John Philip Sousa National Honor Band 2020

The John Philip Sousa Foundation is proud to present the 14th biannual edition of the John Philip Sousa National High School Honor Band, showcasing high achieving musicians from across the US. 

The festival will take place at The Bromfield School in Harvard, MA. The performance will be the last day at Mechanics Hall in Worcester, MA. 

The cost to attend the festival in 2020 is $550 per student. This price is subject to change, however, it will not increase. 

Michael J. Colburn, Guest Conductor

We are very pleased to announce that Michael J. Colburn formerly of the United States Marine Corps will lead the 2020 John Philip Sousa National High School Honor Band Festival. 

Michael Colburn joined the faculty of Butler University as Director of Bands in August, 2014. In addition to conducting the Butler University Wind Ensemble, he offers instruction in conducting, euphonium, and the history and literature of the wind band. Before coming to Butler, Colburn served for 27 years in “The President’s Own” United States Marine Band, where he held a variety of positions including Principal Euphonium (1991-1996), Assistant Director (1996-2004), and Director (2004-2014). As Director, Colburn was music advisor to White House and regularly conducted the Marine Band and Chamber Orchestra at the Executive Mansion and at Presidential Inaugurations. He was promoted to Colonel by President George W. Bush in a private Oval Office ceremony in 2007, and in 2014 he was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal by Gen James Amos, Commandant of the Marine Corps, and the Medal of Honor by the Midwest Band and Orchestra Clinic Board of Directors.


Colburn is an active guest conductor and clinician. He regularly conducts bands at numerous state and regional festivals and has guest conducted several professional and university bands and wind ensembles. Committed to the commissioning of new music, Colburn serves as the Co-Chair of the Sousa-ABA-Ostwald Award, a prize sponsored by the American Bandmasters Association in order to promote new works for wind band. He has served as an adjudicator for the Sudler Award, the Barlow Endowment, Music for All, and the Col. George S. Howard award for excellence in military bands. Colburn is a member of Washington D.C.’s prestigious Gridiron and Alfalfa Clubs, the American Bandmasters Association, and a board member of the John PhilipSousa Foundation.

2020 Festival Program

John Philip Sousa - Who’s Who in Navy Blue

Ryan George - Firefly

Grainger - Irish Tune from County Derry

Robert Russell Bennett - Suite of Old American Dances

Julie Giroux - Hymn for the Innocent

Marquez/Nickel - Conga del Fuego Nuevo

John Philip Sousa - The Stars and Stripes Forever 

Performance Location

Mechanics Hall - Worcester, MA

Mechanics Hall is the premier event venue and concert hall in Central Massachusetts. Renowned for its elegance and sound qualities, the Hall's cultural significance, its stunning décor and architectural detail have earned it a listing on the National Register of Historic Places. The Hall is known as the finest pre-Civil War performance hall in America. Mechanics Hall is an acoustical masterpiece sought after by musicians and recording artists worldwide, and it is a beloved meeting space ideally suited for special events. In the past, there have been over 25 performances made by the original Sousa Band at this venue. In 2019 the John Philip Sousa New England Regional Honor Bands awarded Mechanics Hall with an historical marker to commemorate these original Sousa Band performances. 

Festival Activity

Old Sturbridge Village

This year for our field trip activity, we will be visiting Old Sturbridge Village - an outdoor living history museum depicting life in an early 19th-century rural New England village, featuring costumed historians, artisans and farmers; historic homes, trade shops and water-powered mills; a working farm with heritage breed animals; and permanent and rotating exhibits.

© 2019 by The Sousa Foundation

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