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Kansas State Bands

2018 - 2019


2019 Newsletter

Dr. Tracz Pages


Letter from the Director of Bands:


I send you all a very special Wildcat greeting from the K-State Band Program! Once again, we find ourselves in the middle of a very busy year with incredible experiences and fantastic music making from all of our ensembles! As our university faces adversity with enrollment, our numbers continue to grow. We hope to provide you with an update with what is happening with our band program.


The Wind Ensemble was invited to perform at the American Bandmasters Association (ABA) Conference in Loveland, CO on March 6, 2019! This is a prestigious invitation to perform in front of the exclusive 400-members, consisting of the most respected band directors from all over the world. The Wind Ensemble just came off of an East Coast tour to Washington D.C. last April. We are performed at the finale concert of the International Music Festival on Tuesday, April 17, 2018 at the world-renowned Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts…what an incredible experience!

The Wind Symphony had an incredible performance at KMEA on Friday, February 22! They were one of three collegiate ensembles that were selected to perform after being evaluated by a blind panel of evaluators. The Wind Symphony is the second auditioned concert group at K-State and is under the direction of Dr. Wimmer. They demonstrated not only outstanding technical facility but performed with excellent musicianship. We are very proud of their performance and how they represented K-State on one of the biggest stages in the state!

The Marching Band had another incredible year of great performances and the opportunity to be with Coach Bill Snyder during his last season at Kansas State University. We are so grateful and appreciative of everything Coach Synder has done for the band, the university, and the K-State Family. We are incredibly sad to see him go but are looking forward to the direction Coach Chris Klieman will take the football program! Look for pictures and the story later in this newsletter.

We had some very special guests with us at our last football game versus Texas Tech. Collegemarching.com is dedicated to the promotion of college marching bands by spending time with them during a football game and the rehearsal prior to. They spent our Friday afternoon through the end of gameday and got a first-hand look at what it means to be a member of the Pride of Wildcat Land. We want to thank them for show the world what it means to a member of the Pride and you can read more about the visit later in this newsletter!

I am very proud of this band program as we continue to make great strides in concert and athletic bands. The Manhattan Municipal Band (MMB) was bigger and better than ever, the small ensembles are of high quality, and the entire band family is alive and well!

This newsletter is filled with updates, introductions, plans, great pictures, and many, many memories. Please read on and let me know what you are doing. Keep in touch with us and we hope to see you this summer at an MMB concert, this fall at a football game, or anytime at one of our concerts.

Thank you for all your support and encouragement. Go Cats, Go Band!  ~ Dr. Frank Tracz

ABA Page:

The Kansas State University Wind Ensemble will be performing at the American Bandmasters Association (ABA) Conference on March 6, 2019 in Loveland, CO. ABA is a unique and select association representing the best and most respected band directors in the United States and from around the world. Membership into this prestigious association follows an intense selection process. This invitation only performance is one of the most prestigious venues a collegiate wind ensemble can be invited to perform at. Dr. Frank Tracz was initiated into ABA in 2013.


The Wind Ensemble will perform the O Canada and the Star Spangled Banner (tradition for the opening concert of this convention) as well as works by Bernstein, Gillingham, Larsen, Liszt, Mendez, and Sousa. They will be joined by Dr. Anna Wytko, professor of saxophone, on Libby Larsen’s Holy Roller. Chris Castallanos (horn player with the Boston Brass) will perform his transcription of La Virgen de la Macarena by Rafael Mendez. What makes this performance unique is that the ensemble will be conducted by a total of eight conductors, five of which are newly initiated members of ABA. Dr. Frank Tracz will only be conducting one of the eight pieces performed on the March 6 concert, talk about pressure!


The Wind Ensemble has been working extremely hard and diligently to prepare for this performance. The addition of Sunday afternoon rehearsals and music faculty member observations have really been extremely beneficial. A few existing ABA members have also come to campus to work with the ensemble. Diane Koutsulis (recently retired Director of Bands and Arts Department Chair at Green Valley High School in Henderson, NV) was on campus for three-days to work with Wind Ensemble, as well as Dr. Ron Hufstader (retired Director of Bands at the University of Texas El Paso). With everyone’s help, the ensemble has made great strides and are ready to take this prestigious stage!!!








Wind Symphony KMEA Performance-Presentations


On February 22, 2019, the Kansas State University Wind Symphony performed at the Kansas Music Educators Association (KMEA) In-Service. The Wind Symphony was one of three collegiate ensembles selected to perform at this year’s conference. Groups selected to perform were required to submit audio recordings that were evaluated by a blind panel. This is the first time this ensemble has been selected to perform at KMEA in its four-year existence. The ensemble performed John Mackey’s Night on Fire, Gustav Holst’s Second Suite in F, Mark Camphouse’s Yosemite Autumn, and Yasuhide Ito’s Festal Scenes. The ensemble is under the direction of Dr. Alex Wimmer.


