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John Philip Sousa National Honor Band 2024

The John Philip Sousa Foundation is proud to present the 15th biannual edition of the John Philip Sousa National High School Honor Band, showcasing some of the highest achieving young musicians the United States has to offer.

The festival will take place at Boxboro Regency Hotel & Conference Center in Boxborough, MA. The final performance will be the last day at Mechanics Hall in Worcester, MA. More information soon to come.

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Festival Dates

The 2024 John Philip Sousa National High School Honor Band will take place July 14th - 18th, 2024. Our performance will be on the evening of July 17th, in Mechanics Hall in Worcester. 

Festival Pricing

Audition Fee: $20 (Non-Refundable)

Participation Fee: $570

Michael J. Colburn, Guest Conductor

We are very pleased to announce that Michael J. Colburn, formerly of the United States Marine Corps, will return to lead the 2024 John Philip Sousa National High School Honor Band Festival. 

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Michael J. Colburn is a freelance guest conductor and clinician who regularly leads professional and student ensembles in festivals, residencies, and a variety of other settings throughout the country. In July 2022 he was appointed Music Director and Conductor of the Me2 Orchestra/Burlington, and in January 2023 he joined the faculty of the University of Vermont in an adjunct capacity. From 2014 until 2022, Colburn served as the Director of Bands at Butler University in Indianapolis, where he conducted the Butler University Wind Ensemble and offered instruction in conducting, euphonium, and the history and literature of the wind band. Before his tenure at 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 the Presidential Inaugurations of George W. Bush and Barack Obama. He was promoted to Colonel by President 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.

Committed to the promotion of new music, Colburn has commissioned band works from several highly accomplished composers including John Williams, Michael Abels, Stacy Garrop, Michael Gandolfi, David Rakowski, Melinda Wagner, Michael Schelle, and Frank Felice. He has served as the chair of the Sousa-ABA-Ostwald Award, and 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 has been a board member of the National Band Association, currently serves as the President of the American Bandmasters Association and the Vice President for Project Enhancement for the John Philip Sousa Foundation, and is a member of Washington D.C.’s prestigious Gridiron and Alfalfa Clubs.

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. 

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