BYU bands and ensembles

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  (Redirected from BYU bands)
Jump to navigation Jump to search

BYU has a broad array of bands and ensembles. Most of these are part of the programs of the School of Music in the BYU College of Fine Arts and Communications, primarily either in the Department of Bands or the Jazz Studies Department.


The first band at what was then Brigham Young Academy was organized in about 1900 by Albert Miller (birth name Ernest Ludwig Adelbert Muller, lived 1875–1906) a German Mormon who was recruited to be on the music faculty at BYA by Anthony C. Lund in 1901. In 1901 Miller recruited as his assistant Robert Sauer, who he had known in Dresden, Germany, before immigrants.

In 1906, after Miller died, Robert Sauer (1873–1944) a German convert to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, became the director of the BYU band. Sauer remained the band director until 1942. At the end of Sauer's time as band director BYU had one band that had 35 instruments.

John R. Halliday then became the band director in 1942. During his eight-year tenure BYU's band department expanded to 3 bands with 225 people playing instruments. Halliday would remain with BYU, with the exception of two years he did post-doctoral studies at the University of Southern California until his retirement in 1976 (when he became president of the Italy Milan Mission) but would spend most of the next 25 years as a director of choirs.[1]

In 1950 Norman Hunt became the director of BYU bands. In 1953 Ralph G. Laycock became the director of BYU bands.

Wind Symphony[edit]

The BYU Wind Symphony has 45-members. Over the years it has performed in many locations across the United States and at least six other countries.

Other non-sports bands[edit]

BYU has the Symphonic Band that performs much less than the Wind Symphony. There is also the University Band which is a non-audition band.

Cougar Marching Band[edit]

Known today as the "Power of the Wasatch", The BYU Cougar Marching Band was first organized in 1908 by Robert Sauer who wrote the well known tune "When It's Springtime in the Rockies". Years later, in 1943, the band was found as part of the school´s ROTC. In 1953, control of the band was given to the College of Fine Arts (which still sponsors the band today) with Richard A. Ballou as its director and Grant Elkington as the first drum major. Since then the band has been led under the direction of Elkington, Bruce Bastian, Dan Bachelder, David Blackinton and Don Peterson.[2]

Today the Marching Band is a 225-member band directed by Fred McInnis, with Art Young serving as assistant director. Prior to 2008, the band held rehearsals in the parking lot of the Marriott Center and utilized storage space inside Conference Center, which sits adjacent to the Caroline Hemenway Harman Building. The current home of the BYU Marching Band is the Cougar Marching Band Hall, which includes rehearsal space, instrument storage areas, and band staff offices. It was built and completed in 2008 and is located in the southwest corner of LaVell Edwards Stadium.[3] The band rehearses in the west stadium parking lot next to Lavell Edwards Stadium. In 2011 a permanent rehearsal tower, with an integrated sound system and two observation levels, was built in the parking lot for use by the marching band.

The band puts on pregame and halftime shows at all home football games and will generally travel with the team versus in state rivals and for postseason bowl appearances. The band has a tradition of marching from the baseball complex into LaVell Edwards Stadium about forty-five minutes before each game begins, stopping in front of the Cougar statue outside the southwest corner of the stadium to play for fans about to enter the stands. Shortly after the conclusion of each game, the band lines up and marches to the same spot outside the stadium to offer a short concert to fans lingering after the game, always concluding with the singing of BYU's traditional "College Song".

The band also performs at the Rocky Mountain Marching Band Invitational, a high school competition hosted by the school the second Tuesday of October each year, and in its own concert towards the end of the season in November in the deJong Concert Hall on campus.

Pep bands[edit]

BYU has two pep bands that perform at both men's and women's basketball games. Sometimes referred to as the Blue and White Bands, the pep bands normally perform at all regular season home contests and often travel with the team in the post season tournaments.[4] Through their music they help pump up the crowd and create the excitement found in the college hoops atmosphere at the Marriott Center.

Jazz ensembles[edit]

BYU has a large array of Jazz ensembles. Three of these perform music in the Big Band tradition. The premier band in this group is Synthesis which was founded by K. Newell Dayley and is currently directed by Ray Smith. Synthesis has performed at several Jazz festivals in many locations in the US as well as in some other countries. The Jazz Ensemble functions as the training group for Synthesis and is currently directed by Mark Ammons. Their performance schedule is less expansive than Synthesis', primarily performing in Provo and its immediate vicinity when performing beyond BYU Campus. There is also the Jazz Lab Band, which performs twice a year on campus.

Smaller groups in different styles include Q'd Up the Faculty Jazz quintet that as of 2011 consisted of Ray Smith, Steve Lindeman, Matt Larson, Jay Lawrence and Ron Brough. There is also the Jazz Legacy Dixieland Band which has performed across the US, the Salsa Combo and then 5 other groups that perform in "casual" format. The salsa and other five combos are all directed by Jay Lawrence.

There are also three Jazz vocal groups. Jazz Voices, Vocal Point and Vocal Jazz Ensemble.

Other ensembles[edit]

BYU has three other faculty ensembles. Orpheus Winds, Brassworks and the American Piano Quartet.

Other student ensembles include the Clarinet Choir, the Flute Choir, the Trombone Choir, The Brass Chamber Music group, the String Chamber Music Group and the Woodwind Chamber Music Group. There is also a collection of folk music ensembles, some of which work with the BYU International Folk Dancers.[5]


Besides performing in many of the bands listed above, BYU's percussion section also has a percussion ensemble.