Concert Band FAQs

Do I have to be a music major or minor to play? No! Students who play in Band come from all majors across campus - recently, we've had Biology, Business, Education, English, Marketing, and Social Work majors. In fact, that's a great thing about Band: students from all majors come together to make music.

Do I have to audition? Yes, but it's called a "placement" because the result will generally determine where you sit, not whether you are accepted (although we do need a balanced ensemble, so we can't take 30 alto saxophones....). Contact Prof. Toner to find out about this year's auditions.

What if I don't own an instrument? Then borrow one of ours! The Band owns lots of instruments, including bari saxes, trombones, and tubas that can be borrowed for the semester.

Do I have to carry my instrument back and forth from my dorm room? No, lockers are available from Prof. Toner for most instruments at no charge. It is always a good idea to make sure your instrument is covered by insurance (such as a parent's homeowner's policy) before you bring it to school.

What is the atmosphere like during rehearsals? Prof. Toner tries to balance hard work and fun, so you will be encouraged to play better - not screamed at. You'll find Band members to be relaxed, friendly, supportive, and sharing of your love for music.

Can I take Band for credit? Yes, but if you already have 19 credits, we have a “zero credit” option.  Again, ask Prof. Toner for more information about this.

What kind of music does the Band play? Everything from Sousa marches, Concert Band "classics" like the Holst Suites, and newer pieces like Danza Barbarica, written for the Band by David Myers, '78.  Recent concerts have included The Redwoods – Galante, Puszta – Van der Roost, Festive Overture – Shostakovich/Hunsberger, and O Magnum Mysterium – Lauridsen/Reynolds.

How many Concerts do you play? The Band usually plays two or three times per semester. One of the highlights of each year is our performance at the annual Music Department Homecoming Concert.

Can I take private lessons? The Music Department offers private lessons on most instruments and voice for an additional fee.  If you’re a non-major playing in Band, you are eligible for a small scholarship that helps to offset the lesson fee.

Who is the conductor? Prof. D. Thomas Toner is a graduate of the UMass/Amherst, Yale, and the Eastman School of Music. He is Principal Percussionist of the Vermont Symphony and can be heard on many CD's, including those of the Counterpoint Choir and Trey Anastasio.

What if I have more questions? You can contact Prof. Toner at