Top of the Nation Honor Band Festival

March 7 – 9, 2024

The Adams State University “Top of the Nation” Honor Band Festival is one of the longest running honor bands in Colorado, with a tradition dating back over 50 years. Membership is drawn from some of the finest high school instrumental musicians in Southwest Colorado. There are two ensembles to join: an auditioned group (Symphonic Winds) and a director-recommended (Concert Winds).

The festival is held over a three-day period, beginning on Thursday morning and culminating in a concert on Saturday afternoon.

Application and Audition Information

Application Deadline – January 11, 2024

for all applications to be fully considered for membership in either the auditioned Symphonic Winds ensemble or the director-recommended Concert Winds ensemble.

  • Audition Information
  • Registration

    Recorded Audition Procedures and Information for Band Directors

    If submitting an audition for the Wind Symphony ensemble, please follow these guidelines:

    1. All auditions must be submitted online and uploaded by January 11, 2024
    2.  Recordings must be in one of the following formats:
      a. mp3
      b. mp4
      c. wav
      d. maximum file size is 10 MB (10,000KB)
    3. State clearly the student’s name, instrument and identify which portion of the audition material the student is performing (i.e. A-flat Major Scale, Excerpt #1, etc.) before each audition.
      a. EX: James Lind, Trumpet, A-Flat Major Scale
    4. Include the student’s name, instrument, and portion of audition material in the file name that you upload.
      a. EX: Trumpet_James_Lind_Major_Scale (preferably in this order)
    5. Record each student’s audition in a practice room, with a minimal amount of activity happening outside of the practice room to avoid “sound bleed”.
    6. Audition material should be recorded and uploaded in the following order:
      a. Major scale
      b. Harmonic minor scale
      c. Full range chromatic scale
      d. Excerpt 1
      e. Excerpt 2 (if a second excerpt is listed)
    7. Audition results will be emailed to directors by January 26, 2024


While there is NOT a fee for registration and submitting auditions, there is a $35 non-refundable fee for all students who are accepted to the festival.  Please check to make sure that all students are available during the dates of the Honor Band festival.  Payments must be received by Friday, February 9, 2024.  You may mail your payments to:

Adams State University
Music Department
c/o Dr. James Lind
208 Edgemont Blvd
Alamosa, CO 81101

Guest Conductor of the Symphonic Winds

Dr. Andrew Trachsel

Dr. Andrew Trachsel

Andrew Trachsel serves as Professor of Wind Studies and Chair of the Division of Conducting and Ensembles at the University of North Texas College of Music. He is the conductor of the Wind Orchestra and teaches courses in graduate and undergraduate conducting, as well as the history and repertoire of the wind band. An advocate for new music, Trachsel has premiered, commissioned, or co-commissioned more than 80 new works over the past two decades. He is interested in developing innovative programming through interdisciplinarity, culminating in the establishment of the Ampersand festival to explore new opportunities for authentic collaboration between the contemporary wind band and other creatives.

Prior to this appointment, Trachsel served as Director of Bands and Associate Professor of Conducting at Ohio University for 11 years. He was the conductor of the Wind Symphony, music director for the “Under the Elms” Summer Concert Series, Division Chair of Conducting and Ensembles, and Assistant Director for Recruitment, for the School of Music. Under his artistic direction, the Ohio University Wind Symphony performed at numerous music conferences and venues, including the College Band Directors National Association, Ireland and Rome, and New York City’s famed Carnegie Hall. The Ohio University Wind Symphony released three commercial albums on the Mark Masters label, with multiple appearances on national syndicated radio and the Grammy Entry List.

In 2019 Trachsel was named series editor of GIA Publications’ landmark Teaching Music through Performance in Band series after serving for 15 years as the coordinator of research associates and as a contributor to 11 volumes. Trachsel is active internationally as a guest conductor, clinician, advocate, and recording producer, and holds professional or honorary memberships in a variety of music organizations at the state, national, and international levels. A native of Iowa, Trachsel received a bachelor of music education degree from Drake University, and a master of music and doctor of musical arts, both in conducting, from the University of North Texas, where he studied with Eugene Migliaro Corporon and Dennis Fisher. Prior to his appointment at Ohio University, Trachsel taught in the Hugh Hodgson School of Music at the University of Georgia as an assistant director of bands and postdoctoral fellow, and for four years served as a public high school band director in central Iowa.

Guest Conductor of the Concert Winds

Mr. Mark Emery

Mr. Mark Emery

Mark Emery grew up in Boulder, Colorado. Upon graduation from Fairview High School in 1977, he attended the University of Northern Colorado. In 1982 Mark began his teaching career in Haxtun, Colorado, then taught in Antonito, Colorado, spending one year at each school. In 1984, he was hired to teach band in Pueblo, Colorado at Pueblo County High School. While at “County,” Mark’s bands achieved consistent Superior Ratings in Concert and Jazz. Along with 25 finals appearances, his marching bands won six Colorado Bandmaster’s Association State Championships, and were runners up four times. Under Mr. Emery’s direction the band travelled to numerous out of state festivals, including Florida, New Mexico, and Hawaii. In 2007 the band marched in The St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Dublin, Ireland. In 2011 Mark retired from Pueblo County High School.

For 29 years, Mark has been the director of the Pueblo Sun City Middle School Marching Band, which is a summer all city/county marching band that travels throughout Colorado, representing Pueblo in parades and performances. Mark also conducts the Pueblo Municipal Band and the Arkansas Valley Community Band.

Since retirement, Mark enjoys adjudicating marching band and helping with the Colorado Bandmaster’s Association Regional and State Concert band festivals. He also owns Percussion Concepts, where he fabricates carts and stands for marching bands. In 2014 he was elected to the Colorado Bandmaster’s Association Hall of Fame, and in 2018 The Canon City Music and Blossom Festival Hall of Fame.
Mark thanks his wife Ellen for her many years of support. They have four wonderful children, Philip, Joe, Molly, and Katie, and four grandchildren.

If you have any additional questions, please contact:

Dr. James Lind
MUS-109 (719) 587-7059