Senior High Honor Band Festival

Department of Music

You are here

weber music hall

REGISTRATIONS ARE NOW CLOSED - Please contact Dr. Mark Whitlock, if you still wish to nominate students (each request will be given individual consideration)

Department of Music Scholarship Audition Notice!

The UMD Department of Music will be holding Scholarship Auditions on Saturday, October 14th of the UMD Honor Band Festival. If there are any Senior High School students participating in the festival who would like to audition for a Music Department Scholarship they may contact us via email or indicate their intention to play for us when they register on Friday, October 13th. If you have any questions please contact us at: Dee Charles or Mark Whitlock You may also call: 218-726-7890 for questions. (NOTE:  Prior application/admittance to UMD is not required)

Updated News and Documents

Microsoft Office document icon2017_UMD HONOR BAND FESTIVAL SCHEDULE









This is your chance to allow your best students to come and play with top performers at their same level. When recommending students keep our criteria in mind.

Each fall, the UMD Bands host their annual high school honor band festival. This festival typically features 2 honor bands each totaling between 60 and 100 musicians.

If you have questions please email us at Mark Whitlock, or call 218-726-6124.

Our Honor Band Philosophy

The purpose of this festival is to give the best students in your program a chance to participate in an ensemble that not only performs well but provides the students an opportunity to learn more about music and hopefully inspire them to become more excited about music. While we want bands that play well at the concert, we are more concerned about what your students learn while they are here at UMD. The level of performance does not always reflect what has been learned. Having said that, I would like you to consider the following when you are nominating your students.

  1. Nominate only those who you know have achieved a level of skill beyond beginner level.
  2. Please nominate students who have good attitudes and want to learn.
  3. Please nominate students who want to work hard.
  4. Nominate those who will appreciate the opportunity you/we are providing them and want to take there experiences back home to help improve your program.

Guest Artists

This year we welcome Mr. Gregory Fritze to our Senior High Honor Band Festival.  Mr. Fritze was born in Allentown, Pennsylvania in 1954. Taking up the Tuba as his principal instrument, he received his bachelor's degree in Composition from the Boston Conservatory. At the Boston Conservatory he studied composition with John Adams and Tuba with Chester Roberts. He then went on to receive his master's degree in Composition from Indiana University, where he studied Composition with Thomas Beversdorf, John Eaton and Fred Fox, while studying Tuba with Harvey Phillips. Fritze then went on to become Principal Tubist with the Rhode Island Philharmonic Orchestra, as well as a member of the Cambridge Symphonic Brass Ensemble, and Colonial Tuba Quartet.  

Guest Artist FritzeIn addition to composing over forty compositions for orchestra, band, chamber music and soloists. He has premiered many works for Tuba, several of which, written for him, such as the Concerto for Tuba and Band by John Bavicchi and the Concerto for Tuba and Jazz Ensemble by Ken Pullig. Fritze's compositions have been published by SeeSaw Music, Minuteman Music, TUBA Press and Musica Nova.

Fritze has served as a faculty member at the Berklee College of Music since 1979. While in attendance served as Conductor of the Berklle Concert Wind Ensemble from 1983-98. An advocate for new music, he began the annual Berklee student composition competition, which has produced hundreds of new compositions since its initiation in 1983.

 In addition to his capacity as an educator, conductor, composer, and performer; Fritze has been a guest lecturer at many colleges, and festivals spanning from the United States, Canada, Japan and Europe. These include (to quote [1]), Convegno Bandistico Cantonale in Mendrisio, Switzerland, Sapporo Music Festival, Musicfest Canada Ottawa, Musicfest Canada Calgary, Musicfest Canada Winnipeg, Musicfest Canada Toronto, Musicfest Canada Vancouver, Massachusetts Instrumental Conductors Association, Rhode Island Music Educators Association, Pennsylvania Music Educators Association, American Band Association, The Mozart Festival, New York Brass Conference, New England Tuba Festivals, and Berklee College of Music High School Jazz Festivals.

Giancarlo CastroIn 2004 Giancarlo started his composition studies with the Colombian teacher Blas Emilio Atehortúa and influenced by the Latin American music, the jazz and the film music writes his first works. This same year completes his work “Grand Fanfare”, which was recorded in the production “We Got Rhythm” under the EMI Classicslabel and in the productions: “Gran Fanfare”, and “Mambo! Live From Caracas” ,both under the EUROARTS label. In 2012 the work was recorded by the Simón Bolívar Youth Band of Venezuela under the GENUIN classics label (Germany).[3] This same year together with the works “Arrival of a Noble Maestro” and “Walking Faster” , were performed by the Venezuelan Brass Ensemble in the Bergen International Festival (Norway) and the Carnegie Hall in New York.[4][5]

In 2010 was premiere in Finland his Concert for Violin and string orchestra titled "Concierto Sureño" commissioned by Laurentius Dinca, violinist of the Berlin Philarmonic Orchestra.

In 2011 he composed the Soundtrack of the Web serie "Maleficio" the first web transmission serie in Venezuela, created by the Caicedo brothers under Taurus Productions label.

