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Kansas State Bands

2019 - 2020

March 6, 2019

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 Ensemble 2018


Diane KoutsulisRon Hufstader

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                                                               2019

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.