Information for Prospective Students

Thank you for your interest in the University of Kentucky Bands! Whether your interest is concert or percussion ensembles, jazz band, marching band or private lessons, there is a place for you here.

 

This page contains information about the various wind and percussion ensembles offered at UK, potential scholarship resources for music majors AND non-majors, and links to frequently-asked questions obout the UK Bands. All ensembles are open to any UK student, regardless of major. If you plan to major in music, however, you will need to audition and be accepted into the School of Music. For more information about the School of Music and the audition process, consult the School of Music webpage.

 

If you have any questions about the various wind and percussion ensembles, or would like to schedule a visit, please do not hesitate to contact us by phone or email. We look forward to seeing you on campus very soon!

 

Concert Ensembles

Photo of Cody Birdwell

Wind Ensemble

John Cody Birdwell, Conductor

 

The Wind Ensemble is made up of the finest wind and percussion performers in the School of Music. Performing at least six concerts each year of the finest repertoire for concert winds and percussion, the Wind Ensemble is recognized as a premiere instrumental ensemble in the Bluegrass region in the public performance of new compositions. As the centerpiece of a band program which has served the Commonwealth of Kentucky for over 100 years, the Wind Ensemble continues a tradition of professional-level performances given free of charge to appreciative audiences.

 

The Wind Ensemble has performed at the College Band Directors National Association National Conference (CBDNA) in Athens, Georgia, CBDNA Southern Division Conferences in Biloxi, Mississippi and Greensboro, North Carolina, and the Kentucky Music Educators Association Conference held annually in Louisville. In March of 2003, the UK Wind Ensemble was a featured ensemble at the College Band Directors National Association National Conference in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Most recently, the UK Wind Ensemble performed at the 2006 CBDNA Southern Division Conference in Nashville, Tennessee.

Course #: MUC 189

 

Audition Requirements:
Auditions are held at the beginning of each semester and are open to the entire university community. Check with the Band office for details.

 

Normal Rehearsal Schedule:
MWF 3:00-4:50 PM

 

Click here for a repertoire list.

Photo of Cody Birdwell conducting the Wind Ensemble
Photo of George Boulden

Symphony Band

George R. Boulden, Conductor

 

The Symphony Band is comprised of music and non-music majors and performs music for large and small ensembles. Auditions are held each semester.

 

The UK Symphony Band was a featured ensemble at the 2003 Kentucky Music Educators Association Conference in Louisville and the 2005 Southern Division MENC/Florida Music Educators Association Conference in Tampa, Florida. Most recently, the Symphony Band received a second invitation to perform at the KMEA Conference and presented a diverse concert program at the convention in February of 2008.

Course #: MUC 188

 

Audition Requirements:
Auditions are held at the beginning of each semester and are open to the entire university community. Check with the Band office for details.

 

Normal Rehearsal Schedule:
MWF 3:00-4:50 PM

 

Click here for a repertoire list.

Photo of the UK Wind Ensemble

Concert Band

 

The Concert Band is the newest concert ensemble at UK and is comprised of music and non-music majors, as well as talented musicians from the greater Lexington community. No audition is required to participate. Music education majors are encouraged to perform with the Concert Band on secondary instruments.

 

The Concert Band is the perfect ensemble for students who wish to continue playing in a concert ensemble after high school, but don't want the stress of an audition. The Concert Band typically performs one concert each semester.

Course #: MUC 187

 

Audition Requirements:
None

 

Normal Rehearsal Schedule:
T 7:15-9:15 PM
R TBA

 

Click here for a repertoire list.

Photo of students playing clarinet

Athletic Bands

Wildcat Marching Band

Email the Wildcat Marching Band

 

Entertaining thousands of fans with their spirited, high-energy performances, the Wildcat Marching Band enjoys a national reputation as one of the finest collegiate marching bands in the country. Their repertoire runs the gamut from cool jazz to contemporary pop hits, classic favorites and music from the Broadway stage. In addition to our outstanding woodwind and brass sections, the WMB also features the Drum Line, Color Guard, and Sweetheart Majorettes.

 

The Wildcat Marching Band performs at all home football games, and takes a 50-piece pep band to all SEC away games. The WMB has recently traveled to several post-season bowl games, including the 2006 and 2007 Music City Bowl, the 2009 Liberty Bowl,and the 2011 BBVA Compass Bowl. Recently, members of the WMB have enjoyed international exposure as one of the featured ensembles at the opening ceremonies of the 2008 Ryder Cup.

Course #: MUC 190

 

Audition Requirements:
Any UK student is eligible to participate, regardless of major. An audition is required of all new members.
Visit the WMB Auditions page for more information.

