Coming Sunday: Bartner and his boys (and girls) in the band

Sunday’s column focuses on USC “Spirit of Troy” band director Dr. Art Bartner, and how the 68-year-old manages to keep himself in exceptional physical condition for a demanding job that’s more than waving ones arms and providing the soundtrack to the football team’s performance.

With a football mentality that was instilled by former linebacker coach Marv Goux, Bartner sings the praises now of Pete Carroll for helping him feel young again, inspired to forge ahead with a training routine that takes him up to four times a week in the gym.

About three years ago, Bartner said during a game he felt tightness in his arms and chest — that made him think he was having a heart attack. It got him serious about training. A pinched nerve in his neck about eight years ago also pointed him to physical therapy to fight off the prospects of surgery.

“He’s in excellent shape,” says Bartner’s 24 Hour Fitness trainer of two-plus years Brenda Swanney, who concentrates on key components of strength training, cardiovascular endurance, lenghtening the muscles and balance — all aspects of power yoga, which is her specality. “I’ve put him on a couple of programs that requires him to be at the gym often.”

Outside of Mike Leckrone, who has been at Wisconsin since 1969, Bartner says he thinks he’s the only college band director his age that hasn’t retired. As long has he stays physically strong, that’s won’t be an option anytime soon.

“I won’t lie, it’s very hard to get to the gym three times a week and exercise properly,” Bartner says, “but we’re a lot smarter than we were five or 10 or 15 years ago.

“I feel it most when I miss a few days of the workouts, when things begin to tighten up again. So when we’re on the road, I’m always looking for the workout room. Even on cruise ships.”

More on Bartner and the USC band:
==The Spirit of Troy’s official website (linked here)
==A Christian Science Monitor story on bands (including Bartner’s influence) (linked here)
==A in-house magazine story this past August with a Q-and-A with Bartner (linked here).
==A clip from the band playing on “American Idol”:

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