June 25, 2017

2016 Auditions

SMB Nike Add 600

Who can Audition?

The Spartan Marching Band is open to all university students by audition only. You must be accepted to Michigan State University in order to audition. You do not need to be a music major to qualify for the Spartan Marching Band (SMB). Approximately 10% of the SMB population studies music, while the other 90% come from all other colleges and majors in the University.

Directions and Audition Appointments

To confirm audition participation (required) and get directions to campus, contact Charlene Wagner, Band Secretary at (517) 355-7654, or email her at reha@music.msu.edu.


More questions about the audition process? Be sure to visit the SMB audition FAQ page.

You may also e-mail the Director of the Spartan Marching Band, Professor John Madden at madden@msu.edu with any questions related to Spartan Marching Band auditions.


There is one scheduled audition day for instrumentalists interested in membership in the SMB:

  • Saturday, June 11, 2016
  • Start time: 9:00 am meeting, Music Building, room 120
  • 9:30 am audition times begin
  • Lunch on your own
  • 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm, Marching Audition – location TBA
  • 3:00 pm: audition day concludes

What to Expect

The instrumental audition should consist of one prepared solo piece or etude involving contrasting styles (3 to 5 minutes in length). A piece that you might perform at a “Solo and Ensemble Festival” would be appropriate. You do not need an accompanist. This piece does not need to be memorized.

Please also prepare the following major scales; C, F, B flat, E flat, A flat, G, D, A, E. Perform these scales by memory.

There will be brief sight-reading at the live audition.

Wear appropriate “work out” type clothing for the marching audition, including proper footwear (running shoes, sneakers, etc.). No sandals. Wear comfortable, not formal, clothing for your “playing” audition. You will have time to change clothes for the marching audition.

Video Auditions

Those who can’t be on campus for the June 11 audition day may submit a “video audition.” However, it is highly recommended to attend the audition day. Video must be uploaded to a YouTube or vimeo format. Email the video link to madden@msu.edu with the subject line; SMB Video Audition 2016.

The video audition must contain:

  • Solo piece from beginning to end (may be video of recent solo and ensemble performance with accompanist, or other solo performance).
  • If making a solo performance video, accompaniment is not required, but is welcomed.
  • All scales listed above from memory.
  • Display of marching technique on a football field – 10 yards of forward march “8 to 5” and 5 yards of backwards march “8 to 5.” IPhone video is fine here.
  • Introduction of yourself.
  • Email with video link(s) must contain name, address, phone, and on-campus housing assignment (if known).

Brass and Saxophone Music Majors:

If you plan to be a music-major, your MSU College of Music audition will satisfy for automatic membership in the Spartan Marching Band. These music majors will receive an invitation letter from the Marching Band Office in early May. If you would like to participate in the SMB as a music major, simply fill out the form in the early May mailing and return it to the MSU Band office. You will then be included in our July mailing for all new SMB members.

Percussion Music Majors:

Percussion music majors must audition for the Drumline separately (see below).

Flute, Clarinet, Oboe and Bassoon Music Majors

Flute, Clarinet, Oboe, and Bassoon music education majors typically perform on alto or tenor saxophone in the SMB. If you are interested in participating in the SMB, you must audition on your preferred “marching” instrument on June 11th or by video as described above.


2016 MSU Drumline auditions will be held on April 23 and May 7, from 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM. More information can be found on the drumline website.

Questions about drumline auditions should be directed to Professor Jon Weber, MSU drumline instructor.

Color Guard

On Campus Auditions

The SMBCG will hold one (1) audition day for the 2016 SMB season. All prospective members will experience a morning group class in movement and flag that includes fundamentals along with choreography. After lunch, there will be a brief review and then the audition will proceed in small groups.

Date: 6/11/16
Location: Band Hall in Demonstration Hall.
Time: 8:30 am – 5:00 pm

What to wear:
Please wear darker clothes that you move well in and are able to properly show your skills.
Ladies, a hair tie is expected to keep your hair out of your face.

What to bring:
Water, gloves and a great attitude! We will provide all equipment.

What we are looking for:
We are looking at grace, poise, attention to detail, athleticism, connection of body with equipment, quick adaptability to style + technique, strong performance, strength, consistency, attitude.
The desirable candidate will have all of the above attributes or the right mix along with a strong desire/passion to improve and grow into the skill set necessary to succeed at Color Guard at MSU.

