(PUEBLO, Colo.) — Colorado State University (CSU) Pueblo welcomed the 15th annual Festival of the Winds on Thursday, Feb. 9.

The festival goes for three days through Saturday, Feb. 11. Over 350 high school students from across the state join the festival by invitation only. Band directors in Colorado can nominate up to 15 of their students with a minimum of two getting guaranteed placement. In the 2023 festival, 46 high schools will be represented by participants.

“The highly-accomplished faculty in our music department have established our university as a leader in music education and performance not only in the state, but across the Southwestern United States,” CSU Pueblo President Dr. Timothy Mottet said.

Students audition on the first day of the festival to determine their final band and chair placements. “Aspiring musicians also participate in master classes and small group rehearsals with CSU Pueblo’s instrumental faculty,” CSU Pueblo said.

The climax of the festival takes place on Saturday night with two performances from two wind orchestras and two symphonic bands.

Mottet said, “The department is able to recruit top-tier students and provide opportunities for all majors to engage with the marching band, wind ensembles, choral groups and major events like Festival of Winds. Music brings people together in a way that no other medium can and enhances the total student experience. Non-majors who participate in opportunities within the music department are able to draw from their experiences and bring inspiration to other majors.”

The band directors that attend the festival get to partake in master classes, meet the composer sessions, and can earn graduate credit through CSU Pueblo’s division of Extended Studies. The honor band conductors include Dr. Emily Moss, Dr. Douglas Stotter, Dr. Lauren Reynolds, and Dr. Karen Gregg, who will direct the two wind orchestras and two symphonic bands.

  • Dr. Moss serves as the director of bands at California State University in Los Angeles where she conducts the wind ensemble and symphonic band.
  • Dr. Stotter is the director of bands at the University of Texas at Arlington and conducts the wind symphony and teaches conducting and wind literature courses.
  • Dr. Reynolds is an associate professor of music and director of concert bands at the University of Delaware School of Music where she conducts the University of Delaware Wind Ensemble.
  • Dr. Gregg has served as the director of bands at Lyons Middle Senior High School for two decades. She has directed four bands at the school, including two middle school bands, High School Concert Band and the High School Jazz Band.

“Festival of Winds is an opportunity to showcase our campus and highlight all that our campus has to offer to prospective students,” Vice President of Enrollment Management and Extended Studies Dr. Kristyn White Davis said. “We are excited to host over 300 students, their families and respective band directors to campus and share our passion for music and show them what they can accomplish by pursuing their higher-education dream at CSU Pueblo.”

Thursday night featured the Fourth Infantry Division Band commanded by Chief Warrant Officer II Michael J. Becker. The public is invited to attend more performances throughout the festival.

“Festival of Winds started with one honor band in 2009, and now it has grown into one of the largest events for high school music students and band directors in Colorado,” Festival Founder and Director Dr. Alan Mills said. “We are proud to provide an opportunity for musicians to gather together, learn from each other, and celebrate our respective appreciation and admiration for music.”

The public is invited to attend the Honor Band Finale concert at Memorial Hall Saturday, Feb. 11 at 4 p.m. Adults cost $10 for general admission and children under 5-years-old are free of charge.