 

Normal Rehearsal Schedule:
MWF 5:00-7:00 PM

Photo of Wildcat Marching Band in Block K formation

Basketball Pep Band

 

The Basketball Pep Band plays an integral role at all Rupp Arena and Memorial Coliseum home games where we have the best seats in the house! At home in the eRUPPtion Zone, the Basketball Pep Band performs regularly for over 24,000 Wildcat Fans as part of the most intimidating home court in college basketball.

 

The Basketball Pep Band performs at all men’s and women’s home basketball games, and travels to every SEC & NCAA tournament game as a 29-member Road Band.

Audition Requirements:
An audition is required. Students must be members in good standing of the Wildcat Marching Band to audition for the Basketball Pep Band.

Photo of Rupp Arena

Jazz Ensembles

Photo of Miles Osland

Jazz Ensemble

Miles Osland, Director

 

A very active group on the road, the University of Kentucky Jazz Ensemble has toured the Mid-West and South including performances in Chicago, Cincinnati, Dayton, Columbus, Louisville, Notre Dame, Tennessee, Georgia, and invitational performances at the International Association of Jazz Educators Conference and the Midwest International Band and Orchestra Clinic.

The band is also very busy in the recording studio. Five recordings from the jazz studies department have been recommended for Grammy nominations and received four-star reviews from DOWNBEAT magazine.

 

The UKJE has twice been awarded the Outstanding Jazz Ensemble certificate at Annual Notre Dame Collegiate Jazz Festival and multiple times at the Elmhurst Jazz Festival. Two combos from the jazz studies program (UK JazzCats & UK Mega-Sax I) have received numerous outstanding ratings at the Elmhurst College Jazz Festival. Dozens of students have also been awarded the Outstanding Performer certificate at the festival. The Jazz Ensemble has also received the prestigious DeeBee award in the category of Best Jazz Instrumental Studio Orchestra from DOWNBEAT magazine.

The band has been featured with many national touring artists including: Bill Watrous, David Liebman, Tom Harrell, Doc Severinsen, Louie Bellson, Clark Terry, Mel Torme, Diane Schuur, Phil Woods, Randy Brecker, Bobby Shew, Bob Mintzer, Jamey Aebersold, and many others.

 

The band has been featured with many national touring artists including: Bill Watrous, David Liebman, Tom Harrell, Doc Severinsen, Louie Bellson, Clark Terry, Mel Torme, Diane Schuur, Phil Woods, Randy Brecker, Bobby Shew, Bob Mintzer, Jamey Aebersold, and many others.

Course #:MUC 175

 

Audition Requirements:
The audition process consists of performing a prepared piece and sight-reading. Improvising is required for students who wish to perform in a combo or play a solo chair in an ensemble. Auditions are held at the beginning of each semester and are open to the entire university community.

 

Normal Rehearsal Schedule:
The Jazz Ensembles rehearse four hours per week.

Photo of the UK Jazz Ensemble
Photo of Miles Osland

Mega-Sax

Miles Osland, Director

 

Miles Osland established the Mega-Sax program at the University of Kentucky in 1989. This creation was inspired by his experience as a member of the SuperSax group led by Lanny Morgan (founding member of the original “Supersax”) at the Los Angeles Jazz Workshop, and Saxology directed by Ramon Ricker at Eastman School of Music.

 

The program at the University of Kentucky consists of Mega-Sax ensembles performing in quartets and quintets, with and without a rhythm section. It is Professor Osland’s intent to increase the awareness of this musical genre through live performances and recordings by Mega-Sax.The top Mega-Sax group has already made great strides towards this goal with featured performances at the Elmhurst (IL) Jazz Festival, the New England (MA) Saxophone Symposium, and a standing room only concert at CAV Nite Club in Providence, Rhode Island. The group has also been featured with Greg Abate at the Blue Wisp Jazz Club in Cincinnati, Ohio and performed in concert with Sony Latin recording artist Ed Calle.

 

The ensembles’ debut recording, We Don’t Need No Stinkin’ Rhythm Section, was chosen to be featured on the Jazz South Radio Show, which is broadcast on over 250 NPR stations across the globe. The CD was also recommended for a Grammy nomination by Sea Breeze Vista Records, and received a “four-star” review from Downbeat magazine. The group is a three-time winner of the prestigious Downbeat Student Music Awards in both classical and jazz categories.

Course #: MUC 172

 

Audition Requirements:
The audition process consists of performing a prepared piece and sight-reading. Improvising is required for students who wish to perform in a combo or play a solo chair in an ensemble. Auditions are held at the beginning of each semester and are open to the entire university community.