Video Auditions

Those who are unable to attend auditions with a reason deemed acceptable by the SMBCG instructor or SMB Director are able to submit a video with that demonstrates the following requirements:

  • Movement: 60 second routine that demonstrates basic knowledge of movement fundamentals including moving across the floor
  • Flag:
        o Drop spins
        o Peggy spins
        o Thumb flips
        o Pull hits
        o Pop, Pole (crank), Prayer, Wind-­up, 45 tosses
        o 60 second routines

    To submit, please upload to Youtube and mark as ‘unlisted’. Send unlisted link to eichlerp26@gmail.com

    Deadline: Friday 6/10/16 @ Midnight. This deadline is non-negotiable. We will not accept late submissions.


    Please feel free to reach out to any of the following people with questions:

    John Madden, Director of SMB: madden@msu.edu
    Peter Eichler, Instructor of SMBCG: eichlerp26@gmail.com
    Krystle Forbes, Assistant Instructor of SMBCG: forbes.krystle@gmail.com
    Charlene Wagner, Band Administrative Assistant: reha@msu.edu

    Big Ten Flags

    The Big Ten auditions will be Saturday, May 14 from 12:00 PM to 5:00 PM at Demonstration Hall.

    Any questions should be directed to Megan Garrod (meggarrod2@gmail.com).

  • SMB to Perform at the 2015 Cotton Bowl on December 31

    2015 cotton bowl faceoff 2

    2015 Big Ten champion Michigan State will face #2 Alabama in the Cotton Bowl on December 31. The SMB will be making the trip to help support the Spartan Nation in Dallas. Game time is 8:00 PM Eastern. For more information, please visit http://cottonbowl.com/.

    SMB Cotton Bowl Itinerary

    Wednesday, December 30, 2015
    9:00 am Depart for practice
    9:30 am Arrive: Lamar HS
    9:45 am Practice (3 hours)
    12:45 PM Practice ends
    1:45 PM Depart for “Battle of the Bands” – Klyde Warren Park
    2:30 PM Arrive
    3:00 PM Event starts
    3:45 PM Ends

    Thursday, December 31, 2015 – game day
    11:00 am Depart for practice
    11:30 am Arrive: Lamar HS
    12:00 PM Practice (2 hours 30 minutes)
    2:30 PM Practice ends
    4:00 PM Depart Lamar HS for AT&T Stadium – in uniform
    4:15 PM Arrive at Stadium Parking Location – warm up
    5:00 PM Perform at Pregame Pep Rally – near stadium
    7:00 PM Kick-off vs. Alabama

    riday, January 1, 2016
    12:30 pm Charter flights home

    Thanks to our 2015 Section Sponsors!

    SMB 2015 Color Guard 920x425

    The Spartan Marching Band would like to recognize the following donors for their Section Sponsorship for the 2015 season. Because of their generosity we were able to once again have a memorable Spartan Marching Band season!

    Alto Sax
    Jannifer Stromberg
    Rick & Carrie Germain

    Chris & Lynn Huismann
    Alton and Millie Wendzel
    Dr. Gregory A. Holzhei

    Merritt and Candy Lutz
    John & Marie Black
    Gary & Judy Watson

    Big 10 Flags
    Eloy Trevino

    Drum Major and Twirlers
    Scott Westerman

    Color Guard
    Harry & Ruth Ann Brunet

    Craig and Lisa Murray

    Tenor Sax
    Spartan Tenor Alumni

    Fond Family Memories of the SMB Inspires Giving


    Mary Lee Campbell attended MSU in the late 1960s. But one of her fondest memories of campus happened long before she went to college, and was instilled by her father’s love of the MSU Spartan Marching Band.

    Throughout her childhood, Campbell traveled from her home in Midland, Mich., with her mother and father, Agatha and Harper Lee Camp, and brother to attend MSU football games. Arriving in East Lansing, they would eat lunch at the MSU Union cafeteria, watch the MSU band warm up, and follow the band as it marched into Spartan Stadium.

    “To this day, I stand by Sparty and watch the band march in whenever I go to a game,” says Campbell. “Doing something for the MSU Spartan Marching Band was the first thing that came to mind when my father passed away. He loved it so.” In early 2014, Campbell, her husband John Campbell, and her brother Dr. Herbert Camp established the Harper L. Camp Scholarship for the Spartan Marching Band.

