Published on January 6, 2016  
Honor Band

Samford University’s School of the Arts is hosting about 350 students from 110 schools for the 10th annual Samford Honor Band Jan. 7–9. 

The program brings middle and high school musicians to campus for a variety of workshops and instruction sessions. Students go through an application and recommendation process before they are chosen to attend, according to Demondrae Thurman, Honor Band coordinator and Samford music professor. 

Many schools sending students are from Alabama, but there are students from Florida and Arkansas, as well. 

“The idea is for this to grow beyond the state of Alabama,” Thurman said. 

Beginning on Thursday, students will participate in workshops and instructional sessions taught by Samford professors, other college music academics, and prominent directors and teachers from around the state. 

The Honor Band program will culminate on Saturday with four concerts, two featuring middle school students and two with high school students. Thurman will lead one of the high school bands while Mark Norman, conductor of the University of Wisconsin—Milwaukee Wind Ensemble, will conduct the other. The middle school bands will be conducted by Jonathan Hill, director of bands at Red Bay (Alabama) High School, and Leigh Thomas, director of bands at Bob Jones High School, Madison, Alabama. 

The Honor Band also features a $2,500 scholarship to pursue a music degree at Samford. The recipient will be selected by Thurman and the audition faculty. 

“This experience is really gratifying,” Thurman said. “I want the students to sincerely love music. I also want them to love playing their instrument and understand its power.” 

The Honor Band concerts will take place on Saturday beginning at 2:30 p.m. in Samford’s Wright Center Concert Hall.

 
Samford is a leading Christian university offering undergraduate programs grounded in the liberal arts with an array of nationally recognized graduate and professional schools. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. The Wall Street Journal ranks Samford 1st nationally for student engagement and U.S. News & World Report ranks Samford 37th in the nation for best undergraduate teaching and 97th nationally for best value. Samford enrolls 5,758 students from 48 states and 22 countries in its 10 academic schools: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy and public health. Samford fields 17 athletic teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference, and ranks 3rd nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.