Band Ensembles

Ensembles are open to all students, regardless of major. Learn more about large ensemble auditions.

All brass/woodwind students are encouraged to audition for School of Music Concerto and Chamber Music competitions and participate in the New Music Festival and World Music Ensembles. Collaborations with other students/studio areas within the School of Music, including Jazz, Keyboards, Percussion, Steelpan, Strings, Voice and Woodwinds, are strongly encouraged.

Wind Ensemble and Wind Symphony

The Wind Ensemble and the Wind Symphony are select concert bands designed for in-depth study of major literature for winds and percussion, and perform literature of the highest quality from the repertory of both traditional and contemporary compositional styles. Members develop a deeper sensitivity not only toward outstanding musicianship, but with regard to historical style, performance practices, and aesthetics. Membership in the Wind Symphony is open to any NIU student who qualifies through audition.

Banda NIU

The most popular subgenre of regional Mexican music, Banda relies solely on an instrumentation of wind instruments (unlike Mariachi and Noteño) featuring brass, clarinets, percussion and singers.

Banda NIU is a new ensemble at NIU that honors the tradition of the great bandas of the western Mexican state of Sinaloa. Its long and rich history is drawn on collaboration between European immigrants to Mexico in the 1800s and popular Mexican song.

With its roots in military and municipal bands performing at large outdoor events, Banda evolved over the past century, blending dance rhythms and song forms including the Son, Cumbia, Ranchera, Polka, Bolero, Vals, Merengue, Bachata, Corrido, Balada, Mambo and Cha-Cha-Cha.

Banda is at the forefront of the recent surge in popularity of the Regional Mexican genre, counterbalancing Latin urban music’s infiltration of the pop charts (Reggatòn) with the folk influence of Banda, while breaking attendance records and headlining the world’s biggest concert stages.

Banda NIU brings the infectious energy of this exciting music to NIU through concerts in the school of music as well as the surrounding community. BLH requires an audition and is open to all university students on trumpet, trombone, clarinet, horn (alto horn in Eb) tuba (Sousaphone) drum set, percussion and voice.

Huskie Marching Band

The Huskie Marching Band is a select organization whose mission is threefold: to entertain, to support and to educate. The Huskie Marching Band performs at all university home football games, at select away games and at post-season bowl games. The band entertains the stadium crowd while both on the field and in the stands and entertains crowds at select parades and university events.

The band also contributes to the education of members who may become band directors. In short, students in the Huskie Marching Band have been "defining collegiate life in DeKalb since 1899." The Huskie Marching Band is open to all students at NIU. The marching band membership includes musicians, the Silverettes (dance line) and the Color Guard (flags). The Huskie Marching Band is an official ensemble of the School of Music, and students enrolled in marching band receive academic credit. For more information, contact

Huskie Pep Band

The festive, spirited atmosphere that is a part of NIU basketball and volleyball, held in the spacious, modern NIU Convocation Center on campus, is greatly enhanced by the Huskie Pep Band. The band performs both semesters—in the fall at selected home volleyball games, and early season men’s and women’s basketball games. In the spring semester, the band continues to perform during the height of basketball season. Portions of the band often accompany the team to the conference basketball tournament and March Madness. The pep band may also perform around campus at various events throughout the year.

Membership in the NIU pep band is open to any full-time student on campus. A screening audition may be required of new members to ensure that they are placed on the right part for their instrument. Band members are required to provide black pants or slacks, black shoes, black socks and to purchase an NIU Pep band polo shirt before performances start. This attire serves as the uniform for the pep band.

The band typically rehearses on Tuesday nights during the early part of each semester, then switches to a performance-based schedule that may include performances on any night of the week.

Pep Band is a class, offered within the School of Music. Those enrolled receive a grade and academic credit. Register for MUSE 336, Section 1 to enroll in this class. For more information, contact Thomas Bough, Ph.D., at

Featured Performance

Contact Us

Music Building
Monday - Friday
8 a.m. - noon
1 - 4:30 p.m.

Austyn V. Menk
Music Admissions Coordinator

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