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

FILLED for 2024

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. Katy Strickland

Dr. Katy Strickland is in her tenth year as Director of Athletic Bands and Associate Professor of Music at Northwest Missouri State University, where she directs the Bearcat Marching Band, Northwest Pep Band, and Symphonic Band, and teaches coursework in Music Education and Conducting. In August of 2017 Dr. Strickland was awarded the Governor’s Award for Excellence in Education, an award sponsored by the Missouri Council on Public Higher Education and presented annually to “an outstanding faculty member of each of Missouri’s four-year public institutions.” In the fall of 2022, she was named the Dennis C. Dau Endowed Professor of Instrumental Music. 
Under her direction the Northwest Missouri State Athletic Bands saw an increase in enrollment from 140 to an institution record of 191, and performed on ESPN, ESPN2, and CBS at the NCAA Division 2 Football and Basketball National Championships. The positive culture of camaraderie between Athletic Bands and Athletics at Northwest is a point of pride for the institution as a whole and Dr. Strickland in particular. 
In 2018 Dr. Strickland served as the Missouri State Chair for the National Band Association and was the Chair of the Department of Fine and Performing Arts at Northwest from 2018-2022 where she led the Art, Music, and Theatre areas. 
Across her career Dr. Strickland has served as a conductor, adjudicator, and clinician of concert, marching, and percussion ensembles of all ages in Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas, Missouri, Nebraska, and Kansas. She has performed as a percussionist with the Baton Rouge Symphony (LA) and St. Joseph Symphony (MO), where she served as principal percussionist. 
Prior to her appointment at Northwest, Dr. Strickland taught instrumental music in the South Louisiana public schools for thirteen years. While in Louisiana, Dr. Strickland directed or co-directed marching, concert, jazz, and percussion ensembles that were consistently successful at the district and state levels and served on the Louisiana Music Educators Association Board of Directors. She earned her Bachelors, Masters, and PhD in Music Education from Louisiana State University. 
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, ensemble culture, teacher retention, and instrumental ensemble sight-reading at the NAfME Biennial Conference, College Band Directors National Association Athletic Band Symposium, Teacher Education Council of State Colleges and Universities (TESCU) Annual Conference, Missouri, Kansas and Louisiana Music Educators Association Conferences, and Kansas Bandmasters Association Conference. She is a member of Phi Beta Mu, Kappa Kappa Psi, CBDNA and NAfME. 


Dr. Rick Fleming


Rick Fleming is a Professor of Music and director of bands at SUNY Buffalo State, where he conducts the Buffalo State College Wind and Jazz Ensembles.  He also teaches undergraduate conducting and instrumental methods.  He is the founding conductor of the Erie County Chamber Winds (a professional chamber wind ensemble).
From 1992-98 he served as director of bands at William R. Boone High School in Orlando, where the band program received superior ratings at both district and state levels.  Before his appointment at William R. Boone High School, Dr. Fleming served for six years as the director of bands at Memorial Middle School, where he was named Teacher of the Year in 1992. 

Fleming received his Ph.D. in Music Education with an emphasis in wind band conducting from Florida State University where he studied with Clifford K. Madsen and James E. Croft.  He earned his M.M. degree in trombone performance from The University of Mississippi and a Bachelor of Music Education from Mississippi Valley State University where he studied with Professors Russell Boone and Leonard E. Tramiel.

Fleming has presented many clinics for the Florida Bandmaster Association on the topics “Teaching Band in Multicultural Environments” and “Young Band Directors’ Success.”
He has served as guest conductor for the Jackson, Mississippi All-City Band, The Mississippi All-State Band, the Ark-LA Tech Band Festival at Louisiana Tech University, and a myriad of honor bands throughout the United States.  He has also presented the Erie County Chamber Winds at the New York State Band Association Symposium in 2003.  Dr. Fleming is an active adjudicator and clinician throughout the United States.

Fleming’s international conducting experience includes conducting the University of Szeged Wind Ensemble in Szeged, Hungary.  He also conducted the Youth Band of the Private Music and Art School for the East European Symposium for Wind Conductors November 24-28, 2004 in Szeged, Hungary.  In 2006, Dr Fleming served as an adjudicator for the Tygerburg Fanfare International Band Festival in Cape Town, South Africa.  He has published chapters in the GIA Publication’s Teaching Music Through Performance Beginning Band Volume 2 and Teaching Music Through Performance in Jazz.
He is a member of the College Band Directors National Association, Music Educators National Conference, International Trombone Association, Phi Beta Mu National Band Fraternity, Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Incorporated, Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity, and an honorary member of Kappa Kappa Psi Band Fraternity. He also serves on the Buffalo Philharmonic Diversity Committee. 

As a trombonist, Dr. Fleming has performed for the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, Temptations, Aretha Franklin, Four Tops, Connie Francis, Frankie Valli, Marie Osmond, and 10 Thousand Maniacs.  He has also toured with the Irish Tenors and performs regularly for various organizations throughout the Western New York area.