The Minnesota Band Directors Association sponsors two honor bands annually, one comprised of students in grades 6, 7 and 8, and another comprised of students in grades 9 and 10. The MBDA Honor Bands provide the opportunity for select students from across the state of Minnesota to immerse themselves in an invigorating environment of music-making under the direction of a distinguished guest conductor.
Interested students apply by completing an application and submitting a recorded audition. A committee of qualified adjudicators scores each audition tape against an agreed upon set of standards, ensuring that a consistent standard of excellence is used in assessing each applicant.


State Honor Bands

State Selection Process

Students in grades 6-10 must be members of the school band program during the year of audition and have directors who are presently paid members of MBDA. Recordings will not be listened to if MBDA membership is not current as of November 1st. Students are selected based on a recorded audition. These auditions are evaluated by qualified music educators. While there is an emphasis on selecting the highest scoring students, each school is limited to no more than eight (8) students per band (typically each MBDA Honor Band consists of  approximately 80 students). Instrumentation is determined by the needs of the guest conductor and by the musical demands of the selected literature. The ranking given to the student by the school director is consulted only when the audition score, instrumentation, and school participant limit are in conflict. It is the intent of MBDA to represent as many schools across the state as possible while functioning within the stated guidelines.

Participation in the MBDA Honor Bands is earned by:

  • A successful audition; and
  • A commitment to attend all scheduled Honor Band Activities.


  • Any participant who is absent from a scheduled Honor Band activity (ie: rehearsal, sectional, meal, break time, etc.) other than in a case of severe illness or unforeseen emergency, shall forfeit their place in the Honor Band and be asked to hand in their folder before being dismissed.
  • Advance notice of irresolvable conflicts will allow another student to be placed from the list of alternates. Participants must resolve all outside conflicts and commit to all Honor Band activities.
  • Participants who forfeit their place may be denied consideration for MBDA Honor Bands in future years.

2016-17 State Honor Band Audition Materials

Band Directors:  To obtain 2016-17 audition materials, please log into your MBDA account and visit the left hand navigation--members area.  The last item in that menu is Audition Materials 2016-17.    Access to this item is granted to members in good standing - members who have paid membership dues for the current year following July 1st.  You must be a current member of MBDA to obtain these documents.  Remember - membership must be current as of Nov. 1, 2016 for students to be considered for the MBDA state honor band. 

Questions about Honor Band auditions should be directed to a MBDA State Honor Band Co-Chairs, Peter Gepson and Rachel Miller

All auditions will be submitted online for the 2016-2017 MBDA State Honor Bands. The window for submitting auditions online is November 28-December 5, 2016.

The 2016-17 MBDA Honor Band is an opportunity for talented young musicians from across Minnesota to join together in the performance of quality concert band literature. Both the rehearsals and performance will take place at Chanhassen High School at 2200 Lyman Boulevard in Chanhassen, MN 55317. The band will rehearse from approximately 8:30am to 8:00pm on Saturday, April 22 and rehearse starting at approximately 12:00pm and perform a concert on Sunday, April 23, 2017 at 2:00pm.
Exact times will be provided upon acceptance. Please have students check their calendars BEFORE submitting auditions as attendance at all rehearsals is mandatory.

2016-17 State Honor Band Directors:

John Lace - grades 6-8

John Lace

James Patrick Miller - Grades 9-10

james patrick miller 




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