Annual Honor Band Concert Weekend Festival at the UCA

Hunter Goddard

A group of around 60 rehearse for this weekend’s Honor Band concert and festival. (Photo: Amanda Garcia)

Music has the power to make a difference in people’s lives. Sometimes, it inspires graduating high school students to apply at Colorado State University.

The University Center for the Arts’ Annual Honor Band Concert Weekend is upon us. It began Thursday night with the Symphonic Band Concert, continuing Friday night with the Wind Symphony Concert and concluding Saturday afternoon with the High School Honor Band Festival.


Dr. Rebecca Phillips, newly appointed director of bands at CSU, is conducting both the Friday night symphony and the Saturday afternoon concert. Phillips said she has conducted a number of honor band concerts.

“The first two shows are an opportunity for CSU to showcase ourselves to the high school kids who perform on Saturday,” Phillips said. “Over 100 kids from all across Colorado, who’ve never met each other before this, have to rehearse together for the Saturday concert.”

Phillips said the students, some of the best musicians in the state, are given the chance to play music more difficult than what their high school bands play. It is the perfect time for them to network with each other, meet the professionals on the faculty and work with them, Phillips said.

One of those more experienced musicians is Chase Morin, a master’s student in wind conducting. He is performing in all three shows and conducting two. Only the best and the brightest are recruited in the honor band concert, according to Morin.

“Audiences can expect to take away an enjoyable experience from coming to see this performance,” Morin said. “It’s a variety of different ensembles, and sometimes there are change-ups within one ensemble. It’s not just one band sitting there and playing the whole time.”

Morin said the high school students have only one day of rehearsals to put together their concert.

Thomas Lack, a sophomore in music composition, attended a CSU honor band concert after participating in high school band for a few years. He is performing on clarinet for the Symphonic Band Concert Thursday night.

“It was special and unique for us to see the CSU band,” Lack said. “It’s refreshing, as a high schooler, to see experienced musicians when you’re told all the time that you can’t make a living at it. You share in a sense of community together.”

As for Bethany Bohnenblust, a senior majoring in music education who is also playing Thursday night, she chose CSU when she was in high school because of her honor band concert experience. According to Bohnenblust, the music is accessible, as well as audience-interactive.

“We want to reach out and let people know that you can be a chem major but still perform in this ensemble,” Bohnenblust said. “I don’t think people understand how much planning goes into this. This is music that’s different from what you hear every day.”


The Symphonic Band Concert begins at 7 p.m. Feb. 26 in the Griffin Concert Hall. Tickets are $7 for CSU students, $12 for adults and $1 for children.

The Wind Symphony Concert begins at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 27, and ticket prices are the same.

The Honor Band Concert will take place at 2 p.m. Feb. 28, and tickets are $5 for everyone.

“It’s a big deal for us, and it’s a big deal for them,” Phillips said. “We get to show off CSU and the music department to some great high school students and band directors.”

Collegian A&E Writer Hunter Goddard can be reached at or on twitter @hunter_gaga.