University of Arizona

Wind Ensemble and Chamber Winds

Dr. Chad R. Nicholson, conductor

The UA Wind Ensemble and Chamber Winds represent a premiere group of brass, woodwind and percussion students dedicated to the highest possible level of performance. This ensemble includes numerous concerts, sectional rehearsals, recordings, and occasional tours. The Wind Ensemble performs premieres of new works along with challenging standard repertoire. Primarily comprised of advanced undergraduate and graduate music majors, the UA Wind Ensemble and Chamber Winds demand a high degree of preparation and musicianship.

The UA Wind Ensemble was recently featured at the 2018 College Band Directors National Association (CBDNA) Western/Northwestern Combined Divisions Conference, a tremendous honor at a conference representing the finest ensembles in a twelve-state region.

The UA Wind Ensemble and Chamber winds have collaborated with many artists and scholars on and off campus, including the Confucius Institute, the Flandrau Planetarium, David Maslanka, Aaron Jay Kernis, and Joan Tower.

Additional Information: The group is open to any university student by audition in the fall of each academic year. Students should expect to commit to preparation and sectional times in addition to class meetings. Please contact the for more information.

Course Number

MUS 200E/400E/500E


T,Th 2:00 – 3:50pm in Room 170

Wind Symphony

Professor Chad Shoopman, conductor

The UA Wind Symphony is a select group of brass, woodwind and percussion students who are dedicated to the performance of both the core wind band repertoire and the standard contemporary band literature.

Additional Information: The ensemble, which is primarily comprised of undergraduate music education majors, performs music from all periods and styles. The group is open to any university student by audition in the fall of each academic year.  Please contact for more information.

Course Number

MUS 200D/400D/500D


T,Th 4:00 – 5:50pm in Room 170

Symphonic Band

The UA Symphonic Band performs large ensemble works, including standard repertoire and popular musical settings for band. The group provides a positive musical outlet for all UA students, and it serves as an excellent place to reinforce skills for music education students.

Auditions are not required to enroll; however, students will complete a brief playing interview for part assignment. The ensemble is open to all students, regardless of major, and meets in both Fall and Spring semesters.

There is a great diversity of students in this ensemble, most of whom want to continue to play their instrument from high school.

There are instruments available to rent from the School of Music for $40.00 per semester and are based on availability.

Course Number

MUS 200C/400C/500C


Mon 7:00PM-9:30PM in Room 170

The Pride of Arizona

“The “Pride of Arizona” Marching Band along with the “Pride of Arizona” Pep Band exemplifies one of the finest and most storied athletic bands programs in the country. Representing The University of Arizona in Tucson, Arizona, the “Pride” has built its reputation on outstanding Performance(s), Respect for each other and the university, Integrity in all we do, Discipline of focus, and a relentless pursuit of Excellence. Our mission is to use the transformative power of music and the marching arts to entertain, educate, and elevate our students and audiences.

With over 250 members, the “Pride” includes a battery-unit drumline and award-winning auxiliary units of pom line dancers, baton twirlers and a flag and rifle color guard. Filled with a sense of tradition and enthusiasm, the “Pride of Arizona” provides UA students an opportunity to make great music, new friends, and support the Wildcat spirit while discovering their own individual excellence in a group endeavor.

The Pride of Arizona Bands are committed to the strategic vision of the University of Arizona in becoming a leading arts destination that fully embraces collaboration to fuel social impact, cultural development and economic growth in our community, our state, our nation, and worldwide.

Course Number

MUS 200B/400B/500B

More Information

Pep Band

The Pep Band is made up of 55 exceptional students who demonstrate the highest caliber of musicianship, commitment, and enthusiasm within the Athletic Bands. Membership in this elite group is attained through audition only. You must be a member of “Pride of Arizona” Marching Band to be eligible to audition for the Pep Band.

The Pep Band supports a variety of UA team sports as well as campus and community events. They are an integral part of NCAA tournament appearances for the teams, including Men’s Basketball, where they have performed at several National Championship Basketball games. The UA Pep Band is continually recognized through its numerous television appearances and live events as one of the best in the country.

The Pride of Arizona Bands are committed to the strategic vision of the University of Arizona in becoming a leading arts destination that fully embraces collaboration to fuel social impact, cultural development and economic growth in our community, our state, our nation, and worldwide.

More Information

UA High School Honor Band

The UA High School Honor Band offers students the opportunity to join with other musicians from across the western states to perform in concert on The University or Arizona campus.