    The scholarship, she says, is a tribute to her late father and his love of music and marching bands. Harper was an avid supporter of MSU, the Spartan Marching Band, and a founding member of the John A. Hannah Society at MSU. He was also an alum of the Spartan Marching Band, having played in the then-military style band before graduating with his degree in chemical engineering in 1939.

    The scholarship, explains Campbell, is open to any member of the Spartan Marching Band, with a strong preference for students from Midland County, since her father was a lifelong resident of Midland. The scholarship will be awarded each academic year, and can be renewed based on need. Spartan Marching Band member and criminal justice major Stephanie Ann Janowiak from Tawas, Mich., is the first recipient of the new scholarship.

    See the full article here: http://www.music.msu.edu/news/fond-family-memories-of-smb-inspires-giving

    The Art of the March: Cues from Sun Tzu’s “The Art of War”


    The College of Music was at the center of an uncanny union of high art, athletics and mass entertainment as the Spartan Marching Band performed its most complex, largest half-time show ever at Spartan Stadium in mid-November.

    For 12 minutes, Spartan Stadium became an amazing display of colors, lights and sounds under the direction of Jennifer Wen Ma—the New York- and Beijing-based artist who led the creative team for the 2008 Beijing Olympics opening and closing ceremonies.

    Ma’s multimedia half-time show, “The Art of the March: Cues from Sun Tzu’s ‘The Art of War’” featured the 300-member Spartan Marching Band, 300 additional performers, and the ‘artwork’ of 1,500 audience members whose ‘card stunts’ formed paintings that displayed on the stadium’s Jumbotron.

    While the show engaged the entire MSU community, the show particularly resonated with international students, including Luyi Han—the first student from China to be part of MSU’s Marching Band. A fifth-year student studying supply chain management, the trombonist from Shanghai says it’s special to be the first Chinese band member, but that being in the band is by far, the greater honor. “This event was a big touch for me culturally, both because I’m a Chinese international student and it’s the last big show I did with the band,” says Han. “MSU is becoming so globally recognized and doing such a great job with international students. The half-time show was a terrific platform to celebrate and fuse all the different cultures we have here.”

    Director of the Spartan Marching Band John Madden remarked that Jennifer Wen Ma worked extensively with band members and visual staff to create an exciting, complex event that engaged audience in an entirely new way.

    For the full article, see: http://www.music.msu.edu/news/the-art-of-the-march

    MSU Alumnus Leads Walled Lake Central Marching Band in Macy’s Day Parade


    A marching band directed by an alumnus of the MSU College of Music was one of just six high school bands selected to march in the 2015 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City. David Rogers (B.A. ’95, M.A. ’02) led the Walled Lake Central High School band in the fabled parade that is seen by more than 3.5 million live spectators and more than 50 million TV viewers.

    The 192-member Viking Marching Band was selected from 175 applicants and was the only band from Michigan. “The Macy’s parade is one of the biggies like the Rose Parade,” Rogers says. “It was the experience of a lifetime. I couldn’t be prouder of the community for helping us get there and for our kids to rising to the occasion.”

    Rogers says he was equally proud to be representing the high school as well as the entire state of Michigan. He shouted out to his alma mater, citing MSU Director of Spartan Marching Band John Madden, retired Professor Emeritus and retired Director of MSU Bands John Whitwell, and former faculty member and Associate Professor of Horn Janine Gaboury as major forces who helped shape his career.

    “Without the kind of support and pushing and faith placed in me by MSU, I don’t know where I’d be today,” says Rogers. “MSU was the cornerstone of my growth and is a big part of who I am.” Rogers holds both a master’s and bachelor’s degree from MSU where he studied music education and wind conducting, marched in the Spartan Marching Band, and served as a graduate assistant to the University bands.

    He has been the director of bands at Walled Lake Central High School since 1995, and took a one-year leave in 2000 to pursue his master’s degree in music wind conducting from MSU. Rogers oversees the entire Walled Lake Central High School band program, including three concert bands, a jazz ensemble, chamber ensembles, two winter drumlines, two winter guards, and the Viking Marching Band.

