Great Lakes Concert Band Festival - Friday, April 12, 2024

The Great Lakes Concert Band Festival at Eastern Michigan University offers concert bands an opportunity to showcase their musicianship in a non-competitive environment focused on learning, exploring, and sharing. Void of ratings, scores, or rankings, GLCBF is committed to providing a unique and memorable experience for students in concert bands of all levels and sizes—middle school through high school. 

Participating bands will have the opportunity to perform free of repertoire restrictions for an audience of their peers, friends, families, and a panel of nationally recognized conductors/music educators. In addition to performing in beautiful and historic Pease Auditorium on the campus of EMU, each band will receive a performance video recording, adjudicator recorded comments and a 30-min. educational clinic, and enjoy performances by other ensembles, including the EMU Wind Symphony. An added feature of the Great Lakes Festival is that directors may elect to also receive personal video commentary containing tips and conducting suggestions for their individual professional growth.

JOIN US for an unforgettable experience! REGISTER by October 30 to reserve your spot.

The Great Lakes Festival is the only Music For All affiliate regional festival in Michigan. Located in southeast part of the state, Eastern Michigan University is in an ideal location for programs throughout Michigan, northwest Ohio, and eastern Indiana. As a Music For All festival, participating school ensembles will benefit from attending performances of at least two other peer ensembles during the day, as well as the featured concert by the EMU Wind Symphony.

One of our missions at EMU, as a program with a legacy steeped in music education, is to provide opportunities and resources for school band programs in our area to continue to grow and flourish. In order to provide the best performance and learning experience for all groups, our enrollment is limited to 16 schools. GLCBF has the power to set a new standard for your students and your band program. Register by October 30 to reserve your spot! Registration fee: $475 per band

About our Guest Clinicians


Dr. Donald McKinney

Donald J. McKinney is director of bands, professor of conducting and chair of the conducting area at the University of Colorado Boulder College of Music. He conducts the CU Boulder Wind Symphony, guides the graduate wind-conducting program and oversees the university’s comprehensive band program. The CU Boulder Wind Symphony has collaborated with numerous artists and composers, and performed for the CBDNA Southwestern Division Conference on the CU Boulder campus. The ensemble is active in commissioning and performing music of our time and has worked with composers including Stacy Garrop, Carter Pann, Carlos Simon, Annika Socolofsky and Xi Wang. Prior to his 2013 appointment at CU Boulder, McKinney was director of wind ensembles and associate professor at Louisiana State University. While teaching at LSU, its wind ensemble was invited to perform at the 2013 CBDNA National Conference in Greensboro, North Carolina.

McKinney has held additional faculty positions at Interlochen Arts Academy and Duquesne University Mary Pappert School of Music. From 2010-2015, he was coordinator of bands for the renowned Interlochen Arts Camp. In this capacity, he conducted the World Youth Wind Symphony and administered the summer band program. As a guest conductor, he has appeared with the Dallas Wind Symphony, Concordia Santa Fe, Boulder Philharmonic Orchestra, Greater Boulder Youth Orchestra and numerous honor ensembles. He has also conducted concerts and clinics in Costa Rica and Canada. On numerous occasions, his performances with the Dallas Wind Symphony have been featured on National Public Radio Performance Today. 
As a teacher of conducting, McKinney has presented conducting master classes at Austin Peay State University, Pacific Lutheran University, University of Central Florida, Eastern Washington University, University of Central Missouri, West Chester University and UCLA. His recording credits include projects with the Dallas Winds, University of Michigan Symphony Band, University of Texas Wind Ensemble, University of North Texas Wind Symphony, Keystone Wind Ensemble and the Duquesne University Wind Symphony. He was nominated for a 2019 Grammy Award for producing the Dallas Winds recording “John Williams at the Movies.”
McKinney earned a Doctor of Musical Arts in conducting from the University of Michigan. His primary conducting teachers include Michael Haithcock, Jack Stamp, Robert Cameron and additional study with H. Robert Reynolds and Frank Battisti. He lives in Boulder, Colorado, with his husband, Brad, and their two dogs.


Dr. Trae Blanco

Dr. Trae Blanco currently serves as Director of Bands in the School of Music at Butler University. His teaching responsibilities include conducting the Symphonic Wind Ensemble, teaching undergraduate and graduate conducting, and overseeing the band program. Previously, Dr. Blanco has served as  the Director of Bands at Murray State University, and the University of Southern Maine; where he was the conductor of the Portland Youth Wind Ensemble, Casco Bay Wind Symphony, and cover conductor for the Portland (ME) Symphony.
A native New Mexican, Dr. Blanco received his undergraduate degree in music education from New Mexico State University in Las Cruces, NM, a Master of Music in conducting from the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music where he studied with Professor Stephen Pratt, and Doctorate of Musical Arts in Conducting from The Herberger Institute at Arizona State University. Dr. Blanco also served as Director of Bands at Las Cruces High School, where both the jazz ensemble and wind ensemble were selected as Honor Bands for the New Mexico All-State Convention in 2010 and 2011, respectively.
As a clinician, Dr. Blanco has worked with bands and orchestras in Maine, New Mexico, Arizona, Texas, Kentucky, Indiana, and Illinois, as well as presented at state conferences in Maine, Kentucky, and West Virginia. Dr. Blanco served as the conductor of the Philharmonia Orchestra for the annual Quad State String Day at Murray State, as well as the Paducah Symphony Summer Music Camp Orchestra in 2019. In summer of 2019, Dr. Blanco was an invited presenter to The Midwest International Clinic, and the World Association of Symphonic Bands and Ensembles in Bunol, Spain. He currently serves as a conductor for the Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp, directing the Symphony Band, and Festival Band for the Falcone International Tuba and Euphonium Festival. Dr. Blanco has served as a leadership clinician to marching bands throughout the country including Texas State University, Murray State University, University of the Incarnate Word, and Pearland High School. In 2023, Dr. Blanco has been invited to conduct the Maine All State Band.
Dr. Blanco was the recipient of the New Mexico Music Educators New and Emerging Teacher Award for 2010. He is currently a member of the Kentucky Music Educators Association, College Band Directors Association, WASBE, NBA, and the Percussive Arts Society. He has continued conducting studies with workshops across the country and in July 2015, Dr. Blanco was a guest conductor with the United States Army "Pershing’s Own" Concert Band in Washington, D.C. In both 2015 and 2016 Dr. Blanco was a finalist in the American Prize in Wind Conducting.  Currently, Dr. Blanco resides in Indianapolis, IN with his wife, Kelsey, and their two children; Ophelia and Ellis.



Dr. Kathryn Strickland

Dr. Katie Strickland is currently the Chair of the Northwest Missouri State Department of Fine and Performing Arts, Director of Athletic Bands, and Associate Professor of Music, and is active as a guest conductor, adjudicator, and clinician of marching bands, concert bands, and percussion groups of all ages. A veteran teacher of 13 years in the public schools of Louisiana and a Northwest faculty member since 2013, Dr. Strickland has served on the Louisiana Music Educators Association Board of Directors and as the Missouri State Chair for the National Band Association. .  


Dr. Strickland has published articles and presented conference clinics and research posters on the topics of instrumental intonation, music student motivation and retention, percussion pedagogy, and instrumental ensemble sight-reading at both the state (Louisiana and Missouri) and National levels, including the NAfME Biennial Conference. Dr. Strickland was a 2017 recipient of the Northwest College of Arts and Sciences Award for Excellence in Teaching and the Missouri Governor’s Award for Excellence in Education, an award presented to one faculty member at each of Missouri’s four-year institutions.




To be announced