Bandlink: Drawing Strength and Support in our Communities

by Brandon Angelini
I love the arts at the University of Notre Dame. Going into my time at ND I don’t think I would have realized how much the arts community would shape my time at Notre Dame, even majoring in fields outside of the arts. I study Finance and Applied Computational Math and Statistics on campus, and am a member of the band programs, getting to march on the field in the fall, play and scream for hockey games, and teach kids about music through Bandlink, the outreach program of the Notre Dame Bands. It is through this outreach program that I’ve really found all of the things I love about arts at Notre Dame all in one package.
Brandon Angelini, Class of 2016, Finance and Applied Math & Stats major
One of the things I love about arts at Notre Dame is the focus on not just being creative for the academic prestige, but focusing on satisfying a need in the outside world. The Bandlink program began as a thesis project about 10 years ago, designed to offer instrumental music education for the catholic schools in the South Bend area. The students in Bandlink don’t have access to instrumental music without the Bandlink program, and as participants in the free program we offer individual lessons once a week, and an after school band rehearsal at one of three levels once a week. Our program fills a void, and allows us to offer the arts experience that has had such a positive impact on us to others. This approach of using the arts to bridge a gap we see in the world around us can be seen throughout the Notre Dame arts community, from the Glee Club’s annual Christmas concert series benefiting the South Bend homeless, to the design program’s summer service program to create design projects for the community and mentor students in South Africa.
Another thing I love about arts at Notre Dame is the way the arts are used to support and create relationships and shared experiences. Our Bandlink mentors range from first chair section leaders of the ND Band, to first year band members that learn and teach an instrument they’ve never played before in an effort to support the program. When finding mentors, it’s more important to us that they will be committed to teaching and connecting with students first, and if they’re good at their instrument that’s just a bonus.

Another thing I love about arts at Notre Dame is the way the arts are used to support and create relationships and shared experiences.

This year, one of our Bandlink mentors served as her student’s confirmation sponsor. It was through arts and music that they connected, creating a lasting and meaningful relationship. Being a mentor in our program is firstly about being able to connect on a human level, and that culture permeates the arts community at Notre Dame. We use the arts to strengthen and support relationships within our communities.
These two aspects of arts at ND are little things that I believe make us different, and I’m proud of those differences. Arts at ND make it a priority to focus on service and personal connections, letting the incredible artistic products rest on this sturdy foundation.
Brandon Angelini is a Notre Dame Finance and Applied Math & Stats major and member of the Class of 2016, and served as a member of the Notre Dame Drumline and was Drum Major for the ND Band.
Brandon’s profile in Humans of CJF

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