."
For now, Llinas will continue working with the LSU Band program. He's already designing halftime shows for the 2019 season and getting the band ready for its first appearance in the Zulu Parade on Tuesday.
"The only difference now is that Kelvin Jones will have final say in the halftime shows I'm creating," Llinas says.
Jones, assistant director of bands, will step into Llinas' position on a one-year interim basis, while graduate assistant Cliff Croomes will serve as interim assistant director.
"The band will conduct national searches for both positions," Llinas says. "But they're in good hands. And I'm going to miss LSU, so don't worry. I will be wearing some purple when the two teams meet again."
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