St. Thomas Bands

Professor Matthew George, chair of the music department, directs the symphonic wind ensemble during dress rehearsal for the annual UST Christmas Concert at Orchestra Hall in downtown Minneapolis on December 8, 2013.

The St. Thomas Bands are made up of students who are serious musicians, but whose major course of study may vary from music to engineering, business, biology or foreign affairs. Students may participate in a variety of musical groups – from small chamber ensembles to larger symphonic ensembles. UST Band opportunities include the Symphonic Wind Ensemble, Symphonic Band, Chamber Winds and a full complement of woodwind, brass and percussion chamber ensembles.‌

While members of the bands study and perform standard and contemporary band music as well as transcriptions of other musical genres, the program is dedicated to bringing new literature to the band repertoire. Each year, the Symphonic Wind Ensemble actively commissions and premieres new music by significant national and internationally renowned composers. Since 1991, the St. Thomas Symphonic Wind Ensemble has commissioned and premiered over 70 new works for band. This music is being recorded for commercial distribution and appears on the innova record label.‌

The Symphonic Wind Ensemble has performed highly acclaimed concerts before the Minnesota Music Educators Association, the College Band Directors National Conference North Central Division and the Music Educators National Conference National Biennial Conference. The bands have toured throughout the United States and abroad, having performed in venues such as Eugene Goosens Hall and Town Hall (Australia) and the national theaters of Mexico, Cuba, Costa Rica, Japan China and Italy. Live national radio broadcasts include appearances on National Public Radio (United States), IMER (National Mexican Radio) and the Australia Broadcast Company. They have been televised nationally on PBS.

Who conducts the St. Thomas Bands?

Dr. Matthew George conducts the Symphonic Wind Ensemble and the St. Thomas Chamber Winds.  

Dr. Douglas Orzolek conducts the Symphonic Band.

Mr. Christopher Volpe conducts the Brass Choir.

Mr. Jeffrey Rinear directs the Instrumental Jazz Band.

When do the St. Thomas Bands rehearse?

Symphonic Wind Ensemble rehearses Tuesdays and Thursdays from 1:35-3:10 p.m.

Symphonic Band rehearses Tuesdays and Thursdays from 3:25-5 p.m.

View the rehearsal schedule for all ensembles.

Will playing in the St. Thomas Bands fulfill the Fine Arts Requirement?

Yes, students may fulfill the Fine Arts Requirement FREE OF CHARGE by playing in the UST Bands for four semesters (one credit per semester). You'll continue to earn one free credit per semester if you participate for more than four semesters. 

What are Freshmen Music Option lessons?

The Freshmen Music Option provides free 30-minute, one credit music lessons to all first year students involved in a large ensemble. Freshmen band students receive free lessons on their performing instrument. 

When are auditions?

Auditions are held during the first week of fall semester in the Brady Educational Center.  Students should prepare one or two pieces which show both lyrical and technical playing. Percussionionists should prepare a piece for two of the following instruments: snare drum, mallets, and/or timpani. In addition to your prepared piece(s), there will also be some sight-reading. The audition will last no more than ten minutes.

All interested incoming students should fill out the online form to reserve an audition. Audition forms are accepted from June 1-Sep. 1. Students who complete this form will receive an email that outlines specifics of the audition/registration process.