The rich tradition of the SDSU Concert Band program spans over 100 years. In its infancy, the band participated in the St. Louis World's Fair in 1904 under the direction of John Parmalee Mann. From 1911 until 1954, Major Carl Christensen conducted both the marching and band programs, bringing international recognition to the college for its performances. The modern era of the SDSU Concert Band program came to fruition under the leadership of former directors Warren Hatfield, Darwin Walker, and James McKinney.
Three concert bands currently perform under the direction of today's band staff, who are recognized for their experience and success in training young musicians. Their broad knowledge of both the masterworks of the repertoire and new music make the SDSU Concert Band program a outstanding, vibrant arena for young students to hone their musical craft.
The SDSU Symphonic Band is comprised of approximately 50 students who are selected by audition each year.
Known as one of the finest university bands in the area, the Symphonic Band performs a wide variety of literature written for the wind band and chamber winds medium, including premieres.
Recent guest conductors and soloists include: Brian Bowman, Allen Vizzutti, James Barnes, The Western Brass Quintet, The United States Air Force Brass in Blue, The United States Army Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps, and Brian Balmages.
The band performs each year for the South Dakota In-Service Music Conference, and tours regionally during the spring semester.
The SDSU Symphonic Band is directed by Dr. Jacob Wallace.
The Concert Band, which is open to all SDSU students by audition, is comprised of approximately 60 students representing all majors at SDSU.
This organization provides an excellent opportunity for students to continue their musical interests while pursuing a degree in music or other areas.
The Concert Band is conducted by Dr. Kevin Kessler.
The Comm/University Band is open to all SDSU students. The band is an outstanding opportunity for students who want to continue to perform in bands but may not have the time to participate in an ensemble that meets more regularly.
This band requires no audition, rehearses in the spring semesters on Thursday evenings, and performs during the SDSU Music Department's Spring Festival of Music.
Many music majors choose to participate in this group in order to hone skills on a secondary instrument. Adult musicians in the University community and greater Brookings area also participate in this ensemble.
The Comm/University Band is co-conducted by Drs. Jacob Wallace and Kevin Kessler.