50th Annual Middle School Honors Band Festival

November 18-20, 2016

The UWM Middle School Honor Band Festival is one of the longest standing events of its kind, and this year marks the 50th year of honor band activities at UWM! Our festival provides the region’s most motivated and accomplished middle school instrumentalists an opportunity to work with each other and with nationally recognized wind band conductors. In addition, students participate in master classes with the UWM Department of Music’s performance faculty, and they hear performances by UWM ensembles.

Important Dates

  • September 26-October 18: Director Nominations
    Students must first be nominated by their school band director to be considered for selection to the festival

    Band Director Nomination

  • October 24: Notifications & Registration details delivered
    Sent via US Mail to selected students, student alternates, and directors
  • October 24-November 11: Student Pre-Registration period
    Students/parents must complete this online pre-registration process by November 11 at 11:59PM to accept/confirm their invitation to the festival. Purchasing opportunities related to the registration fee, concert tickets, and concert recordings (CD) are available through pre-registration. Students MUST be able to attend all festival rehearsals for full consideration.

    Register Now

  • November 18: Festival Day 1
    On-site Check-in 4:30-5:30PM (UWM Union, Kenwood Lobby). First rehearsals: 6-8PM (UWM Union Locations). Concert: UWM Symphony Band 8:15-8:45PM (Zelazo Center for the Performing Arts). Details will be sent after October 24
  • November 19: Festival Day 2
    Rehearsals, UWM Faculty master classes, and guest concerts from 8:30AM-5:30PM (A more specific schedule will be available to invited students)
  • November 20: Festival Day 3
    Final Rehearsals on a staggered schedule depending on band performance time. Detailed timelines for each band will be distributed on November 18
1PM Michigan Honor Band – Dr. Amy Knopps, conductor
2PM Texas Honor Band – Dr. Scott Anthony Jones, conductor
3PM Illinois Honor Band – Mr. Nicholas Carlson, conductor

Festival Fees

$75 per student (due at time of registration)

New Seating Process

Due to University of Wisconsin System regulations regarding minors on campus, the seating process (chair ranking) will be done based on the Band Director’s nomination. The guest conductor/clinician of each ensemble may choose to vary this order or make other assignments during the course of the festival rehearsals.

Festival Music: All festival music will be furnished by UWM Bands. Music folders and emergency repair (in the UWM Union during Friday auditions) are provided by Brass Bell Music in Whitefish Bay.

Rehearsal items: Students must provide their own instruments, pencils, and a FOLDING MUSIC STAND for all festival activities. (Please label all personal belongings.)

Special Instrumental Needs

  • Flute Students: Should bring a piccolo if you have access to one and want to be considered for piccolo parts. Piccolo assignments will be made under the leadership of the guest conductor/clinician.
  • Brass Students: Trumpet and trombone students should bring straight mutes. Other mutes may be requested during the course of the weekend.
  • Percussion Students: Are required to bring a pair of general-purpose snare sticks, keyboard mallets, and timpani mallets.

Concert Attire

For the UWM Honor Band concert, please wear what you would wear for your own school band concerts. Other suggestions are:

  • Gentlemen: Buttoned dress shirt with a tie, (suit coat or sports coat optional), black dress or dark chino-style pants, dark (black) socks, black dress shoes (no sneakers or athletic shoes).
  • Ladies: Long-sleeved tops with modest necklines and skirts/dresses that are “tea-length” or to the floor (no hem-lines above the calf), dark dress shoes and socks/hosiery. Dress pants/pant-suits are acceptable.

Casual (appropriate for school) clothing is appropriate for festival rehearsals and other activities.


There are limited Student Union dining facilities that will be open during the festival, but are open to the public. Other restaurants are adjacent to campus, within a four-block walk. Participants will not be accompanied by Festival staff to/from meals. Students and parents are free to make any arrangements necessary for meals.


For students traveling further than 60 miles from Milwaukee, we recommend finding overnight accommodations. To assist you in this, we have listed a few hotel options in the near vicinity of the University. This listing is available once nominations are complete.


Office staff is available at (414) 229-5641 during the festival schedule, should any emergency arise. UWM Police Non-Emergency line is (414) 229-4627.


You are encouraged to use metered street parking, the university parking structures, or other university lots.  Additional information is available at uwm.edu/parking. Participants and patrons are responsible for following all posted parking regulations. Students are responsible for arranging prompt pick-up and drop-off plans with their parents and/or traveling party.

Registration & Ticketing

Online Pre-registration help/deadline

If computer access is limited, please contact the Peck School of the Arts Box Office at (414) 229-4308 for help. Accepted students who do not complete the online Pre-Registration for the Honor Bands Festival by November 11 may have their seat taken by one of the alternate students.


Questions regarding tickets and purchases should be directed to the Box Office at (414) 229-4308.

The Box Office fulfills ticket orders for all of the Sunday UWM Honor Band Festival concerts. Reservation, payment, and concert recording CDs are made during the Accepted Students’ Pre-Registration process.

For families/groups with more than one festival participant

  1. Please purchase tickets for one of the concerts during pre-registration
  2. Contact the Box Office at (414) 229-4308 to reserve complementary tickets by November 16 for the second/third concert. (You only need to purchase tickets to ONE concert)
  3. Student participants who’d like to attend Sunday performances (after their own) require a complementary ticket (no purchase required) – please make this request through the Box Office by November 16

Ticket pick-up

  • During On-Site Registration/Check-In, Friday, Nov. 18, UWM Union
  • Sunday, Nov. 20, 9AM-11:30AM, Zelazo Center Box Office
  • Sunday, Nov. 20, 12-3PM, Zelazo Center, Room 280
  • Any remaining tickets available as “walk-up” sales on Sunday

Band Director Tickets

  • Band directors are invited to attend any/all of the Middle School Honor Bands and Milwaukee Music Festival (High School) events for FREE
  • For Sunday Middle School performances, please contact the Box Office to reserve your complementary tickets to each concert


  • All Sunday final performances will take place in the Zelazo Center for the Performing Arts, 2419 E. Kenwood blvd.
  • All patrons should wait in the concert waiting area, Zelazo center ROOM 280 prior to each concert performance.
  • Enter the Zelazo Center on the WEST side (Prospect Ave). Special needs access on the South side of the building via the small parking lot). The Waiting Area will be open and available for concert patrons beginning at noon.
  • Each Middle School honor band will be ticketed on and perform on its own separate concert. Because of this, the concert hall will need to be cleared after each middle school performance. Patrons who are attending multiple performances should leave the concert hall, and re-enter with the other patrons waiting for the next performance.
  • Please meet your student outside of the building immediately following the performance. Students are dismissed from Festival activities upon completing their concert performance.