Iowa’s top high school musicians to perform at ISU

CATEGORIES: Uncategorized

The Iowa State University music program will host about 400 talented Iowa high school musicians in early February at the annual honor band and honor choir festivals.

The 38th Annual Cyclone Honor Band Festival features more than 300 musicians from 60 Iowa high schools on Feb. 7-8. The musicians will come to campus for instruction, rehearsals and a performance, and they also will get to interact with and learn from Iowa State music students and faculty.

“Although this event provides wonderful outreach to many school band programs, it also helps to recruit many students – both music majors and non-music majors – to Iowa State,” said Michael Golemo, director of bands and professor and chair of music.

The festival will have three bands this year. The Gold Band, with approximately 65 members, features the top musicians and will be conducted by Travis Cross, from the University of California, Los Angeles.

The Cardinal Band will consist of students who exhibit all-state or honor band abilities. Its conductor is Ricky Brooks from the University of Central Arkansas. The newly created Cyclone Band will include young musicians, either freshmen or sophomores, who demonstrate outstanding musical potential. The Cyclone Band’s conductor is James Vowels from Waverly-Shell Rock High School.

The honor bands will perform a free concert Saturday, Feb. 8, at 3 p.m. at the Ames City Auditorium.

About 85 choral students qualified for this year’s ISU Honor Choir Festival, Feb. 9-10. Each fall, James Rodde, professor of music and director of choral activities, conducts live auditions around the state. "In addition to their singing a solo at the audition, the students do sight reading and tonal memory exercises for me," Rodde said. "It varies but usually about 300 audition each year."

Two free concerts are scheduled for the Honor Choir Festival, both in Martha-Ellen Tye Recital Hall in ISU’s Music Hall. The Choir Concert Showcase is at 7:30 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 9, and will include four ISU choral ensembles: the Statesmen, Cantamus, Shy of a Dozen and Count Me In. On Monday, Feb. 10, at 7 p.m., the Honor Choir and the university’s Iowa State Singers will perform.

"This festival is an excellent opportunity for students to experience the musical challenges offered by being part of a highly select group of young musicians," Rodde added.

For more information, contact the Department of Music and Theatre at 515-294-3831 or

Music is an academic program in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at ISU.