Winona State University will host the 42nd Annual High School Honor Band Festival during the first weekend of November, welcoming 111 students from over 40 different high schools to campus. As part of the weekend, high schools students will get a full WSU experience, connecting with WSU band students who will show them around campus and act as mentors. 


The weekend will also serve as a great way for WSU band members to see what the younger musicians are working on. The students will work together, having large ensemble rehearsals, as well as breakout rehearsals with their smaller respective sections. The festival culminates with members from the WSU band and high school honor bands joining forces to host a concert. The honor band students walk away with a fun weekend at Winona State and a unique experience of playing with so many talented musicians.


This year, the large concert will feature a music piece composed by Stephen Mitton, a doctoral student from the University of Michigan. The piece, Tradewinds, was written by Mitton specifically for his weekend at WSU. He will attend all rehearsals and activities to mentor both groups of students throughout this music filled weekend. 


When asked about working with Mitton, WSU Band and orchestra student Treasurer Alana Shields said, “I am excited to work with Stephen Mitton because we will be able to hear his thoughts and motivations regarding this piece. I hope that students in Symphonic Band acknowledge the special opportunity it is to work with a living composer and gather feedback from them personally. I expect that this experience will be very inspirational for students to perform their absolute best at the Nov. 2 concert!”


The 42nd Annual High School Honor Band Concert will take place at 5 p.m. on Saturday, November 2nd in the DuFresne Performing Arts Center main stage on the Winona State campus. The following day at 2 p.m. on Sunday, November 3rd in the DuFresne Performing Arts Center main stage the WSU Wind Ensemble and Symphonic Band will be hosting a concert on the Winona State campus. Both events are free and open to the public. 


For more information contact Dr. Melanie Brooks at 


About Winona State University

Founded in 1858, Winona State University is a comprehensive, regional public university with approximately 8,000 students on campuses in Winona and Rochester. Around half of WSU students are first-generation, meaning neither parent has a four-year bachelor’s degree. The oldest member of the Minnesota State system, WSU offers more than 80 undergraduate, pre-professional, licensure, graduate and doctorate programs in five colleges: Business, Education, Liberal Arts, Nursing & Health Sciences, and Science & Engineering. Winona State is ranked as the second public institution in Minnesota by U.S. News & World Report’s “Best Colleges,” has been named among the “Best in the Midwest” by The Princeton Review for 16 years in a row, and has been featured as one of America’s 100 Best Colleg Buys for quality and value for 24 consecutive years. The University generates $447.9 million in annual economic impact. The University’s mission is to enhance the intellectual, social, cultural and economic vitality of the people and communities we serve: a community of learners improving our world. For more information, visit