The Wind Symphony, under the direction of Stephen Bolstad, is the premier wind and percussion ensemble at James Madison University consisting of a select group of 50-60 performers. They have performed at the College Band Directors National Association and the National Band Association conventions in New Orleans in 1988, Charlotte in 1992, Williamsburg in 1994 and Greensboro in 1999. They have performed at numerous Virginia Music Educators Conferences and in 1987 at the Kennedy Center. The Wind Symphony has recorded for Kjos, CPP/Belwin, Warner Brothers, and C. L. Barnhouse publishing companies. As a part of School of Music’s annual Contemporary Music Festival, they have worked with composers of the like of Karel Husa, Joseph Schnwanter, Donald Erb, John Harbison, Francis McBeth, Mark Camphouse, David Maslanka, and Samuel Adler. Graduates of the Wind Symphony hold major positions in several of the Washington-based military bands, post bands and major symphony orchestras throughout the world, in addition to those serving as noted teachers and conductors. Auditions are open to any JMU student and they occur the day before school starts each semester.
The JMU Symphonic Band is a select group of brass, woodwind and percussion students who are dedicated to the performance of both traditional and contemporary band literature. The ensemble performs music of all periods and is open to any university student by audition.
The Concert Band is open to all students at JMU. Each semester, this ensemble presents several concerts featuring literature of different genres. There is no audition required for membership, although chair placements will be done at the beginning of each semester. The Concert Band meets during both the fall and spring semesters.
The University Band is open to all students at JMU and is offered each spring. This ensemble presents several concerts featuring literature of different genres. There is no audition required for membership, although chair placements will be done at the beginning of each semester.
James Madison University Marching Royal Dukes
The Marching Royal Dukes have been featured on the Columbia Pictures Publications Marching Band Album and in 1988 and 1991 were the guest exhibition band for the Bands of America Grand National Championship. The Marching Royal Dukes won the Sudler Trophy – the Heisman Trophy of college marching bands – in 1994, and they were featured in a full-length article in USA Today regarding their selection. Further acclaim has come from the band’s participation in President Clinton’s 1997 inaugural parade, President Bush’s inaugural in 2001 and from its first European tour, highlighted by a performance at Monaco’s 700th-anniversary celebration and their performance in Athens, Greece in December 2000. Membership is open to all JMU students.
JMU Pep Band
As one of the most visible athletic bands at JMU, the Basketball Pep Band has twice been selected by Eastern Basketball Magazine as the Best Pep Band in the East. With a membership selected from among the active members of the Marching Royal Dukes, this exciting group performs at all home men’s and women’s basketball games, travels to the CAA as well as post-season tournaments, and has been a crowd favorite at these events.