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Concert, athletic, and jazz bands are general education classes open to any Illinois State University student wishing to participate. You do not have to be a music major to perform, though some require an audition.

Performances of the Illinois State University bands are open to the Illinois State University community and the public. Tickets are available at the Center for the Performing Arts (CPA) Box Office or football tickets are available at

Concert Ensembles

  • Flutist plays in the wind symphony ensemble.

    Wind Symphony

    The Illinois State University Wind Symphony is the University’s premier wind band with a national and international reputation for exceptional artistic achievement. The Wind Symphony performs, records, and tours regularly each semester.

  • A member of the symphonic winds ensemble plays her french horn.

    Symphonic Winds

    The Illinois State University Symphonic Winds is comprised of some of the most outstanding wind, brass, and percussion players from across campus. They perform the highest quality wind band literature, on and off campus, each semester.

  • The percussion section plays during a Symphonic Band concert.

    Symphonic Band

    The Illinois State University Symphonic Band is comprised of talented wind, brass, and percussion players from across campus. They perform quality band literature at two concerts each semester.

  • A harpist drags her hands across the strings of her harp.

    University Band

    The University Band is comprised of non-music majors and music majors gaining experience on a secondary instrument. This ensemble provides students the opportunity to continue playing while devoting the major portion of their time to other academic disciplines.

Athletic Bands

  • The trombone section of the Big Red Marching Machine.

    Big Red Marching Machine

    The Illinois State University Marching Band, “The Big Red Marching Machine,” has a long and proud history of performances at major events at home and across the Midwest.

  • The pep band cheers in the stands.

    Pep Band

    The Illinois State University Pep Band performs at all Redbird Volleyball and Basketball games and campus events year round.

  • The Basketball drumline performs on the court.

    BRMM Auxiliaries

    The Color Guard, Drumline, Redline Express Dance Team, and Twirlers function as sections within the Big Red Marching Machine (BRMM).

  • The BRMM Drumline marches in the Labor Day parade.

    Alumni Band

    The Alumni Band is open to all graduates and former students who participated in Big Red Marching Machine. Past members of BRMM Auxiliaries and Pep Band are also welcome.

Jazz Bands

  • Student plays his trumpet in a jazz ensemble.

    Jazz Ensembles

    Our jazz ensembles perform a wide range of big band literature including all styles from historical to cutting edge.

Band Festivals and Competitions

  • The trumpet players of a marching band raise their instruments.

    Marching Band Championships

    The Illinois State Marching Band Championships is one of the oldest events of its kind in the state of Illinois. Over forty of the state’s finest high school marching bands compete in preliminary and finals competition.

  • Students practice together for the jazz festival.

    Jazz Festival

    The annual Illinois State University Jazz Festival is the highlight of the year for jazz on campus. In addition to a competition between numerous high school and junior high jazz ensembles, the festival features two evening showings of a collaborative performance by ISU Jazz Ensembles with a renowned guest artist.

  • A concert band performs on stage.

    Concert Band Festival

    The annual Illinois State Concert Band Festival is open to both junior high and high school bands.

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News and Events

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Close-up view of a cicada
A symphony of cicadas with distinct red eyes and orange-veined wings will soon reverberate across Central Illinois, the likes of which hasn’t been heard here in 221 years. 

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Illinois State University Bands Mission Statement

The mission of the Illinois State University Bands is to promote and foster the highest artistic achievement in music-making, music learning, and musical experience for our student musicians and our patrons. We will create a diverse educational environment that addresses the needs of our future performers, educators, and scholars with a commitment to the growth of each individual as an artist.

We will promote the growth of the wind band medium by carefully creating concert experiences for our students and audiences that uphold essential histories and traditions, but also innovatively look to future possibilities. We will support recognized and promising composers and seek out new opportunities for creative collaborations.

The Illinois State University Bands will strive to become a cultural destination for the university and its surrounding community by maintaining a welcoming environment for students across campus and the community at large. We will expand the impact of Illinois State University through outreach, service, and leadership at the community, state, national, and international levels.