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Athletic Bands

The Athletic Bands are among the most visible musical ensembles at Otterbein University and contain a cross-section of most (if not all) the major areas of study at Otterbein. All Otterbein students who perform on a brass, woodwind, or percussion instrument, as well as visual performers including color guard and twirlers are welcome to join the Cardinal Marching Band.

Incoming freshmen who commit to perform with the Cardinal Marching Band for four years are eligible for an Athletic Bands Participation Award in the amount of $1,000 per year/$4,000 over four years.

For questions about Athletic Bands at Otterbein, the Athletic Bands Participation Award, or Auditions:

Dr. Michael Yonchak
Assistant Professor/Director of Athletic Bands

Cardinal Marching Band

The Otterbein University Cardinal Marching Band is one of the largest and most active student groups on campus. The Cardinal Band performs at all home games and homecoming events, maintains a presence in various campus activities, and travels to pre-designated away games and high school festivals each season.

The Cardinal Band also maintains our ever-popular "Little Red Band," which acts as our on-call unit. This group will make appearances as requested by various offices on campus, and has performed for various Homecoming events, President's office functions, and athletic events that a marching band would not normally attend. Prospective students can see the Little Red Band in action in the tailgate lots during fall football games... or perhaps lurking around campus during the year!

The Cardinal Marching Band performs for over 30,000 people each year and through over 100 years of service remains one of the Midwest's premier small college marching bands.

Performance opportunities include:

  • All standard marching wind instruments (brass and woodwinds)
  • A complete marching percussion section (no front ensemble/pit/keyboards)
  • The Cardinal Guard: spinning flags and weapons
  • Otterbein Twirlers: our majorette squad

The 2013 Cardinal Marching Band Summer Newsletter is available for you to download HERE.

2013 Cardinal Band Drum line audition information is now available for you to download HERE.

How do I join?

Easy! Just complete these simple steps:

  1. Email Dr. Michael Yonchak if you are interested in joining the band in future years. If you will be marching this year, fill out this form.
  2. Register for MUSC 4103 - be sure to choose the correct section, either 1 credit or zero credit. All members must register for this course; be sure to inform your academic advisor when you sign up for classes. New students must be especially careful to remember this course during summer registration sessions.
  3. Are you interested in receiving financial aid for participating in the athletic bands? Please contact Dr. Yonchak for more information on the Athletic Bands Participation Award.
  4. That's it! We'll be sending detailed band camp information over the summer.

Athletic Bands Participation Award

What is it?
The Athletic Bands Participation Award is designed to assist students who elect to commit to perform with Otterbein Athletic Bands. Award recipients receive $1,000 per year/$4,000 over four years.

Who is eligible?
Any incoming Otterbein student who performs on a woodwind, brass or percussion instrument as well as visual performers, including color guard and twirlers. You do not have to be a music major; our members represent almost every major and field of study on campus.

Next, all students must audition to be eligible for the Athletic Bands Participation Award. These auditions are for placement only and are not competitive. Percussion and Visual Performers may have slightly different audition expectations due to the nature of these sections.

Percussionists and Visual Performers must audition in person.  For more information, or to schedule an audition, please contact Professor Michael Yonchak at myonchak@otterbein.edu.

Woodwind and Brass Players may submit a recording instead of auditioning in person to be considered for the Athletic Bands Participation Award.  Woodwind and Brass recordings should contain the following:

  1. Two contrasting etudes - one demonstrating your ability to play lyrical melodies, and a second to highlight your technical ability
  2. Two major scales of your choice, in your full range of the instrument
  3. Chromatic scale, in your full range of the instrument

Recordings can be done on cassette tape, or submitted on CD

On the tape case/CD label, please write your name, home address, and e-mail address, and mail your recording to:

Michael S. Yonchak
Department of Music
1 South Grove Street
Westerville, OH 43081

Special Notes:

  • Students who have already auditioned for a Talent Award as a woodwind or brass music major or for a non-music major Participation Award do not need to re-audition for the Athletic Bands award unless they intend to participate as a visual or percussion performer.
  • Percussion (drumline) and visual performer (color guard and twirler) auditions are required except in serious extenuating circumstances.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. No thanks, I've "been there and done that."
A. Whether your high school experience is a competition-driven program, a high-energy show band, or somewhere in-between, the Cardinal Band promises to present a program unlike any other. We encourage prospective members to attend a football or basketball game with us - students have been known to shadow rehearsals and even sit in with the Cardinal Band on game days.

Q. Won't it take up too much time?
A. While there is a certain time commitment with an ensemble such as the Cardinal Marching Band, we have become highly efficient in how we organize rehearsals and performances. The Cardinal Band rehearses on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 4:05pm until 5:50pm and on Saturdays before home games. Basketball Band rehearsals are scheduled as needed in the early part of the season.

Q. Is it a class? Will it take up room in my schedule?
A. Cardinal Marching Band and Basketball Pep Band are both credited classes: MUSC 453. You can take it for 1 credit if you have room or for zero credit depending on the demands of your schedule.

Q. What if I have a course conflict, like a lab or honors seminar?
A. We understand that sometimes labs and degree requirements get in the way, and with enough advance notice, the Cardinal Band can be fairly flexible. These are approved on an individual basis in consultation with your professors.

Q. I probably won't even get through the audition.
A. The audition for wind players in the Cardinal Marching Band is for the Athletic Bands Participation Award and for placement only. Whether it has been a few months or a few years since you last played your instrument, it is never too late to pick it up again. We want members who want to be members; desire is more important than virtuoso performance. Percussionists and Visual Performers audition at the same time to determine basic skills and placement within the section.

Q. This one time, at band camp . . .
A. The Cardinal Marching Band does have an "early week" camp that takes place prior to New Student Weekend and the start of Fall Quarter. Visual Performers and Percussion come in a few days earlier due to the nature of their sections. Students are allowed to move into their permanent campus housing at the start of this camp and all meals are provided. There is a band fee to cover meals, t-shirts, and other supplies.

For questions about Athletic Bands at Otterbein, the Athletic Bands Participation Award, or Auditions:

Dr. Michael Yonchak
Assistant Professor/Director of Athletic Bands

/ Department of Music

Conni Birri
Operations Manager
Battelle Fine Arts Center
p / 614.823.1508
e / cbirri@otterbein.edu

Elizabeth Doyle
Arts Counselor
102 W. College Ave, Westerville
p / 614.823.1219 or
e / edoyle@otterbein.edu


/ Also see...

Otterbein University is a 2012-13 Corporate Partner of the Ohio MEA.