In 2013 he composed "Rhapsody for Talents" work commissioned by the French consortium Buffet Crampon in commemoration of the manufacturer history in the construction, production and sale of winds instruments. The world premiere performance was in charge of the Simón Bolívar Youth Symphonic Band of Venezuela, conducted by Sergio Rosales in the Théâtre du Châtelet (ParisFrance) on 7 July 2013.

In 2015, Castro composed the soundtrack of the Venezuelan film "Redención". In November of that same year he was invited by the consortium Buffet Group to conduct his work "Rhapsody for Talents" with the Paris Symphonic Orchestra at the Radio France Theatre (ParisFrance) on the celebration of the 190th anniversary of the consortium becoming the first Venezuelan composer to conduct his own work in this theater of international relevance.[6]

Giancarlo Castro D'Addona publishes his works with Editions BIM (Switzerland). The society of authors SUISA (ZúrichSwitzerland) protects the author's rights of his works. Also is artist of the manufacturer brass instruments STOMVI.


On Friday, October 13th and Saturday, October 14th the University of Minnesota Duluth's Department of Music will be hosting its 60th Annual Senior High Honor Band Festival. As always, our hope is to provide you and your students with the best experience possible. This year there will be two bands, the Gold Band and the Maroon Band. We will keep membership for the Gold Band to around 65-70 members. 

The Gold Band

Membership in this ensemble should be limited to only the best musicians in the state. In most cases, students should have been members of one of the All-State ensembles, be in the first section of your band and/or have received a I rating at solo and ensemble contest. If you have a student that you feel is truly outstanding you may submit their name. Be sure to document the student’s accomplishments. Students not selected for this band will automatically be considered for the Maroon Band.

The Maroon Band

I am asking that you recommend other outstanding students from your band program for this ensemble. Your strongest juniors and seniors, other students who have attended honor bands or students who are serious musicians in your program should be considered.

The UMD Faculty will also be on hand to give clinics and performances throughout the weekend. A more complete biography is available in the honor band information packet. I am looking forward to having the chance to meet your fine students. All of us at UMD sincerely hope that you can find the time to become involved with this special festival.

How to Nominate

Nominations for the Senior High Honor Band Festival can be done online (see link below).

Entry Deadline is Monday, September 25th and Acceptance Notifications will be sent out by Monday, October 2nd.

Please be specific about percussionist’s strengths (tympani, mallets, snare, etc.) and also indicate whether the baritone players read bass clef or treble clef.

Please nominate only students who have expressed an interest in participating and who can guarantee that they will attend if selected. We would like to make this event as musical and memorable as possible. So a commitment is essential.

On-line nominations will be available by mid June. Also please remember that you must fill out and submit a form for EACH student that you would like to nominate.

REGISTRATIONS ARE NOW CLOSED - Please contact Dr. Mark Whitlock, - if you still wish to nominate students (each request will receive individual consideration)

If you have questions or problems please email:

For daily up-dates and further information on the 2017 Senior High School Honor Band Festival visit us here often!

HOUSING (Please Read and Notice The Changes)

Arrangements are the same this year. The Edgewater Hotel has two buildings that we have made arrangements with and they are right across the street from each other on London Rd. in Duluth. For those of you who need housing for this event we have reserved a block of rooms at each hotel. You will notice that the rates are different for the two buildings.  For the Edgewater Hotel with the water park the rates for the weekend will be $84.00 per room per night on Thursday, October 12 and $139.00 per night for Friday, October 13  and Saturday, October 14. The rate is per room, per night, plus tax and a facility fee. The hotel offers an all you can eat hot breakfast buffet with three types of pancakes, scrambled eggs, sausage, breakfast potatoes, yogurt bar, oatmeal bar and more for $6.99 per person, plus tax. All hotel amenities are included in this rate including passes to the waterpark. The other hotel is the Days Inn Duluth Lakewalk it is across the street from the Water Park and the rates are $79.00 per room per night on Thursday, and $139.00 per night for Friday and Saturday. The hotel offers a hot, complimentary breakfast buffet. Passes to the Edgewater Waterpark are available for $5.00 per day.                                                                   

Both offers are good for up to 4 students per room.  You may pay for your room upon arrival. When you call ask for Sarah Warner and mention that you are making reservations for the UMD Honor Band Festival.   For more information you may look at their web site at: or call the Edgewater Resort & Waterpark 2400 London Road Duluth, MN 55812218-728-3601 toll free 800-777-7925.

Please make your reservations by October 7th to make sure you have a room for your students.

 For more information you may look at their web site at: 

Edgewater Resort & Waterpark
2400 London Road
Duluth, MN 55812 218-728-3601 toll free 800-777-7925

Payment and Final Concert

There will be a $25.00 charge per student for participation in the UMD Senior High Honor Band Festival.
Payment will be due on the day of registration. Checks should be made payable to UMD Bands.

Contact Information

Mark Whitlock, Director of Bands
p: 218.726.6124
f: 218.726.8210
212 Humanities Building
1201 Ordean Court
Duluth, MN 55812