Montana State University

MSU Wind Symphony one of four groups to perform at festival in Washington, D.C.

March 29, 2017 -- MSU News Service

The MSU Wind Symphony performs in the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., on March 12 as part of the annual John Philip Sousa Band Festival. Photo courtesy of the MSU School of Music.

High-Res Available

Subscribe to MSU Newsletters

Bobcat Bulletin is a weekly e-newsletter designed to bring the most recent and relevant news about Montana State University directly to friends and neighbors via email. Visit Bobcat Bulletin.

MSU Today e-mail brings you news and events on campus thrice weekly during the academic year. Visit the MSU Today calendar.

MSU News Service
Tel: (406) 994-4571

BOZEMAN – The Montana State University School of Music’s Wind Symphony was one of only four ensembles selected to perform recently at the John Philip Sousa Band Festival, held on March 12 at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C..

The annual festival commemorates the compositions and legacy of John Philip Sousa, one of the most well-known composers of American military marches and patriotic music.

The band also played in a clinic with Col. Arnald D. Gabriel, director emeritus of the U.S. Air Force Band.

"The School of Music's participation in the 2017 Sousa Festival placed MSU into conversation with some of our country's best musical ensembles,” said Royce Smith, dean of the MSU College of Arts and Architecture. “Our students and faculty also showcased a quintessentially Montana program, playing a beautiful Sousa march alongside a world-premiere piece composed by MSU music professor Greg Young, which featured the sounds of bugling elk. With (MSU’s) President, Waded Cruzado, representatives of the Cuban Embassy in Washington and several university delegates in attendance, MSU took the Kennedy Center by storm and showed what a world-class program we have in music and the arts here in Bozeman."

The Wind Symphony, under the direction of MSU Director of Bands Nathan Stark, was assisted by percussion faculty members Stephen Versaevel and Jeff Vick, as well as trumpet professor Sarah Stoneback.

“The whole experience was truly incredible,” Stark said. “Our performance at the Kennedy Center was the most exciting moment! The students played with incredible sensitivity and power.... Playing in that hall gave everything a depth and color…. It was not just fun, not just great, but miraculous and transformative for all of us.”

The MSU Wind Symphony, one of the three flagship ensembles in the MSU School of Music, is a select group featuring some of the top musicians from across the university community. The band performs at MSU commencement ceremonies, as well as in various concerts throughout the year. The Wind Symphony performs some of the most challenging pieces in the concert band repertoire, often featuring guest artists.

For more information about the Sousa Band Festival, see

For more information about the Wind Symphony and other School of Music ensembles, see

Contact: Nathan Stark, MSU School of Music, (406) 994-5761 or