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Sculpture outside of Battelle Fine Arts Center


The Band area at Otterbein (a division within the Department of Music) attracts students specializing on all woodwind, brass, and percussion instruments. Through a wide range of large and small ensembles, students can pursue performance opportunities in any of the following:

  • Wind Ensemble
  • Cardinal Marching Band
  • "Mean Cardinal Machine" Pep Band
  • Jazz Ensemble
  • Jazz Combos
  • Percussion Ensemble
  • The Anticipations (pop/rock combo)
  • Studio Ensembles (low brass ensemble, Towers brass quintet, saxophone quartets, flute choir, etc.)

Play Your Part!

The Bands are open to ALL students, regardless of declared major. There is an ensemble for everyone with the desire to play and perform, and there are music award opportunities available, depending on your desired level of involvement and interest. 

Faculty & Staff

Michael Yonchak

Michael Yonchak

Associate Professor
Music Education

Battelle Fine Arts Center 117
p/ 614.823.1808
e/ myonchak@otterbein.edu

Dr. Michael Yonchak currently serves as Director of Bands and Associate Professor of Music Education at Otterbein University. A native of Ohio, Dr. Yonchak completed his Bachelor of Music in Education and Master of Music at Youngstown State University, and the Doctor of Musical Arts in Wind Conducting from the University of Kentucky. His current research interests surround American composer Frank Zappa, leading to numerous journal articles and presentations and, by extension, topics related to popular music and culture. Dr. Yonchak is also an active percussionist on the Columbus music scene, with performances ranging from indie-rock to jazz to traditional flamenco and Irish percussion. 

Dr. Yonchak is an endorsee for Vic Firth, Inc., and Finnegan Hill Irish Percussion (www.finneganhill.com).

Band Ensembles

Wind Ensemble

The Wind Ensemble is the premiere concert band experience for both Music majors and non-majors at Otterbein. This ensemble performs a wide range of literature, combining elements of large-group and chamber stylings, through a unique pairing of contemporary and historically significant repertoire. Students are also exposed to a wide range of guest conductors, performers, and opportunities to perform off-campus throughout the academic year. Auditions are held at the beginning of each semester. 

Jazz Ensemble and Jazz Combos

The Jazz Ensemble and Jazz Combos provide comprehensive experiences in large and small group jazz environments, as well as opportunities for improvisation. The jazz ensembles perform numerous times throughout each semester, appearing at the monthly jazz series at the Old Bag of Nails Pub and Restaurant in Westerville, on campus at Cowan Hall, and student-organized events at smaller venues throughout Columbus. These ensembles are led by members of the "RedBird" Faculty Jazz Combo, which is comprised of some of the finest jazz musicians in central Ohio.

Athletic Bands

The Cardinal Marching Band is the most visible musical ensemble at Otterbein University, as well as being one of the largest and most active student groups. During the fall semester, the CMB performs at all home football games, maintains a presence in various campus activities, and travels to select high school festivals during the fall semester. ALL Otterbein students who specialize on a brass, woodwind, or percussion instrument, as well as visual performers including color guard and twirlers, are encouraged to join.

During the winter months, members of the CMB can continue to perform with the “Mean Cardinal Machine” Pep Band, which appears at all men’s and women’s home basketball games from January through March. This ensemble has also appeared for special track and field events, as well as select home volleyball matches. 

Because of the unique nature and requirements of the Athletic Bands, students who commit to perform are eligible for our “Athletic Bands Award”, which amounts to $1,000 per year.

Students interested in joining the marching band should contact Dr. Michael Yonchak for more information.

Athletic Bands Participation Award

  • What is it?

  • Who is eligible?

  • Do I have to audition for the award?

Chamber Music at Otterbein

The Department of music offers many diverse opportunities for students to participate in small ensemble music making.  Traditional ensembles such as string quartets, brass quintet and strings with piano chamber music are a regular part of students’ musical training and experience. Flute ensemble and saxophone quartets, electrified strings, jazz combos and guitar ensembles for both jazz and classical styles enrich and diversify students’ course of study and musical development. Students interested in modern music seek performing opportunities with Red Noise, the department’s new music ensemble. While students interested in music of the Medieval and Renaissance periods can explore early music instruments and techniques in one of our Early Music Ensemble groups.

These for credit ensembles are coached by music faculty who are enthusiastic specialists in these areas. Students perform at least once a term and enjoy performance opportunities in a variety of venues, both on and off campus. Regular self-coached rehearsals help students further develop their musical skills and a growing sense of independence critical to finding a musical life after college.