Dr. Tracz and Dr. Wimmer also co-presented a session entitled, “Build it, They Will Come.” This session provided perspectives and tips aimed to assist Kansas music educators in building better music programs to benefit their students, teachers, and communities. Dr. Wimmer also co-presented sessions with Dr. Jim Johnson (trumpet professor, “From B to Z (Bach to Zimmer): How Film Music can Reinforce our Understanding of Music Principles”) and Dr. Phil Payne (head of music education, “Mission: (Im)Possible – Developing Critical Thinking Through Assessment Creativity”).



Page 12:


Summer Music Camp

Leadership and Auxiliary Camp

Summer Master’s Program


June 9 – June 13, 2019

Summer Music Camp

At K-State’s Summer Music Camp, students in grades 5-12 are invited to K-State’s Manhattan campus to rehearse with experts, perform for a crowd, and have some summer fun. Not only will campers get to know the K-State Band family, they will return home as strong performers who are excited about band. The camp staff is composed of the finest musicians and teachers from the area, including college music students. They are chosen for their interest and ability to inspire and teach talented young musicians. Students perform in one of three large concert ensembles and a variety of chamber ensembles (one of two jazz bands, flute, clarinet, double reed, saxophone, brass, and percussion ensemble). Students can experience dorm life by staying on campus or commuting from home. For more information and registration, contact K-State Bands at (785) 532-3816, or visit www.k-state.edu/band/camps/summermusic.html.


July 14 – July 17, 2019

Leadership and Auxiliary Camp

Summer is the perfect time to make sure your band or auxiliary team is a fine-tuned machine. Join K-State experts this summer to rehearse, network, and grow as both a performer and leader. This camp is designed for students currently in grades 9-12 in a variety of band and auxiliary groups, including drum majors, section leaders, percussionists, and guard. The camp staff is composed of current and former K-State Marching Band Drum Majors, K-State Color Guard, and various band program staff. Staff members supervise all student rehearsals and activities throughout the day and evening. For more information and registration, contact K-State Bands at (785) 532-3816, or visit www.k-state.edu/band/camps/leadershipcamp.html.


K-State Music Education

Summer Master’s Program

The Kansas State University Music Department is excited to offer graduate-level courses during the summer as part of the Master of Music degree with an emphasis in Music Education. This year will mark the second year of our hybrid curriculum with both online and on-campus elements. The online component will provide more opportunities for distance learning combined with a reduced, but still personable, on-campus component. These classes are designed to appeal to music educators at all levels who wish to improve their knowledge in a variety of skills, techniques, and concepts while earning their master’s degree or continuing education credits. The Summer Master’s Program has a wide variety of courses to offer, including graduate studies courses, music theory and history courses, and music education courses. A highlight for this summer will be a residency with Richard Saucedo, internationally renowned clinician and composer. For more information about the K-State Summer Graduate Study Program, please visit our website at https://global.k-state.edu/artsci/music/masters/.






Page 16:


A Year In The Life Of…The K-State Band Directors


As you can imagine, things have been busy this year around the band office. Though things may seem the same, we work very hard to tweak and alter our approach so that the band program can reach new levels. Despite overall enrollment numbers declining at K-State, the numbers in our ensembles continue to grow. Through the recruitment of great students, we are continuing to do more with less!


Those 5:00am meetings at the McCain loading dock with any willing staff and undergraduates to drive several hours to a remote location just to work with a band for 45 minutes are still the norm. We have done several clinics this year and have many more lined up. We also have reached out to many prospective students and their directors by bringing them on campus with several special events:


-Central States Marching Festival with over 15,000 people in attendance including over 5,000 potential K-State students and 41 marching bands.


-Concert Band Clinic where we are reaching almost 700 students annually with seven concert bands.


-Two separate Future Music Educator Days now have over 100 sophomore, junior, and senior high school students interested in the profession.


-Summer Music Camp sees over 200 students in grades 5-12 annually in June.


-Leadership and Auxiliary Camp trains over 140 student leaders on K-State’s campus in July.


The second annual “K-State All-Star Marching Band” was a huge success. Over 150 students from all over Kansas came to campus for a Friday evening rehearsal, Saturday game-day rehearsal, and had a fantastic performance with the KSUMB. We are anticipating an even greater turn-out for this fall’s third annual “K-State All-Star Marching Band” with our Alumni Band Members!


