About WSU Bands

More than 200 students contribute to the musical environment of the Wichita State University bands. A rich variety of experiences are created for listeners and participants alike. Concert ensembles 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 an outlet 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 Tradition of Excellence

The WSU Bands enjoy a long-standing tradition of excellence, which is recognized throughout the United States. With master conductors such as Dr. Larry Blocher and Dr. Victor A. Markovich, the Symphonic Wind Ensemble has 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:

  • Carnegie Hall, New York City, New York (2011)
  • Kansas Music Educators Associate Professional Conference (1992, 1994, 1996, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2009, and 2011)
  • Kansas Bandmasters Association Convention (1991, 1992, and 1993)
  • College Band Directors National Association Southwestern Division Conference (1996)
  • College Band Directors National Association National Conference (1997 and 2007 Invitation)
  • Music Educators National Association National Conference (1992 and 1996)
  • American Bandmasters Association National Convention (2002, hosted at Wichita State University)

The Concert Band has also been invited to perform for many professional conferences, including:

  • College Band Directors National Association Southwestern Division Conference (1996)
  • Kansas Music Educators Association Professional Conference (1999, 2001 and 2005)

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 have included:

  • Warren Benson
  • Mark Camphouse
  • James Curnow
  • Michael Daugherty
  • Eric Ewazen
  • Donald Grantham
  • Samuel Hazo
  • Karel Husa
  • Libby Larsen
  • Timothy Mahr
  • Katherine Ann Murdoci
  • Francis McBeth
  • Dean Roush
  • Claude T. Smith
  • Frank Ticheli
  • Walter Mays

Guest conductors have included:

  • Dr. Harry Begian (University of Illinois)
  • Eugene Corporon (University of North Texas)
  • Dr. Ray Cramer (Indiana University)
  • Dr. James Croft (Florida State University)
  • Dr. Frederick Fennell (Eastman School of Music)
  • Col. Arnald Gabriel (United States Air Force Band)
  • Dr. Rick Greenwood (University of Central Florida)
  • Jerry Junkin (University of Texas and Dallas Wind Symphony)
  • Mark Kelly (Bowling Green State University)
  • Craig Kirchhoff (University of Minnesota)
  • Dr. Thomas Lee (University of California at Los Angeles)
  • Dr. Timothy Mahr (St. Olaf College)
  • Allan McMurray (University of Colorado)
  • H. Robert Reynolds (University of Michigan)
  • Dr. Richard Strange (Arizona State University)
  • Dr. Myron Welch (University of Iowa)
  • John Whitwell (Michigan State University)
  • Frank Wickes (Louisiana State University)

Guest solo artists have included:

  • Buddy Baker (Trombone)
  • Eddie Daniels (Clarinet)
  • Vince DiMartino (Trumpet)
  • Gerald Erdsley (Cornet)
  • Bernard Goldberg (Flute)
  • Fred Hemke (Saxophone)
  • Steve Houghton (Percussion)
  • Mark Kellogg (Trombone and Euphonium)
  • Earle Louder (Euphonium)
  • Patrick Meighan (Saxophone)
  • Rafael Mendez (Trumpet)
  • Robert Nagel (Trumpet)
  • Harvey Phillips (Tuba)
  • Sigurd Rascher (Saxophone)
  • Gordon Stout (Marimba)
  • Jack Tilbury (Tuba)
  • Rick Todd (Horn)
  • Allan Vizzutti (Trumpet)


Private Instruction

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 Lieurance Woodwind Quintet and 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 serving on the faculties of colleges, university and public schools across the nation.