ETSU High School Honor Bands Festival
In its 34th year, the ETSU High School Honor Bands Festival is held annually on the campus of ETSU. This two-day event, usually held on the last weekend of January, is an educational outreach, service, and recruiting event for the ETSU Bands program, for the area and regional high school bands in east and middle Tennessee, southwestern Virginia, and northwestern North Carolina.
During the past 33 years, the ETSU Bands program has hosted between 150 and over 200 high school band members under guest conductors from all of the branches of the military, university band conductors, prominent composers, and successful middle school and high school band directors who are music graduates of ETSU. The idea of bringing ETSU alumni to guest conduct the honor bands was a decision made by current ETSU Director of Bands, Dr. Christian Zembower. Most of these guest conductors continue to have relatives in the area, and former classmates living in the Tri-Cities region, making it a special occasion for them to return to campus and represent ETSU in a wonderful manner.
The honor band festival begins on a Friday morning with students auditioning for band placement and section seating with the applied studio faculty of the ETSU Music Department. Once auditions are finished, an instrumental master class is generally held for the students and taught by the applied music faculty. Students are then placed into the respective band, and rehearsals begin with the guest conductors around noon on Friday in both the Culp Center Auditorium and Ballroom, commencing in the early evening hours. Rehearsals resume on Saturday morning. There will be an ending concert with both bands beginning at 3 p.m. on Saturday for the general public.
Trey Harris, a native of Florida, was raised in Elizabethton, Tennessee, where he attended Elizabethton High School, being taught by Bill Scott, Director of Bands. He is a 1995 graduate of East Tennessee State University where he received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Music Education. In 1996, he began his tenure with the Bassett (VA) High School Band.
Jeffrey Paul Kleiber graduated cum laude from East Tennessee State University in 2007, where he earned a Bachelor of Music degree in Instrumental Music Education. In 2012, he also received his Master of Music in Music Education from the University of North Carolina, Greensboro School of Music. Since August 2010, Mr. Kleiber has been the Director of Bands at Reedy Creek Middle School in Cary, North Carolina.