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Drake University Honor Band Festival

December 3-4, 2021

The Drake University Honor Band Festival provides outstanding high school musicians with the opportunity to work with our nation's finest conductors in select band settings.

During the two-day festival, students and directors develop their skills through rehearsals and clinics with guest conductors and members of the Drake music faculty. The culminating events are the two evening concerts that feature the Drake Bands and the Honor Bands presenting a wide variety of the finest music for wind band. The Honors Concert Band and Honors Wind Ensemble are comprised of over 200 students from throughout Iowa and Nebraska. These students are among the finest in the nation.

NEW FOR 2021

COVID-19 Mitigation Strategies
The Drake University Honor Band Festival is concerned for the health and safety of all participants and audience members. The following strategies will be employed throughout the 2021 Festival. Please inform your students and parents of these, prior to forwarding applications to the festival and your arrival on the Drake campus.
-Drake University requires that facemasks be worn in all university buildings at all times.
-All Honor Band participants must wear masks during all activities with the exception of when they are playing a wind instrument during rehearsals and clinics. Wind players must mask when not playing during rehearsals. Percussionists must wear masks at all times during rehearsals and clinics.
-The size of the Honors Concert Band will be reduced from 140 to approximately 100 players for 2021. The Honors Wind Ensemble will size will remain unchanged at 75-80 players.
-All audience members must wear facemasks while attending the festival concerts.

Payment for Participants

Drake University will employ the use of Eventbrite to secure all payments for student participants of the festival. Directors will be sent a link to Eventbrite, upon notification of student acceptances to the festival. Payment is due on or before December 3, 2021.


To provide an exceptional ensemble experience for high school students to perform under the baton of our nation’s finest band conductors.

Festival Location

All activities of the High School Honor Band will be conducted in the Harmon Fine Arts Center, located on the Drake University campus.


The festival features two distinct honors ensembles. Membership in the Honors Wind Ensemble is reserved for high school seniors and members of previous Iowa All-State bands. Membership in the Honors Concert Band is open to students of all grade levels and abilities.

Eligibility/Selection Process

High school students may, with the recommendation of their instrumental director, apply for membership in the Honor Band. Deadline for application is Monday, November 8, 2021.  Applications will be accepted at a later date if openings exist in specific sections.  Applications will be reviewed on November 9th and parts will be assigned following the recommendation of directors, wherever possible.  Music will then be sent to each accepted member, via email to their band director for practice prior to the festival.

Honor Band Festival Information Bulletin

Honor Band Festival Director Evaluation

Honor Band Festival Student Application

Registration Fee

A registration fee of $20.00 per student (plus $1.99/student user fee for Eventbrite) is due by the day of the event (December 3, 2021).  A registration desk will be located in the lobby of the Performing Arts Hall of the Fine Arts Center. Students are asked to register upon arrival between 8:00-10:00 a.m.

Chair Placement Auditions

Chair auditions will consist of performance of the Honor Band music sent to students. Passages utilized are left to the discretion of the auditioner.  Students must bring their music with them to their chair placement auditions.


All rehearsals are open to parents, directors and friends.

Music Scholarship Auditions

High School Seniors who interested in auditioning for Drake Music Scholarships are invited to participate in the Drake Music Scholarship Auditions to be held in November 2021 and February 2022. Plan now to attend one of the three dates for scholarship auditions: November 11, 2021 (virtual only), February 4 (in-person) and February 11, 2022 (in-person).  Music scholarships are available for music majors, minors and program participants. For more information about auditions, please click here

For further information about the Honor Band Festival, contact the Drake University Bands at: or call the band office at 515-271-3164.

Should you find the need to fax your recommendations, that number is (515) 271-2558. Please be sure to include both the Director's Nomination form and Student Application form with all entries. Applications will NOT be processed without both forms. Applications may also be e-mailed to

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