Join the Bands

Welcome to the Yale Bands! Whether you’re an incoming first-year or a veteran Yalie, we’re glad you’re interested. The three ensembles are comprised of more than 125 individuals. They make more than 60 appearances per year and are responsible for the entire heckelphone population of Connecticut. There is a place for everyone in the Yale Bands: the Yale Concert Band is for Yale’s finest classical wind players, the Yale Jazz Ensemble is a 17-piece “big band” that performs standards and contemporary charts, and the Yale Precision Marching Band 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 two or even all three 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. For the 2020-21 season, this meeting will take place on Monday, August 31, 2020„ from 6:30 to 7:30 pm in the Band Room, Room 301 of the recently renovated Hendrie Hall in the glorious Adams Center for Musical Arts.

You’ll have 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 a Yale Bands officer will answer any questions you may have. Feel free to email Thomas C. Duffy, Director, or Stephanie Hubbard, Business Manager, directly with any questions you may have.

Yale Concert Band

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 a 2011 concert in Carnegie Hall, in which the band premiered a French horn concerto and performed a Chinese cantata with a chorus of over 100 singers. 

Auditions for the 55-member Yale Concert Band will be held Tuesday, Aug. 27-Friday, Aug. 30. The audition consists of required prepared excerpts 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 (i.e. an All-State audition piece or comparable etude); be prepared to sightread as well.

The Yale Concert Band travels, too. Recent tours have taken the YCB to Ghana, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, South Africa, Mexico, Brazil, Bermuda, Ireland, Spain, Austria, the Czech Republic, Russia, Italy, Greece, Haiti, and Australia.

Yale Jazz Ensemble

The Yale Jazz Ensemble is a 17-piece “big band” that performs a wide variety of music, from Yale’s Benny Goodman archives to the newest, most progressive jazz compositions. The group has performed in the U.S. and internationally at such noted venues as New York’s Village Vanguard and Iridium Jazz Club, and London’s Ronnie Scott’s, and has played with or opened for the Mingus Big Band, the Mel Lewis Jazz Orchestra, the Toshiko Akiyoshi/Lew Tabackin Big Band, the World Saxophone Quartet, Jane Ira Bloom, Jimmy Owens, and Branford Marsalis. In 2017, the YJE was featured in the University’s two-day jazz festival, “Jazz: A Celebration of America’s Sound,” performing a full concert and clinics with Wayne Escoffery and Wynton Marsalis.  In the spring of 2018 and 2019, the YJE collaborated with the Harvard Jazz Band at Scullers Jazz Club in Boston (with each band taking a set and also combined), and this past April the band culminated its season with two near-sold-out performances at Dizzy’s Jazz Club at Lincoln Center, with Grammy Award-winners trumpeter Randy Brecker and saxophonist Wayne Escoffery.

Auditions will be held Saturday, August 31. The audition consists of required prepared excerpts that are available for download HERE (valid netID and password required), and sightreading (improv is optional).

Yale Precision Marching Band

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 Secretary of State/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 “Fauxditions” (the most stress-free auditions ever—we promise!) for the YPMB are held during the first week of the fall semester. But feel free to email the drum major, Jocelyn Dicent or any of the YPMB section leaders to join at any time. (And if you want to get a head start learning our fight songs, PDFs of instrumental parts are available here.)