Minnesota High School Band Honors Opportunities

Throughout the year there are many opportunities for students to participate in honor bands.  This is by no means a comprehensive list.  Almost all college/university music departments host a program for high school students at some point during the year.  Often participation requires an audition and/or a recommendation of your high school band director.


MMEA All–State Band

Performing in the Minnesota Music Educators Association All-State Band Program is one of the most prestigious state-level honors a high school musician can achieve.  After a student is selected, they get to participate in a six day long summer camp featuring the best players from across the state of Minnesota to perform in Jazz, Choir, and Concert Band. Students will be housed for the week at the chosen University site and participate in clinics and rehearsals to perform a concert at the end of the week as well as another few rehearsals and concert during the MMEA festival in February. Students must participate in a live audition in March at various posted sites around the state on a variety of dates. Students must prepare the given etude, have a signed form from parents, and a Director’s recommendation.



MBDA Honor Bands

The Minnesota Band Directors Association sponsors two honor bands annually, one comprised of students in grades 6, 7 and 8, and another comprised of students in grades 9 and 10. The MBDA Honor Bands provide the opportunity for select students from across the state of Minnesota to immerse themselves in an invigorating environment of music-making under the direction of a distinguished guest conductor.

Interested students apply by completing an application and submitting a recorded audition. A committee of qualified adjudicators scores each audition tape against an agreed upon set of standards, ensuring that a consistent standard of excellence is used in assessing each applicant.



College Honor Bands

Bemidji State University Honor Band

One day Honor Band festival usually held in the fall. Students are nominated by Directors via email in order to participate.



Concordia College Honor Band

Honor Band held yearly. Information will be posted in the fall at:



Gustavus Adolphus College Honor Band

Two day Honor Band festival usually held in the fall. Students are nominated by Directors, who can nominate up to 8 musicians which are then chosen by the directors of the college to form a 95 piece ensemble. Students will be housed to stay overnight at Gustavus to perform in the closing concert.



Luther College Dorian Festival For Band

Two day Honor Band festival held in late February. Students are placed in three different festival bands featuring two student soloists and an evening concert. Students also have the opportunity to receive mini lessons form University faculty. Students are nominated by Director via an online form.



St. Olaf College Honor Band

One day Honor Band featuring coaching by Dr. Timothy Mahr and a guest conductor. Parts are sent out usually two weeks in advance. The festival takes place the second Saturday in November and is concluded with a shared free concert with the St. Olaf Norseman Band and Ole Band. Directors are allowed up to 5 nominations and a balanced group is then selected by Dr. Mahr.



St. Thomas University Honor Band

One day Honor Band featuring two bands and a guest conductor or composer at the end of October. Information is usually released in early September. Open to students grades 9 – 12 and eligible only by Director nomination via an online form.



University of Minnesota – Duluth Honor Band

Two day Honor Band festival in the fall featuring two Honor Bands conducted by the University's Directors and also guest clinicians and conductors. Students will be housed overnight for a fee at Duluth and also perform in a closing concert. Open to all high school students only by Director nomination via an online form.



University of Minnesota – Twin Cities Honor Band

Weekend long Honor Band festival in January featuring one honor band conducted by the University's Directors. Students will be housed overnight for the weekend to play in the closing concert. Students must submit an online form or information as well as a Director’s recommendation. Students will also need to submit an mp3 of their playing of 3 to 5 minutes. Forms must be submitted in early fall.



University of North Dakota Honor Band

A weekend long Band and Choir in late January. Open to students grades 10 – 12. Auditions are held in various sites around North Dakota during the second to last week of October. Auditions will be held in October.



University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire Honor Band

One day Honor Band festival usually held in November featuring a guest clinician and including an evening Concert shared with the UWEC Wind Symphony. Students fill out and submit an application due in early October and are notified if selected.