The Carthage College Band, one of the oldest college bands in the United States, was established as a brass band in 1873 under the leadership of Professor J. M. Helfrich. From its humble beginnings as a six-piece brass ensemble, the band has grown to now include three large ensembles — Wind Orchestra, Concert Band, and the chamber winds group AMATI.
Our Wind Orchestra is recognized as a worldwide leader in the commissioning and performance of new works. Included within these commissions are James Stephenson’s This is Most Certainly True (written for the 500th anniversary of the Lutheran Church), Alex Shapiro’s Liquid Compass (written for the 140th anniversary of the Carthage Band), Andre Previn’s Music for Wind and Percussion, Stacy Garrop’s Mythology Suite, and Xi Wang’s Winter Blossom. To celebrate 150 Years of Carthage Women, the College commissioned works by Judy Bozone (Rise Up!), Jocelyn Hagen (Shieldmaiden), and Sydney Kjerstad (Talitha Cumi).
In addition, the Wind Orchestra has specialized in the production of silent film accompaniments, created for regional tours — “The General,” and “Metropolis.”
The band has a long and distinguished history of service to Carthage and the artistic life of the communities of Kenosha, Wis., and Carthage, Ill., and has maintained a rich tradition of touring the Midwest, along with international study tours in Japan. Our Concert Band and Wind Orchestra also host the annual Lakeside Band Festival.
Our guest conductors include James Barnes, Andrew Boysen Jr., Bill Connor, Johan DeMeij, Evan Feldman, Ralph Hultgren, Libby Larsen, Timothy Mahr, Jonathan Newman, James Stephenson, Frank Ticheli, and Dana Wilson. The Carthage band claims as one of its most outstanding alumni the composer David Uber.
Australian composer Ralph Hultgren conducting two excerpts from his “Symphony for Wind Orchestra, movement 1” with the Carthage Wind Orchestra in November 2015.
The Wind Orchestra Philosophy
Simply put, a wind orchestra is a group of musicians playing wind and percussion instruments. However, the wind orchestra includes only the composer’s specified instrumentation. Moreover, the wind orchestra layers the timbres of each instrument, rather than mixing them. Finally, the wind orchestra places optimal value on the expressive contribution of each member. The primary advantage of a wind orchestra is that it can change timbre based on the style of composition. Scholarships to play in the Wind Orchestra are available for both music majors and non-majors.
Conductor: Dr. James Ripley
The Carthage Concert Band
The Concert Band carries on the band’s long tradition of performing works of historical importance as well as a variety of outstanding new compositions. Symphonic band principles are utilized to formulate the sound of this ensemble. Music education students regularly rehearse and conduct the Concert Band in concert, in consultation with the director. Scholarships to play in the Concert Band are available for both music majors and non-majors.
Conductor: Dr. James Ripley
This small chamber ensemble is a flexible instrumentation group that performs as special repertoire selections require. Truly a mixed ensemble, AMATI is formed with woodwinds, brass, percussion, strings, and keyboard instruments. As Much As There Is, the “meaning” behind the acronym, not only describes the one to a part performance concept but also the degree of musicianship required of its players and the musical friendship between them.
London Roysden ’21 performs Eric Whitacre’s “Goodnight Moon” with AMATI on April 9, 2021.