There are MANY ways to expand your musical horizons beyond our work in band class. Honor Bands, Private Lessons, Summer Camps, and much more are wonderful experiences that will help students grow in amazing ways. If you know of any additional opportunities for students, please contact the Band Directors, and we’ll get it added to the page!
Participation in Honor Bands is the best and most common way to expand your musical horizons. In these groups, our band students will work with world class conductors/educators alongside other incredible student musicians from across the region, state, and country. These are HIGHLY recommended to anyone who is interested.
ECKMEA All-District and KMEA All-State Bands
The Kansas Music Educators Association (KMEA) is an organization committed to supporting and enhancing music education across all Kansas. KMEA is broken into 7 Districts, and Blue Valley North is a part of East-Central KMEA (ECKMEA).
ECKMEA All-District Bands:
The ECKMEA All-District Ensembles feature the finest student musicians from this region of the state. The groups are auditioned, and earning placement in the group is a wonderful achievement. Auditions are in Early November each fall, and the Honor Bands Rehearse and Perform on the first Saturday of December. All BVN Band Students are eligible to audition for placement in the ECKMEA Gold Band (Top Placement Concert Band), Red and Blue Bands (even split placement Concert Bands), or the ECKMEA All-District Jazz Ensemble. BVN Orchestra and Choir Students can audition for ECKMEA Honor Groups, as well.
Audition Materials for the All-District Bands can be found on our Student Resources Page, or in the Band Room. These materials will also be used for our BVN Spring Concert Band Auditions and the All-State Band Auditions.
KMEA All-State Band, Jazz Band, and Orchestra:
Earning Placement in the KMEA All-State Honor Groups is the highest honor given to individual student musicians int he state of Kansas – equivalent to being named an All-State Athlete. And, our All-State Musicians get together and perform!! The All-State Ensembles rehearse and Perform in late February, at the State Music Convention held at Wichita’s Century II Convention Center. The All-State Experience is phenomenal – our BVN Students get to work with world class clinician/conductors side-by-side with phenomenal students from across the state.
Students become eligible to audition for All-State if they perform with one of the ECKMEA Honor Bands or Jazz Band. Live Auditions for the All-State Ensembles are held in Salina, KS on a Saturday in Early January. Audition materials are the same as the All-District Band.
Kansas John Philip Sousa Honor Band
The Sousa Honor Band is a PHENOMENAL All-State Honor Band for 9th Graders. (The ensemble is open to all 6th-9th Graders from across the State of Kansas). The band will rehearse and perform at the Lied Center of Kansas at KU on a Friday-Saturday in mid to late January each year. The Sousa Honor Groups are SPECTACULAR, and the audition is highly recommended for all 9th Grade Band Members. Auditions are recorded (audio recording) and submitted in mid-October each year. Go the Kansas Sousa Honor Band Website for Audition Materials and details.
Honor Band Weekends, hosted by Colleges
Many colleges host AMAZING honor band weekends. There are various formats for these experiences, but most are like a miniature version of a summer music camp, held on a weekend during the school year. Students report to the college campus and spend a couple of days rehearsing with college professors and conductors alongside other wonderful high school student musicians, then perform at the end of the weekend. Several of our local universities host PHENOMENAL experiences. KU’s “Prairie Wind Festival” and UMKC’s “Midwest Honor Band and Orchestra Festival” are amazing experiences for our students. The links below take you to info on clinics that BVN students have attended in the past and had wonderful experiences!
University of Kansas Prairie Wind Festival
UMKC Midwest Honor Band and Orchestra Festival
Mid-America Nazarene High School Honor Band Clinic
William Jewell Honor Band (link coming soon)
Private Lessons and Solo/Ensemble Festivals
Taking private lessons on your instrument is THE most effective ways to increase your level of musicianship. Private teachers will help you overcome challenges and achieve new levels of music making on your instrument. Plus – lessons are FUN! We are lucky to have many FANTASTIC private teachers in the area who will help you build your individual music skills while motivating you to practice and, in general, making life more fun! Please talk with Mr. Wagoner or Mr. Freeman if you are interested in this great opportunity.
Solo and Ensemble Festivals
Throughout the school year, students can choose to perform as soloists or in chamber groups (small ensembles such as trios, quartets, quintets, etc) at various festivals. Students will perform for professional adjudicators who provide constructive critique and ratings.
KSHSAA Regional and State Piano Festivals
These Solo Piano Festivals are held each year in February. Students who earn a “I” rating at the Regional piano festival earlier in February are qualified to perform at State. BVN Pianists should begin preparing solos in the fall semester, and watch student announcements carefully in January for registration information.
Regional and State Solo and Ensemble Festival
All students in grades 9-12 are eligible to participate in the KSHSAA Regional and State Solo and Ensemble Festivals, which occur in April each year. Students may perform as a soloist and as a member of up to two small ensembles. Soloists choose their own literature and must provide their own accompanist, and it is HIGHLY recommended that soloists take Private Lessons. Solo preparation should begin in January or earlier. Students who wish to perform in a small ensemble can organize their own small groups or talk with the directors, who will help them organize the group. Soloists and small ensembles who earn “I” rating at the Regional Festival (early April) qualify to perform at the State festival later in April.
Macy’s Great American Marching Band – Auditioned group which performs as a feature of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade.