All-Colorado Honor Band

The All-Colorado Honor Band is held on the campus of Western State Colorado University each Spring, usually around the end of February. This year marks the 64th meeting of this ensemble. Auditions for the All-Colorado Honor Bands are held in the Fall. Specific information about the honor band including audition requirements will be mailed to individual high schools in September.  The next festival February 23 - 25, 2017, Thursday afternoon through Saturday afternoon concert.  Audition recordings should be received by November 18, 2016.

Guest Conductor - Dr. Shawn Vondran

Currently the Associate Director of Bands at Northwestern University, Dr. Vondran maintains an active schedule with engagements throughout the United States as a guest conductor, clinician, and adjudicator. In addition to performance engagements, he is an ongoing contributor to the Teaching Music Through Performance in Band series published by GIA and has appeared in the National Band Association journal. During his career as a conductor, Vondran has worked with a number of notable composers in the preparation, performance, and/or recording of their works for the wind band medium. Recent artistic collaborations include John Corigliano, Christopher Rouse, David Maslanka, Michael Daugherty, Steven Bryant, and Joel Puckett. His professional affiliations include the College Band Directors National Association, National Band Association, National Association for Music Education, and Pi Kappa Lambda.

Conductor - Dr. Michael Flynn

Dr. Michael P. Flynn is the Director of Bands and Brass Instruction at Western State Colorado University in Gunnison, CO.  Teaching duties include conducting the Symphony Band and Varsity Band, teaching Brass Lessons, Music Technology, Music Education Courses, Music Appreciation, and Conducting Courses.

Dr. Flynn has recently won the second trumpet position with the Billings Symphony Orchestra, and will be performing with the Colorado Springs Symphony and the Denver Brass this upcoming season.  Additional positions include auxiliary trumpet position for the Wyoming Symphony Orchestra, Cheyenne Symphony, Bozeman Symphony Orchestra, and the Casper Brass.  Current solo collaboration includes a recording project with 2011 International Acoustic Artist of the year, South African Roland Albertson.  Communicating through digital media clips and video conference, the two are planning the use of the trumpet in Albertson's newest demo CD and future recording projects.  Here in Gunnison, Dr. Flynn is looking forward to a duo recital with Mr. Ken Todd this upcoming April.  

Before joining the faculty at Western this year, Dr. Flynn was the Director of Bands and Brass instruction at Sheridan College in Sheridan, Wyoming from 2012-2014.  Supplementing his classical study, Dr. Flynn performed and recorded with the University of Miami Studio Jazz Band, directed by Chuck Bergeron, former bass player for Buddy Rich, and studied privately with Alex Norris, now with the Village Vanguard Orchestra, and Greg Gisbert, member of the Maria Schneider Jazz Orchestra.

Honor band French horns

How it all Started

In 1953 a committee of the Gunnison Volunteer Firemen approached the President of Western State Colorado University to suggest sponsoring two evenings of band music by the Western State Colorado University Band and its newly organized Honor Band for Colorado high school students.  The proceeds from these concerts would be used to replace clothing and other personal equipment damaged in protecting the lives and property of Gunnison town and college residents.  The plan was promptly approved.  In 1990 the Western Slope Choral Festival concert was included as a benefit concert for the Gunnison Volunteer Fire Department.

In the fifty-five years since its inception the concerts have featured many of the nation’s most illustrious musicians, including the late Arthur Fiedler, conductor of the famous “Boston Pops” orchestra.  Fiedler, who was a famous fire engine buff, inaugurated the tradition of closing the concert with Goldman’s Third Alarm March, in which the band is augmented by a motley crew of firemen, performing on a clanging of bells and earsplitting sirens of the avocation.

Western State Colorado University is proud of the Gunnison Volunteer Fire Department and appreciative of its efficient and indispensable contribution to school and community.  These concerts are a token of that appreciation.

Firefighter of the Year Award

The Robert R. Williams (1927-1977) Memorial Award was established by the Gunnison Volunteer Fire Department in 1982 as a result of a fund created by the family of Chief Williams (1963-1969) in 1978.

The intent of the award is to give recognition annually to an exceptional firefighter for outstanding service to the community.