Join the Bands

Welcome to the Yale Bands! Whether you’re an incoming freshman or a veteran Yalie, we’re glad you’re interested. The two ensembles are comprised of more than 110 individuals. They make more than 55 appearances per year and are responsible for the entire heckelphone population of Connecticut. There is a place for everyone in the Yale Bands: the Concert Band is for Yale’s finest classical wind players and the YPMB wants to assemble the most fun, spirited group (with room for musicians and non-musicians alike) ever to set foot in New Haven. There is crossover between the ensembles, as some people play in both bands. The Yale Bands and their members are very important in Yale’s musical world in general. You can hardly find a group of musicians on campus – chamber orchestras, woodwind or brass quintets, pit orchestras, saxophone quartets, theory & composition seminars, music history classes, or even rock bands and choruses – that isn’t touched by the members of the Yale University Bands.

Want to get in on the action?

Each year during the first week of school, we hold our Yale Bands Information Meeting. This year’s meeting is Monday, August 29, from 6:30 to 7:30 pm in Woolsey Hall.

You get a chance to meet current members and leaders from all three Yale Bands and hear what they have to say about us and what we do. Until then, you can fill out the online information card, and Yale Bands Officers, John McNamara, the YPMB Drum Major, or Catherine Lacy, YCB President, will answer any questions you may have. Also, feel free to email Thomas C. Duffy, Director, or Stephanie Hubbard, Business Manager, directly.



The Yale Concert Band, the musical center for the woodwind and brass world at Yale University, is best known for its varied repertoire, which spans from traditional marches, world premieres, and crowd favorites to the music of Glenn Miller and theatrical pieces (involving black lights, a fog machine, sunglasses and the biggest clarinet you’ve ever seen). Recent successes for the ensemble include the sold-out performance of our recreation of the Glenn Miller Band in Woolsey Hall, and recently a concert in Carnegie Hall, in which the band premiered a Horn Concerto and performed a Chinese cantata with a chorus of over a 100 singers (February 2011).

Auditions for the 60-member Yale Concert Band are held during the first week of the fall semester. The audition consists of required prepared excerpts which are available for download here (valid netID and password required), as well as as a prepared piece of music of your choosing which demonstrates your artistic and technical abilities (ie: an All-State audition piece or comparable etude); and be prepared to sightread as well.

The Yale Concert Band travels, too. Recent tours have taken the YCB to Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, South Africa, Mexico, Brazil, Bermuda, Ireland, Spain, North Africa, Vienna, Salzburg, Prague, and St. Petersburg. The Yale Concert Band most recently completed a tour of Ghana in Summer 2014. Plans for a Spring 2016 international tour are underway.


Imagine, if you will, this scene: a warm spring evening, midnight, in the middle of hahvahd Yard. The calm of the evening – the night before finals – is suddenly shattered by a group of rampaging musicians. To both smiles and water-balloon fire, at the foot of the John Harvard statue these bandies treat Cambridge to “Bulldog” and “Smells Like Teen Spirit.”

The Yale Precision Marching Band, called “the Edsel of marching bands” by the New York Times, is nothing like your high school band. In fact, we’re probably the polar opposite. Schooled in the ancient arts of feng schwee (the placement of buttons on one’s band blazer to channel favorable forces) and shattering concrete with sheer musical volume, we are nothing if not a force to be reckoned with. The fall season finds us at the Yale Bowl most weekends, combining musical prowess with wildly entertaining halftime shows to cheer on our beloved Bulldogs. Come winter, the YPMB shows off its rocking tunes at Yale’s hockey and basketball games. Occasionally we surface at stranger venues, from fencing to swimming, baseball and track and field. No gig is too small to be infused with that extra dose of Yale spirit. Athletic events are standard fare, but you never know where the YPMB might show up. Our travels have taken us to play for former First Lady Hillary Clinton on the steps of City Hall, to New York for the annual Greenwich Village Halloween parade (in full costume, natch), Giants Stadium, Chicago’s Soldier Field, Madison Square Garden, the Olympic arena in Lake Placid, NY, and even to San Diego, CA. If you want to contribute and you have a pulse, you’ve passed muster - we have musicians of all degrees, student arrangers (how else do you think we got “Basket Case”), script writers, props wizards and more. We’re looking forward to our part in a great season with the football team, the hockey team, and the many other wonders that go with being “A Member Of…” World domination can’t be far away.

Registration and “Auditions” for the YPMB are held during the first week of the fall semester. But feel free to email the drum major, John McNamara, or any of the YPMB section leaders to join at any time.