Band Membership

Joining the Symphonic Band

We welcome the interest and inquiries of adult instrumental musicians regarding band membership. The most important condition for membership in the organization is musical ability and the willingness to commit to the Band’s primary goal: the sensitive performance of quality literature.

Persons interested in joining the band should contact Music Director Dale Shipe, preferably just prior to the start of the spring or fall rehearsal seasons. You will be asked to have an informal interview and audition. Admission to the band is also dependent on the current population of the various sections of the band; sections may be “closed” if additional players would disrupt the overall balance of the band.

If you would like to send information about your playing experience directly from this web site to the Music Director please fill out form below.

School Year Band

The Symphonic Band is actually two bands in one. The larger “winter band” operates during the school year and is open to all post-high school instrumentalists with previous playing experience. Optionally, college students may also enroll in the band for credit. High school players are occasionally admitted if they demonstrate exceptional ability and their instrument is needed in the Band.

Fall rehearsals begin the Monday after Labor Day and continue each Monday to prepare for the annual Cathedral Concert, which is held one or two Sundays before Thanksgiving at the Cathedral Church of St. Paul. Spring rehearsals begin in January or February as announced, and culminate in the Pops Concert, which is held at the Fond du Lac High School Performing Arts Center in April.

Band rehearsals during the school year are held on Mondays from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. at Wisconsin Lutheran Academy.
Summer Band

The Summer Band is limited to 50 players, who are selected by the Music Director using the following criteria:

  • musical ability
  • availability of the player
  • need for particular instruments
  • seniority

Generally speaking, the Summer Band will be comprised of the most-capable players available whose instruments are needed in the Band. Should there be two or more players with similar ability available for one vacancy in the Summer Band, the player with seniority will be chosen.

All Summer Band members are paid for their services as self-employed, independent contracting musicians. Those not on the regular summer roster may be invited to “fill in” for absent members for specific performances.

The Summer Band rehearses at 7:15 p.m. each Monday, June through August. It performs at least 10 major park concerts, six in the City of Fond du Lac and four or more in area communities. A variety of “small band” jobs are also scheduled, not only in summer but occasionally during the school year, in which personnel is tailored to stage size, program requirements and budgets.

Membership Expectations

Symphonic Band members are expected to attend all rehearsals and performances during any season of participation. Absences involving illness, unavoidable business/job conflicts, adverse weather or road conditions, or family reasons will be excused. In other cases, the first priority should be Band rehearsal, rather than, for example, attending a sports event or watching a TV special on rehearsal night.

Following are excerpts from the Band’s Articles of Incorporation and Bylaws, which spell out the Band’s purposes and qualifications for membership.

From the Articles of Incorporation:

ARTICLE 3: The purposes shall be to form and operate a band with the following objectives:

  • To provide a sophisticated playing opportunity for experienced adult musicians;
  • To provide city and area residents an opportunity to hear good band literature sensitively performed;
  • To develop a regular and supportive following for the Band through effective public relations;
  • To enhance the image of the Band as a viable music performance medium on the adult level;
  • To demonstrate the support of worthwhile cultural activities by people of the Fond du Lac area, through quality performances throughout the state and beyond;
  • To conscientiously fulfill contracts with all purchasers of music;

This organization is limited to charitable and educational purposes within the meaning of Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.

From the By-Laws:


Section 1: Membership in this organization shall be open to all musicians without regard to their race, creed, sex or national origin. Any adult who subscribes to the Band’s purposes as stated in Article 3 of the Articles of Incorporation may become a candidate for membership. Musicians who are not adults may become candidates for membership in the Band when there is a need to improve instrumentation and the player demonstrates above average ability.

Section 2. Candidates who become members of the Band will be subject to the rules and regulations set forth in the Personnel Policy of the Band, as it may be from time to time amended.

Section 3: Full voting membership in the Band will be granted upon the applicant’s completion of two concert seasons within a 12- month period. Continuing membership is contingent on participation in at least two of the three concert seasons annually (spring, summer, and fall).

Section 4 : Members who are in violation of the rules and regulations set forth in the Personnel Policy may be asked to resign by a two-thirds majority vote of the Board of Directors. At the request of the member, the Board’s recommendation may be taken to voting membership, where a two-thirds majority vote will be required for dismissal.

Seating Assignments

The Music Director makes all seating and part assignments, taking into consideration playing ability, balance and strength throughout each section, and seniority. Informal auditions may be requested of new members to evaluate playing ability.

Personnel Policy

In 1992 a “Personnel Policy” was adopted to more clearly delineate those factors which are used to place members and select summer band personnel. The Policy, which was revised and updated in 1977, also spells out requirements for membership and rights of members. A copy of the policy is available to new band members upon request.

Getting Involved

There are many opportunities for band members to “get involved” with the Band beyond the obvious commitment to rehearsals and performances. We need help for concert set-up and take-down, equipment cartage, occasional library and office work, and various other “behind-the- scene” jobs. Families can get involved in the summer concession stands and more. Band members may also serve on the Board of Directors and various ad hoc committees.


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