The Wind Ensemble’s performance at the American Bandmasters Association in April and the Wind Symphony’s performance at the Kansas Music Educators Association in February are putting K-State on the map with these prestigious concert ensemble performances. We cannot wait to see what next year has in store for our concert ensemble programs!


Dr. Wimmer and I have done clinics as well as guest conducted in the state and around the country. Dr. Wimmer continues to do a fantastic job as he completes his second year as the Assistant Director of Bands. His drill, arrangements, conducting, and teaching continue to hit the mark!


With everything going on, we do ask you to HELP US by sending us names of future K-Staters. If you know of a student who possesses the “right stuff”, please send their name to ftracz@ksu.edu. You can also send me an email if you would like myself, Dr. Wimmer, or a member of our staff to visit with you and your students. If there is anything, we can do to serve you or your program, please let us know.


- Dr. Frank Tracz








Successful Golf Tournament:

This past Saturday, the Kansas State University Marching Band hosted their 9th Annual Marching Pride Scholars Golf Tournament! The weather was beautiful, and the golf was excellent! At its completion, the event was a tremendous success with a total of more than 80 sponsors, 92 golfers, and $32,000 worth of scholarship funds, enough for 64 members. Thank you to those who supported/played the tournament!


Successful Summer Music Camp:

We just completed the 26th annual Summer Music Camp!!! Almost 200 students in grades 5-12 participated in three large concert bands, two jazz bands, and six small ensembles coordinated by Dr. Frank Tracz, Dr. Alex Wimmer, and 22 current and former K-State music students. Dr. Jay Gilbert, Director of Bands at Doane College in Crete, Nebraska, Dr. David Betancourt, Director of Bands at Cerritos College in Los Angeles, California, and Dr. Larry Blocher of Troy University in Troy, Alabama, were the guest conductors for the three large ensembles. The final piece on the concert was Stephen Melillo’s Those Who Served, where all students performed on stage.


Successful Leadership-Auxiliary Camp:

The K-State Bands hosted its annual Leadership and Auxiliary Camp from July 14–17. Almost 100 high school drum majors, section leaders, percussionists, and color guard members were on campus to learn drum major conducting, leadership skills, percussion techniques, and guard techniques. These students represented 42-high schools from Kansas and Missouri.

These students participated in a number of large and small group activities that helped strengthen their leadership skills, teamwork development, work ethic, approach to mindset, and fostering thriving a positive culture. The camp was process-driven with the goal that each student would come away with the knowledge and confidence necessary to become stronger leaders within their own band programs.

On Tuesday, Coach Snyder was the featured speaker and shared his ideas on leadership, the importance of goals, and the importance in individual expectations and the process to make impactful decisions. What an incredible experience the campers got with a Hall of Fame football coach!

The camp concluded with a performance on Wednesday, July 17 in All-Faiths Chapel. Each captain got a chance to demonstrate what they learned in the couple of days spent under the instruction of K-State band staff, graduate assistants, drum majors, Kansas State University Marching Band leadership, and Kansas music educators. Camp was open to all students currently in grades 9-12. They represented the finest high school student band leadership in Kansas and the surrounding states.


Busy First Week of the Semester:

The first week of weekend of the fall semester was a busy one for the K-State Band Program. It began with two performances August 29-30. This annual tradition for the ensemble not only helped bring back spirit to greater Manhattan area, but welcomed in a new era of student, athletes, and coaches. Thanks to the Manhattan Convention & Visitors Bureau and the City of Manhattan for making this Purple Powerplay possible!

On Friday August 30, the K-State Bands hosted its 3rd Annual All-Star Marching Band! A replacement for the infamous band day, 175 students from over 35 Kansas high schools were on campus learning a joint halftime show they performed individually and with the KSUMB. From 7:00-10:00pm Friday evening, these 175 students learned drill for their own performance of Sweet Child of Mine. They worked with Dr. Frank Tracz, band GTAs, and KSUMB leadership to put the music and drill together for a performance 24 hours later!

Saturday, August 31was the bi-annual Alumni Band Day! 150 alumni returned to campus to relive the glory days by rehearsing with the KSUMB Saturday afternoon and performing with KSUMB during pregame and halftime. Between the All-Star Marching Band, Alumni Band, and KSUMB, there were over 700 past, current, and future wildcats on the field (no better way to celebrate the first wildcat victory of the season)!

Saturday, August 31 the K-State bands hosted their annual Band Director Day! 36 Kansas Band Directors observed the KSUMB’s Saturday afternoon rehearsal, were treated to lunch, and got a seat to watch a Wildcat Victory versus Nichols State. A special thank you goes to Gene Taylor and everyone at K-State Athletics for making these events possible!

