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Quad State Honor Band Festival

22nd Annual Festival: January 26 & 27, 2020

The Annual Quad State Honor Band Festival brings together the finest high school musicians from the quad state region. Students participating in the Honor Symphonic Band will have the opportunity to work with John LaCognata, USD's director of bands. Students selected for the Honor Concert Band will work with Todd Cranson, USD's director of athletic bands. All students attending the festival will also have an opportunity to work with our guest composer/clinician and perform their music. 

In addition to full-ensemble rehearsals, students will have master classes with the USD Department of Music applied faculty and enjoy a performance by the USD Symphonic Band. The festival concludes Monday evening with a finale concert featuring both honor ensembles in Aalfs Auditorium.

Guest Composer/Clinician 

Brant Karrick's headshot

Brant Karrick (b. 1960) joined the faculty of Northern Kentucky University in the fall of 2003 as Director of Bands. His prior teaching experience includes nine years at the University of Toledo and seven years of public school teaching in Kentucky. At NKU, he administrates the entire band program including the Symphonic Winds, the Concert Band and the Norse Pep Band. He also teaches classes in conducting, music education, marching band techniques, and orchestration.

In addition to his responsibilities at NKU, Dr. Karrick is active as a guest conductor, adjudicator, clinician, composer, and music arranger. His band compositions have been performed around the country, in Europe, South Africa, Japan and Australia. He has composed numerous works for all levels of concert bands including: Bayou Breakdown, See Rock City, J.S. Jig, Songs of Old Kentucky and Ghost Dancing.

Registration / Auditions

The application deadline has been extended to Tuesday, Dec. 3.

Application Form/Audition Process

Festival participants are selected through an audition process of assigned etudes and scales. To audition, students must:

1. Complete and submit an online applicant form (which will include recordings).

2. Submit recordings of the audition etudes, two major scales (assigned) and a chromatic scales.

  • Recordings will be collected in MP3 audio files and submitted through the online application form.
  • Prepare and record your performance of the audition materials.
  • Label audition recordings per example: instrument (hyphen) first name, last name, grade, description (no spaces). Example: Clarinet-PatJones12PreparedExceprts.mp3
  • Multiple recordings are allowed.
  • Percussionist are expected to submit all three prepared excerpts (snare, mallet, timpani).

Results/Festival Invitations 

The audition results and invitations to the festival will be emailed to band directors and students.


The registration form and photography waiver must be completed, signed by your parent or guardian and returned to your band director. Your director will mail all registration materials from your school to us in a single package. Do not mail your individual registration form. In order for you to participate in the festival, we must receive your forms from your band director.

Fees and Costs

There is a $30 fee per student for those selected to participate in the festival. This fee covers participation and a festival tee shirt. Your director will collect your fee and must send all student fees, along with the registration forms, to the USD Department of Music by Friday, January 17, 2020. If you are unable to attend the festival, have your director notify us immediately so that we can offer the place reserved for you to another worthy student. Registration fees cannot be refunded.

Hotels and Meals

You are responsible for your own meals and housing during the festival. Several area hotels are offering special rates for festival participants. You must mention the event to receive the discounted rate.

Best Western Vermillion Inn
701 West Cherry Street, Vermillion, SD 57069
Rate: TBA

Holiday Inn Express & Suites Vermillion
1200 North Dakota Street, Vermillion, SD 57069
Rate: TBA

Red Roof Inn Vermillion
1208 East Cherry Street, Vermillion, SD 57069
Rate: TBA


Sunday, January 26

12: 30 p.m. - 1:15 p.m.

Registration/Check-in - Fine Arts Building Lobby

1:30 p.m.

Welcome Meeting - Knutson Theater

2 - 3 p.m.

Masterclasses with USD Applied Music Faculty - Fine Arts Building

 3:30 - 5:30 p.m.

 Honor Band Rehearsals

  • Symphonic Band - Knutson Theater
  • Concert Band - Aalfs Auditorium

5:30 - 7 p.m.

USD Scholarship Auditions, dinner on your own (on your own $)

7 - 9:30 p.m.

Honor Band Rehearsals

  • Symphonic Band - Knutson Theater
  • Concert Band - Aalfs Auditorium

Monday, January 27

9 a.m. - 12 p.m.

Honor Bands Rehearsal

  • Concert Band - Knutson Theater
  • Symphonic Band - Aalfs Auditorium

12 - 1 p.m.

Lunch at the Muenster University Center (MUC) - Ballrooms A & B (provided by the USD Admissions Department)

1 - 3:30 p.m.

Honor Bands Rehearsal

  • Concert Band - Knutson Theater
  • Symphonic Band - Aalfs Auditorium

4 - 5 p.m.

Concert: USD Symphonic Band - Aalfs Auditorium

5 - 6:30 p.m.

Dinner on your own (on your own $)/Dress for concert

6:30 p.m.

Call time for Honor Bands - Aalfs Auditorium

  • Concert Band - On stage
  • Symphonic Band - Balcony

7 p.m.

Festival Finale Concert - Aalfs Auditorium (Families and friends are invited to attend the Finale Concert)

Festival Information

Check In

The festival will be held in the Warren M. Lee Center for the Fine Arts on USD's campus. Registration will begin at 12:30 p.m. The finale concert will be held in Aalfs Auditorium in Slagle Hall. The finale concert is free and open to the public.

View Campus Map


Parking passes will be distributed to all directors, parents and students driving a vehicle to the festival at the final Sunday rehearsal. Schools are asked to have their students carpool because of a limited number of parking passes.

Medical Information

Parents will be informed of any emergency medical situation which occurs during the festival, and parents will be responsible for all medical expenses incurred. Students with special medical needs or problems should provide the USD band staff with a detailed written account at check-in. The University of South Dakota is not liable in the event of an accident or personal injury.

Rules and Regulations

There will be absolutely no use of tobacco, alcohol or controlled substances by students while attending the University of South Dakota Quad State Honor Band Festival. Attendance at all festival events and proper behavior is expected of all participants. Parents of any student in violation of these policies will be notified, and the student may be expelled from the festival without refund. In case of emergency, participants may be contacted by telephone through the University of South Dakota Department of Music office at 605-658-3466.

What to Bring

All participants must provide their own instruments and accessories (mutes, reeds, oil, etc.). Percussion instruments will be furnished, but percussionists should bring their own sticks and mallets. Bring casual attire for rehearsals, appropriate gear for inclement weather and your high school's concert uniform for the Festival Finale Concert on Monday evening at 7 p.m. Personal items of value should be labeled with your name, school, address and telephone number. Insurance and records of identification markings (make, model serial number) are a recommended precaution. The University of South Dakota is not liable for loss, theft or damage to participants' personal belongings.

USD Music Scholarship Auditions

Seniors who wish to audition for a USD music scholarship are encouraged to do so during the festival.

For questions or more information, please contact:

Name Department & Office Contact
John LaCognata
  • Assistant Professor, Director of Bands, Trumpet
W M Lee Center for Fine Arts 115