More than 200 students in several ensembles contribute to the musical environment of Wichita State University and create a rich variety of experiences for listeners and participants alike. Concert organizations include the Symphonic Wind Ensemble and Concert Band. Jazz ensembles include Jazz Arts Ensemble and numerous combos. The athletic bands consist of two “Shocker Sound” Basketball Bands, one for men's and one for women's games.
The WSU bands serve as laboratories for the preparation of aspiring music teachers and performers, which is fundamental to the mission of the WSU Bands program.
The WSU bands also provide a channel for students not majoring in music to enjoy performing as an avocation, and to promote and sustain the proud heritage of American bands in public school music. Through membership in the WSU Bands, students grow musically and esthetically while enriching the cultural life of the campus and community.
The WSU Bands enjoy a long-standing tradition of excellence, which is recognized throughout the United States. Under its current conductor, Dr. Victor A. Markovich, the Symphonic Wind Ensemble been heralded as “one of the finest university bands in the nation,” receiving critical acclaim for its “musically emotional and technically detailed performances.”
The Symphonic Wind Ensemble's invitations and performances include:
The Concert Band, formerly under the direction of Dr. Larry Blocher and currently under the direction of Dr. Victor Markovich, has also been invited to perform for many professional conferences, including:
A tradition started in the early 1940’s, when the bands were under the direction of the legendary James Kerr, has continued to the present. Since this time, the WSU Bands have been privileged regularly to premiere new works, appear under the direction of acclaimed guest conductors, and perform with virtuoso soloist of international renown. Visiting composers and performers include:
Guest conductors include:
Guest solo artists include:
The strength of the WSU band program lies in the quality of private instruction available to all band members. Recognized as artist performers and master teachers throughout the United States, the WSU Winds and Percussion Faculty have distinguished themselves nationally and internationally through solo performances and membership in the School of Music resident artist quintets, the (1) Lieurance Woodwind Quintet and (2) Wichita Brass Quintet.
WSU’s Winds and Percussion Faculty members also serve as principal players in the Wichita Symphony Orchestra. In such professional arenas, they demonstrate publicly the skills and artistry transmitted to their students. Their excellence of their teaching is evident, for example, in the fact that many former members of the WSU Bands can be found performing with professional orchestras, major United States military bands, and servicing on the faculties of colleges, university, and public schools across the nation.