    See the full article here: http://www.music.msu.edu/news/alumnus-leads-high-school-marching-band-in-macys-day-parade

    Next Game – October 17 – MSU vs. Michigan (Away)

    msu vs. cmu

    Visit the official Michigan State Athletics site for the latest game day info: http://www.msuspartans.com/sports/m-footbl/sched/msu-m-footbl-sched.html

    Alumni raise funds to provide jackets for new SMB members

    SMB Band Jacket

    When Greg Pell attended Michigan State University in the 1960s, he paid his way through college by working one or more part-time jobs. But after taking care of his tuition and bills, Pell says he had little left for extras — including the jacket that symbolized his membership in the MSU Spartan Marching Band. Today, Pell is on a quest to ensure that no incoming band freshman will ever have to worry about how they will afford their jacket.

    It’s a cause that the incoming president of the MSU Alumni Band takes seriously. And it’s evident others do too, based on the response to the fundraising campaign he helped set up through a popular charitable giving mechanism at MSU. “Students earn and deserve that jacket,” Pell says. “Being in the band has always been about history, tradition and a commitment to excellence—something you can feel privileged to have been allowed to be a part of.” Pell is not alone in his thinking.

    Men’s Basketball Coach Tom Izzo and his wife Lupe are the principal and lead donors who support the Spartan Marching Band’s effort to provide the coveted band jacket to incoming members. Their generous support over the last four years provided funding to partially or fully cover costs of new members jackets from 2011-2014.

    “College marching bands are one of the things that make college athletics unique, and at Michigan State we are fortunate to have one of the very best in the country,” says Tom Izzo. “I’ve always been impressed by the hard work and hours put in by the band members and the pride they take in their performance. As a coach, I can really appreciate their dedication to their craft. So when the opportunity arose to assist them with funding for their jackets, it was really a no-brainer for me.”

    See the full article here: http://www.music.msu.edu/news/adorning-smb-members-with-jackets

    Meet our New Grad Assistants, Brandon Hults and Daniel Kirk

    New Grad Assistants_640px

    Pictured from left to right: Brandon Hults, Daniel Kirk

    Meet our new graduate assistants: Brandon and Daniel! This duo has been a strong addition to our staff and the band has truly enjoyed having them around.

    Brandon Hults

  • Hometown? Morehead City, North Carolina
  • Education? Undergrad East Carolina University and Master’s at University of Arkansas
  • Why MSU? I visited campus for the 2013 Conducting Symposium to begin my search of schools for doctoral programs. Dr. Sedatole asked about my future plans that Wednesday, we talked timeline, and he offered me a place in his studio at the end of the week! I was ecstatic, as MSU was at the top of my list. I love everything about the history, people, and music making here, so I was more than happy to become a Spartan.
  • Favorite experience so far? There have been so many great ones so far! If I have to choose, I would have to say that the Freshman Series night is definitely among the top. The definition of “Band Family” comes to life that night. The mentoring, encouragement, and act of simply being present to support new members on the beginning of their journey in the organization is amazing. Singing “Shadows” at the end of the night as one group tops the experience. It is definitely a special tradition, unique to MSU, that only marching Spartans can share as their own.

    Daniel Kirk

  • Hometown? Emporia, Kansas
  • Education? Undergrad at Missouri Western State University and Master’s at Northwestern University
  • Why MSU? I’d love to teach at a school like MSU some day! To learn from Dr. Sedatole in a musical, traditional-filled environment like the one here at MSU is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
  • Favorite experience so far? My favorite experience so far was the Freshmen Dress rehearsal at the end of Preseason. Witnessing the support of the veteran band members, the pride exhibited of the newcomers, and camaraderie amongst the band members (new and old!) was a perfect example of a caring band family!
  • 2015 MSU Homecoming Parade – Friday, October 2


    The 2015 MSU Homecoming Parade will begin at 6:00 p.m. on Friday, October 2, 2015. Online registration for the parade will be available on Monday, August 17, 2015.

    Parade Route: The parade begins at the intersection of Abbot Road and Burcham Drive, travels south on Abbot Road, east on Grand River, south at Collingwood, south on Farm Lane and concludes at the corner of Farm and Shaw lanes.

    For more information about the parade, please visit http://alumni.msu.edu/programs/homecoming/paradeInfo.cfm.

    For more information about Alumni Band participation, please contact Jack Nelson at jacknelson55@yahoo.com or 517-655-3627. You can ride the flat bed truck or walk alongside. All are welcome!