 

Normal Rehearsal Schedule:
The Mega-Sax ensembles rehearse two hours per week.

Photo of the UK Mega-Sax ensemble

Percussion ensembles

Photo of Jim Campbell

Percussion Ensemble

James B. Campbell, Conductor

 

Under the direction of James Campbell, the UK Percussion Ensemble has won the prestigious Percussive Arts Society Collegiate Percussion Ensemble Contest three times. They have also performed at several Percussive Arts Society International Conventions, the Lotus World Music and Arts Festival, the Bands of America Percussion Ensemble Festival, and alongside international guest artists such as Steve Houghton, John Bergamo, Michael Burritt, Bob Becker, William Cahn, Michael Spiro, Chalo Eduardo, Ney Rosauro, Liam Teague, Dick Schory, Anders Åstrand, Richie Garcia, Dave Samuels, Danny Gottlieb, Glenn Velez, Emil Richards, Joe Porcaro, Jerry Steinholtz, N. Scott Robinson, and many others.

Course #: MUC 173

 

Audition Requirements:
Auditions are held at the beginning of each semester.

 

Normal Rehearsal Schedule:
Two two-hour rehearsals per week plus performances and special events.

 

Click here for a repertoire list.

Photo of the UK Percussion Ensemble
Photo of Jim Campbell

Steel Band

James B. Campbell, Conductor

 

The UK Steel Band, directed by Professor James Campbell, was formed in 1992 as part of the Percussion Studies Program in the School of Music. The UK Steel Band annually performs for over 5,000 elementary and secondary school students with their acclaimed program, “Drums: from Africa to Trinidad.”

Studio/Chamber Ensembles

Photo of Lisa Osland

Saxophone Quartets

Lisa Osland, Director

 

The UK Saxophone Quartet program is a comprehensive and active course of study that provides a progressive performance experience in saxophone chamber music. The four quartets prepare and perform repertoire covering a variety of genres from classical transcriptions to contemporary works and jazz pieces.

 

Under the direction of Lisa Osland, the premier UK Saxophone Quartet has been a two-time DownBeat Award winner in the Classical Chamber Music category. They have also performed at the International Saxophone Symposium in Washington D.C. and the North American Saxophone Alliance Conference.

Course #: MUC 172

 

Audition Requirements:
The audition process consists of performing a prepared piece and sight-reading. Auditions are held at the beginning of each semester and are open to the entire university community.

 

Normal Rehearsal Schedule:
Quartets rehearse two hours per week.

Photo of the UK Saxophone Quartet
Photo of Skip Gray

Tuba-Euphonium Ensemble

Skip Gray, Director

 

The University of Kentucky Tuba-Euphonium Ensemble is a regularly meeting performing organization within the UK School of Music that performs many concerts each year including Children's Concerts, Lexington's annual Octoberfest, as well as formal recitals. The group is led by Dr. Skip Gray, Professor of Music at the University of Kentucky, and has appeared in concerts in New York City, Washington, D.C., Chicago, and Minneapolis. Particular high points in the group's performing experience were an appearance on the "Lonesome Pine Christmas Special" at the Kentucky Center in Louisville and their concerts at International Tuba-Euphonium Conferences in 1992, 1998, and 2002. The UK Tuba-Euphonium Ensemble performance repertoire is, because of the wide demands of their performing venues, eclectic — ranging from J.S. Bach to Duke Ellington with Sousa Marches in between!

 

When people normally think of a group of tubas playing together, thoughts of massed pachyderms come immediately to mind. Tuba-Euphonium Ensembles possess a remarkably sonorous timbre and wide dynamic range from extremely soft to brutally loud. The University of Kentucky Tuba-Euphonium Ensemble is actually comprised of both tubas and euphoniums. The euphonium is half the size of a tuba, has a higher, lighter sound, and plays most of the melodic parts within the group. There is a continually expanding repertoire of works written specifically for the tuba-euphonium ensemble by some well-recognized composers. A great deal of tuba-euphonium ensemble music was originally written for other musical ensembles and specially arranged for the group.

Course #: MUC 171

 

Audition Requirements:
Contact the Director

 

Normal Rehearsal Schedule:
The Tuba-Euphonium Ensembles meet for one hour, twice a week, plus concerts and special performances.

Photo of the UK Tuba-Euphonium ensemble

Private Lessons

Lessons are offered on all major wind and percussion instruments, and are open to majors and non-majors alike. Many of the applied faculty are members of the Lexington Philharmonic. For more information, contact the applied faculty in your area of interest.