The Iowa Intercollegiate Honor Band Festival annually selects 100 students from across Iowa colleges to participate and in 2019 14 Wartburg students have been chosen. College band directors from across the state of Iowa nominated members of ensembles to be selected to participate in the honor band. The students selected to participate are considered some of the best musicians in Iowa.

“We have nominated and selected our best musicians from our best ensemble to represent our school at this event,” Dr. Craig Hancock, director of Wartburg’s Wind Ensemble, said. The honor band is hosted by the Iowa Music Educators Association and features a different guest director each year. The 100 students chosen to participate rehearse over two days to perform in a concert at the IMEA conference.

“This is a gathering of some of the best musicians from all the colleges in the state of Iowa who get together for two days to make music with an esteemed guest director,” Hancock said.

Many of the students chosen from Wartburg are music education majors who look forward to the event to learn from talented guest directors with long careers in music education, according to Hancock.

“The ability to observe the techniques of directors in conducting, management and expression has benefited me greatly,” Garrett Arensdorf, a fourth-year music education major and participant of several state and national honor bands, said. “Once I begin teaching myself, I anticipate using specific strategies from each of these directors.”

The honor band takes place annually and often features students who have participated multiple times. Arensdorf, who has participated in the Iowa Honor Band as well as other regional and national honor bands, praised the experience.

“I believe that the true driving force that compels me to continue participating in these honor bands are the experiences, friendships, and memories that are created during the event,” Arensdorf said. “No two honor bands are ever the same, as they all hold different members and music.”

Participation in any sort of honor music ensemble comes highly recommended by those who have participated in the past. “To achieve a performance with an ensemble of complete strangers in only a few days is a daunting task,” Arensdorf said.

“However, the experience gained, knowledge acquired, and friendships built make every honor band an opportunity few should pass up.”

This year’s honor band festival is guest conducted by Dr. Carolyn Barber from the University of Nebraska, Lincolnn Nebraska. The honor band will perform two concerts on Nov. 22 and 23.



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