Band Auditions

Auditions are required for placement into the Wind Ensemble, Wind Symphony, and Chamber Winds. You do not need to be a music major to schedule an audition. Auditions are not required for Symphonic Band.

Join the 2024 Sudler Trophy- winning Pride of Arizona Marching Band

Sign up is open for Marching Band. No audition necessary for wind instruments. Visit the Pride of Arizona site for information on joining the Pride of Arizona Marching Band and Pep Band.

2024 High School Honor Band

February 8 – 10, 2024

The University of Arizona High School Honor Band offers students & musicians from across the western states to perform in concert on The University or Arizona campus. Placement is based upon experience and playing ability.

History of the UA Bands

The University of Arizona Band Department is part of the School of Music in the College of Fine Arts. UA BANDS provide world-class musical opportunities for students of all majors and backgrounds. From the finest concert experiences to the thrills of marching with the 2024 Sudler Trophy winning Pride of Arizona for nearly 60,000 fans at Arizona Stadium, all students at the University of Arizona can find a musical home in our outstanding ensembles.

The band program started in 1902, shortly after the university’s founding. Started primarily as a military unit (ROTC), the band made its first appearance at a battalion parade in December of that same year. Early performances included concerts on the steps of Old Main and “pop” concerts in the community. After the ROTC split from the music program in 1920, new head of the Department of Music Orlee E. Weaver continued to build and expand the program. In 1923, student Douglas Holsclaw penned Fight! Wildcats! Fight!, one of the school’s fight songs, which is still used today. Dorothy Heighton Monro and her husband Elbert C. Monro followed up a few years later (1926), writing the school’s alma mater song All Hail, Arizona

The illustrious group of composers, conductors, educators, and musicians leading the University of Arizona band program continued to grow and flourish throughout the next three decades. Joseph DeLuca (1928-1935) wrote The University of Arizona March, dedicated to the institution. Noted musician Frank Simon (1956-1965) came to the UA having been a cornet soloist with the John Phillips Sousa band and principal trumpet with the NBC Orchestra, under Arturo Toscanini. He wrote the wind band piece Here Comes the Band in 1957 to express his gratitude to the institution, and later donated his entire music library to the school upon his retirement in 1965.

Jack K. Lee joined the University of Arizona in 1952 and was its longest-serving director to date. He helmed the marching band program from 1952-1980 and is best known for writing the school’s most recognizable fight song, Bear Down, Arizona. Lee was inspired by the story of John “Button” Salmon uttering those words in a final message to the football team and, upon seeing the slogan painted on top of Bear Down Gymnasium as he was on his flight leaving Tucson post-interview, he composed the piece.

One of the marching band highlights of the Lee era came in 1967 when the band performed for the first Super Bowl. With just under a month’s notice, and working through its winter break, the band created a show that incorporated music, movement, and theatrics, laying the foundation for the halftime spectacle. 

James Keene’s appointment as Director of Bands in 1980 brought a new energy to the music program with his innovative approach to marching band, concert band, and wind ensemble. The marching band adopted “The Pride of Arizona” moniker, a name by which it is still known. Growing the concert band portion of the department was a top priority. He shaped the Wind Ensemble to a smaller ensemble that honors the strict instrumentation of composers, meaning that the size of the group varies according to the repertoire. The Symphonic Band focused on pieces for larger ensembles and played more standard repertoire. 

The program continued to develop over the decade, and the 1990 addition of Greg I. Hanson ushered in a new era for the band department. As Director of Bands, Hanson brought more than two decades of experience to the Wind Ensemble and Chamber Winds. During his 26 year-long tenure at the university, the band program achieved international recognition with the release of recordings of renowned composer David Maslanka. In 2001, the wind ensemble was one of only two groups from the U.S. chosen to perform at the World Association of Symphonic Bands and Ensembles Conference in Lucerne, Switzerland. On the marching band side, Jay Rees initially joined the program as a Graduate Teaching Assistant in 1994 and took over the program in 1995. Rees modernized musical selections and drove the group’s reputation as “The World’s First Alternative Music Marching Band”. In the years 2009 and 2015, the marching band was recognized by the College Band National Directors Association as one of the best college marching bands in the nation. 

Currently, the band department is under the direction of Dr. Chad Nicholson and Professor Chad Shoopman. Dr. Nicholson, Director of Bands and Professor of Music, oversees the Wind Ensemble and Chamber Winds in addition to working closely with graduate conducting students. Professor Shoopman is Director of Athletic Bands, Associate Director of Bands, and Associate Professor of Music.