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SDSU Honor Band Festival

February 28-29, 2020

Honor Band Festival
Honor Band Festival

We invite high school students from throughout South Dakota and Minnesota to apply to participate in the first SDSU Honor Band Festival, to be held on February 28-29, 2020. The SDSU Honor Band Festival (continuing a long tradition established by the East Central Honor Band) is designed to be an exceptional honor band experience for talented students and is sure to be a memorable time for all those involved!

Highlights for the 2020 Festival will include:
  • The opportunity to rehearse and perform in SDSU’s newly expanded Oscar Larson Performing Arts Center;
  • Workshops and masterclasses with the faculty of the School of Performing Arts;
  • Scholarship audition opportunities for high school seniors;
  • A side-by-side performance with members of the SDSU Wind Symphony; and
  • The chance to make music with the most talented student musicians from a multi-state radius.

Students who play the following instruments are invited to apply: piccolo, flute, oboe, bassoon, B-flat clarinet, bass clarinet, contrabass clarinet, alto saxophone, tenor saxophone, baritone saxophone, French horn, trumpet, tenor trombone, bass trombone, euphonium, tuba, string bass and percussion (mallet, battery/auxiliary and timpani).

There is NO application fee! Students selected to the group will be charged a $25 participation fee (payable either by the individual student or their school). Student participants are responsible for securing their own accommodations and transportation for the duration of the festival, however select meals will be provided.

TO APPLY: Students must first be nominated by a director. The Nomination Form is available to directors, which can be used for multiple students and can be submitted more than once if needed.

Upon receiving a nomination, the nominated students will be invited to submit a short audition recording on their instrument to include:

  • Two major scales of the student’s choosing (multiple octaves where appropriate);
  • 30-60 seconds of an etude or solo work of the student’s choosing; and
  • Applicants on battery percussion/timpani will have modified requirements.

Director Nominations are due by Friday, October 25, 2019.

Student Auditions are due by Monday, November 18, 2019.

Selected students will be notified by Friday, December 6, 2019.

Honor Wind Ensemble Conductor

Patricia Cornett

Dr. Patricia Cornett

Director of Bands
Temple University

Patricia Cornett is the Director of Bands at the Temple University Boyer College of Music and Dance where she conducts the Wind Symphony and teaches advanced conducting. Prior to joining the faculty at Temple, she was the Director of Bands at Cal State Fullerton where she conducted the Wind Symphony, Symphonic Winds, and taught courses in conducting and music education. She was also a Visiting Assistant Professor at SUNY Potsdam’s Crane School of Music.

Cornett taught at Essex High School in Essex Junction, Vermont from 2007–2010 where she conducted three concert bands, jazz band, and taught courses in guitar and history of rock. She was also the Director of Instrumental Music at Woodland Regional High School in Beacon Falls, Connecticut, from 2003–2005. She is published in the Teaching Music Through Performance in Band series, the CBDNA Journal, and has presented sessions at national CBDNA conferences, as well as numerous state conferences. She is a member of the College Band Directors National Association, the Conductors Guild, the Pennsylvania Music Educators Association, and the National Association for Music Education.

Festival Band Conductor

Kevin Kessler

Dr. Kevin Kessler

Director of Athletic Bands
South Dakota State University
Kevin Kessler is Director of Athletic Bands and Lecturer of Music at SDSU, where he directs the Pride of the Dakotas Marching Band, Pep Bands, Concert Band, CommUniversity Band, and the Tuba/Euphonium Ensemble. He also teaches Applied Euphonium and Tuba, Conducting 1, Theory 1, and Marching Band Pedagogy.

Dr. Kessler earned his B.M.E. from South Dakota State University, where he studied trumpet and conducting with John Colson. He earned his M.M. from the American Band College of Southern Oregon University, and a D.M.A. in Band Conducting with a minor in Music Education from the University of Iowa, where he studied conducting with Dr. Richard Mark Heidel, arranging and marching band drill design with Mr. Kevin Kastens, and euphonium with Mr. John Manning. Prior to this appointment, Dr. Kessler served as a band director for 14 years in the Brandon Valley, South Dakota school district, where his concert and marching bands consistently earned top rankings and ratings at region and national contests. 

Dr. Kessler is an active arranger and marching band drill designer. His drill design and musical arrangements have been performed by several college marching bands across the country. He is also active as an adjudicator, clinician, and guest conductor. Dr. Kessler holds memberships in Phi Beta Mu, Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, South Dakota Bandmasters, Tau Beta Sigma (honorary), College Band Directors National Association, and is state chair for the National Band Association.

Honor Band Festival Director

Dr. Jacob Wallace

Dr. Jacob Wallace

An accomplished conductor, educator, adjudicator and writer, Jacob Wallace is an emergent personality in the performance of contemporary instrumental music. His efforts to present innovative and approachable programming of new works have brought modern trends to atypical places, with performances being lauded by audiences and professionals alike. Ensembles under his direction have presented world, national, and regional premieres by such composers as Rusty Banks, John Mackey, Michael Markowski, Jonathan Newman and James Syler, among others.

Prior to his appointment at SDSU, he served as Director of Bands at Southeastern Oklahoma State University, where his active efforts included the new music initiative project (n), which engages student musicians directly with composers in collaborations on new works for wind ensemble. His writings on music have been published in seven volumes of GIA’s Teaching Music Through Performance in Band series and he has become known for a series of engaging program notes, commissioned directly from a number of composers, which have helped fresh audiences understand new works on their first listening. During summers, he serves as principal conductor and a faculty member for the Cortona Sessions for New Music in Tuscany, Italy.