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Honor Band Festival

February 2-4, 2023

The University of Memphis Rudi E. Scheidt School of Music cordially invites you to the 33rd Annual Honor Band Festival.

Our three-day festival includes rehearsals and concerts of the two Honor Bands and a special performance by the UofM Wind Ensemble and Southern Comfort Jazz Orchestra for the Honor Band participants, parents and directors. 

IMPORTANT DATES:

  • Dec. 6 - Nominations Open
  • Jan. 6 - Nominations Close
  • February 2-4 - Honor Band Festival
  • Feb. 4 - Honor Band Festival Concert at 10:30 AM

Conductors

Ben Easley A generic square placeholder image with rounded corners in a figure.  
BLUE BAND
Ben Easley

Composer in Residence
GRAY BAND
Curt Ebersole

Blue Band Conductor
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Student Nomination and Selection

Registration opens December 6

We invite high school band directors to nominate student musicians for this exciting experience.

Nominate >

 

Students selected for the Honor Bands must arrive on campus Thursday, February 2 by 3 PM.  Auditions for the band, part assignment, and chair placement will be held between 3-6 PM.  We are using an online application on the Honor Band website to nominate prospective UofM Honor Band members.  Please nominate ONLY those students who will be able to participate if selected.  Students will be selected in the following manner:

  1. Complete the online nomination form. Please indicate the ranking order for your students on the form by entering them in the appropriately numbered tabs.  Enter all students at one time before submitting the form. After submitting the form, you will receive a confirmation email with the submitted information.  Letters to directors and student-musicians will be emailed to directors shortly after the deadline.  The list of music to be performed and final instructions will be forwarded at that time.  YOU DO NOT NEED TO PAY WHEN NOMINATING STUDENTS.
  2. The first student-musician from each school ranked by the high school band director will automatically be selected. Please be careful when nominating percussionists and saxophonists with a ranking of first.  Remember that we will take those students nominated first by you and that we can accept only a limited number of students in those sections (saxophone and percussion).
  3. The student from each school ranked second will probably be selected, depending on the total number nominated, musical awards and achievements, and instrumentation needs.
  4. Others from each school will be selected to balance instrumentation based upon your nomination and their musical honors, awards, and/or achievements.
  5. Audition music: Each student is asked to prepare a solo or etude that will best display their ability. They may also play the music prepared for their Music Educators Association tryout: All-West, All-Region, All-State, etc.  Along with the prepared selections, students will be asked to perform scales and sightreading.  Percussionists should prepare short excerpts on snare, timpani, and keyboard.

Please note: Each student will be charged a $40 participation fee that will include dinner on Friday evening and an Honor Band patch.  This amount will be collected in advance with one combined payment from each school after student-musician selections have been completed.

We hope you will plan to nominate students to participate in the UofM Honor Band Festival.  We look forward to receiving your nominations.


Meet Your Conductors

Benjamin Easley

Benjamin Easley currently serves as Director of Bands at Nolensville High School in Williamson County. Prior to opening NHS, Mr. Easley began his Tennessee teaching career at John Overton High School, where the marching band membership increased by 58% during his tenure. Mr. Easley previously served as Associate Band Director at Berkner High School in Richardson, Texas, where his ensembles achieved the UIL Sweepstakes Award and the Mighty Ram Band performed his original compositions and arrangements as finalists at the 2012 TX UIL 5A State Marching Contest and multiple Bands of America Regional Championships.

Under his leadership, Nolensville Band membership has increased by 450% since its beginnings in 2016. In addition to consistently earning unanimous superior ratings at Concert Performance Assessment, Nolensville Band performances include appearances at the 49th Annual GMA Dove Awards, ABC World News Tonight With David Muir, Chicago St. Patrick’s Day Parade, Nissan Stadium for the Tennessee Titans, and an upcoming TBA Hall of Fame Concert at the 64th Annual Tennessee Music Education Association Professional Development Conference.

A four-time CMA Music Teachers of Excellence recipient and 2018-2019 Nolensville HS Teacher of the Year, Mr. Easley graduated summa cum laude with a B.M. in Trombone Performance, M.M. in Instrumental Conducting, M.M. in Music Education, and M.M. in Music Theory Pedagogy from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas. Active as a regional adjudicator and freelance composer and arranger, Mr. Easley designs and arranges for high school marching band programs throughout the Southeast. He currently resides in Nolensville with his wife, Sarah, and their daughters, Ella (8) and Harper (5).

Curt Ebersole

Curt Ebersole has served as the Conductor and Music Director (John P. Paynter Memorial Chair) of the Westchester Symphonic Winds since 2008, fostering its exponential growth over the past thirteen years. He led the Westchester Symphonic Winds in their Lincoln Center debut in March 2010 at Avery Fisher Hall, and at convention and exchange performances in Chicago, Poughkeepsie, Stamford, and Syracuse, as well as seven sold-out summer festival performances at the Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts (Katonah, NY). He retired from Northern Valley Regional High School (Old Tappan, NJ) in 2013 after serving as Director of Instrumental Music for 31 years. His ensembles were honored with consistent critical accolades, and his instrumental Prism Concerts became a local rite of spring. He now serves on the faculty at The Masters School, in Dobbs Ferry, New York, where he teaches String Ensemble, Chamber Music, and Public Speaking. He earned a Bachelor of Music Education degree and a Master of Music in Conducting degree from Northwestern University, where he studied conducting with John P. Paynter and clarinet with Larry Combs, and a Master of Fine Arts in Clarinet Performance from SUNY-Purchase, where he studied with Ben Armato.

Maestro Ebersole has served as a guest conductor and clinician for numerous county, regional, all-state, and adult community ensembles around the world, including performances at Carnegie Hall, Avery Fisher Hall, Symphony Space, University of Georgia, Syracuse University, Hartwick College, Georgia State University, with the US Army Field Band, as well as performances in Las Vegas, South Korea, and Australia. He is the founding coordinator of the Music Educators of Bergen County Wind Conducting Symposium. He has served as a clinician at the Midwest Clinic, Temple University Wind Conducting and Teaching Workshops, Florida Music Educators Association Convention, and presented his TED Talk, “Framing Failure,” at TEDxOneonta in 2017. He is a practitioner of Positive Psychology and the Harkness Method. His performance achievements include solo and ensemble performances as both a clarinetist and basset hornist.

He was selected as the Northern Valley District Teacher of the Year in 1994 and the Bergen County Teacher of the Year in 1995. The Mayor and Council of Old Tappan honored him for twenty years of service to the community in 2002. The New Jersey Music Educators Association chose him as the recipient of the 2003 Master Music Teacher Award, and he received a Governor’s Award in Arts Education later that year. In 2009 he was the Northern Valley-Old Tappan recipient of the New Jersey Governor’s Teacher Recognition Award. Yale University honored him with their Distinguished Music Educator Award in 2011. Ebersole led the Westchester Symphonic Winds to earn a triple play in The American Prize competition, earning first place for community wind ensemble, second place as conductor, and third place for American music performance. His professional memberships include NAfME, CBDNA, and Pi Kappa Lambda. 

Maestro Ebersole is a native of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, and a current resident of White Plains, New York. In addition to his busy musical life, he enjoys riding America’s fastest and tallest roller coasters.