Band Scholarships Awarded:

This fall, the K-State Bands awarded $161,650.00 in scholarships to Marching Band and Concert Ensembles. All Marching Band Section Leaders, Drum Majors, and Staff are endowed, along with Marching Pride Scholars for juniors and seniors. Check out the band website for more details and how to donate to these scholarships (www.ksu.edu/bands).


Frank Tracz Receives Honorary Doctorate:

Frank Tracz, director of bands, was awarded an honorary doctorate in music from Doane University, a private four-year liberal arts institution in Crete, Nebraska.

The degree was presented to Tracz at the Wind Ensemble Concert last Wednesday evening by Bill Pallett, current Doane University Board trustee member and retired president of The Individual Development and Educational Assessment Center; Eugene Klingler, emeritus Doane University Board trustee member and former Manhattan mayor; and Jay Gilbert, Doane University professor of music and director of bands. The following letter was read during the degree presentation.


"Dear Dr. Frank Tracz, 


Doane University commends you on your amazing career, your many professional successes, and the positive influence you have had on bands and band music, throughout the United States and beyond. Your accomplishments are a testament to your aptitude, your attitude, and your perseverance. You have impacted countless students, faculty, and audiences throughout the world.


An important component of Doane’s mission is to “create distinctive educational experiences.” We believe you have made an important contribution to the success of our mission by freely sharing your time and talents with Doane students over the past 27 years. Since 1993, you have worked every year with our Bands – leading them in rehearsals, conducting them in concerts, and giving clinics to them about teaching and life. In 2014, you served as Doane’s Artist in Residence. Beyond Doane, you have also worked with dozens of Nebraska high schools, conducted the Nebraska All-State Band and the Nebraska Intercollegiate Band. These are just a few examples of your vital impact on our university, our community and our state. More importantly, you have served as an inspiration to students and directors, encouraging them to be great teachers and leaders, to tirelessly serve others, and to leave the world, better than you found it.


Therefore, it is with pleasure I inform you that, by the unanimous nomination of the Doane University Faculty, and with formal approval of our Board of Trustees, Doane University wishes to confer upon you an Honorary Doctorate in Music at our spring commencement ceremony in May."


Directors Activities:


Dr. Alex Wimmer, Assistant Director of Bands:

Adjudicator – Dodge City Marching Festival                                                                       2019

Adjudicator – LINKS Marching Invitational                                                                         2019

Clinician – Lincoln Northeast High School Marching Band                                                    2019

Clinician – Hiawatha High School Marching Band                                                                2019

Clinician – Derby High School Marching Band                                                                     2019

Clinician – Manhattan Catholic Schools                                                                              2019

Clinician – Maize High School Concert Band                                                                       2019

Clinician – Washburn Rural High School

Wind Ensemble, Symphonic Band, Concert Band, Lab A, Lab B                                            2019

Clinician – Hiawatha High School Concert Band                                                                  2019

Clinician – Rossville High School Concert Band                                                                   2019


Dr. Frank Tracz, Director of Bands:

Dr. Frank Tracz has guest conducted, been a clinician, and teacher for middle school, high school, and collegiate students throughout the country in 2019. He has conducted the California All-State Honor Band, Virginia All-State Honor Band, and the Cerritos College Honor Band (Los Angles, California). Dr. Tracz is also a Conn-Selmer Clinician and has taught/conducted in California, Virginia, Texas, Minnesota, Kentucky, Wyoming, Alabama, Missouri, Ohio, Oklahoma, Iowa, Nebraska, Michigan, Indiana, and Canada. As chairman of the Sulder Trophy Committee, he presented the 2019 Sudler Trophy for Outstanding Marching Band to the West Chester University Band (Philadelphia, PA) in September. 


February 20, 2019

Kansas State University at KMEA

Click here to see the Wind Symphony program.



October 19, 2018

The Kansas State University Marching Band performed at the Wichita East vs. Wichita West High School football game. The KSUMB split in half and performed with the East and West Bands during the game and all together at half-time! Miranda Wilson (left, Wichita East) and Joanna Freed (right, Wichita West) are both K-State alums and helped make this event possible!

freed_wilson_dt pic

August 19, 2018

Another successful Band Camp in the books! That did not stop Dr. Tracz from recruiting future Classy Cat and Color Guard (left) and future Band Members (right)!

Dr. Tracz Copeland Pic Dr. Tracz Vanglider Pic


July 27, 2018

Dr. Tracz enjoyed a spectacular meal at Nelson’s Landing with Jordy Nelson’s mom this weekend. He even took her this picture to hang on the wall! Thank you Nelson family for your support!!!


Dr. Tracz with Kim Nelson

June 6, 2018


Classy Cats hard at work this summer.