Honor Band

One of the great opportunities that we have by being members of the Emerald Brigade is the chance to audition for High School Honor Bands throughout the state of California.

 Now is the best time to start preparing for Honor Band auditions in the Fall (before marching season gets too hectic!). The music is usually tough and typically requires several months of preparation and practice before making a recording in November. The biggest mistake that students make is deciding to submit an audition CD for honor bands two weeks before they’re due! Now’s the time to start!

If you don’t have a private teacher, consider signing up for one to get you started on the right foot by focusing on the scales and solo piece in preparation for your recordings. Checkout the instructor list here.

If you are a Junior or Senior with experience in your instrument and will like to be added to the student teacher list, you may email to yimchen@yahoo.com with your name, address, phone, email and the instrument you can teach. This will not be published, but only given to Jr. High band directors to use at their discretion.

Currently, the CBDA (California Band Director’s Association) website has all of the scale and solo requirements listed by instrument. This “all-state” set of music requirements is identical for All-State and All-Northern honor band audition CD’s.  However, Capital Section Honor Band requires a smaller subsection of the solo piece and scales.  These Capital Section Honor Band requirements are communicated to our Band Director in late September.  So, if you work on preparing the entire set of scales and solo works as laid out by CBDA now, you should be prepared for your Capital Section Honor Band audition CD as well. 

 Sidenote: the Capitol Section scales and solo piece are required recordings for seating auditions in the Emerald Brigade concert band; usually due around the same time as the honor band audition cd’s/tapes. These recordings also count towards your grade in the class.

I’ll be filling you in on more details as we get closer to the deadline so stay tuned!

Please don’t hesitate to contact me directly with any questions or comments.


Here’s to a successful Honor Band season in 2014/2015!

Musically yours,

Catherine Yim

Honor Band Coordinator



Honor Band Websites:

http://www.cmea-cs.org/ = Capital Section Honor Band

http://ncbaonline.net/ = All-Northern Honor Band

http://cbda.org/ = All-State Honor Band


2014 Calendar (per websites):

  • CMEA Capital Section January 8-10,2015, with seating auditions/rehearsal on Jan. 5, in Sacramento
  • NCBA All Northern January 16-18, 2015 in University of Pacific
  • CBDA All-State Feb. 19-22, 2015, in Fresno


  • Now – mid-November: get your music and practice!
  • Tuesday November 18, 2014: All Forms and money due to Mrs. Lewis
  • Over Thanksgiving Break: Make sure all recordings are completed per instructions
  • Monday December 1, 2014: Recordings for All State and All Northern are due to Mrs. Lewis (with no exceptions!)
  • Friday December 5, 2014: Recordings for Capital Section due to Mrs. Lewis
  • Late December –February: Results published and Honor Band events take place.
  • Please note that High School musicians must audition live for seating placement at the first rehearsal of each honor band that they are accepted into using the same music as the recordings.

Honor Band forms can be found on Charms.    Charms Login

How the Honor Band process works:

  1. You print the scales off of the website and order/find the solo piece music for your instrument.    I highly recommend that you get the exact same music book and publisher that the CBDA website is stating.  They’re very particular about articulation and different editors may take different liberties with interpretation.  Typically, JWPepper has a link from the cbda website to help you order the correct music on-line.  Northridge Music in Citrus Heights is also very helpful.
  2. You practice your music for a long time!
  3. You determine which honor bands you want to audition for.  Last year, we had 3 different opportunities that included Capital Section Honor Band (in Sacramento), All-Northern Honor Band (in Stockton) and All-State Honor Band (in Fresno).  It appears that All-State Honor Orchestra will again be available during All-State Honor Band and the wind auditions may be considered for both as was done last year. The Band Director has responsibilities for each of these events (i.e., listening to audition CD’s or participating in seating auditions, etc…) in addition to a financial cost for the school. 
    • Another note to remember when choosing which honor bands to apply for is in reference to your calendar. Students typically must miss 1 – 2 days of school for each event to participate. Overnight venues will have additional hotel and meal expenses/fees to cover. Local events like Capital Section will have additional evening rehearsals. If you make it into the Honor Band, you are expected to participate so don’t take this decision too lightly!
  4. Recording: You set up a recording solution that works best for you. All-State Honor Band and All-Northern Honor Band only accept CD’s. Capital Section Honor Band accepts cassette tapes as well. If you do not have a recording solution at home, please contact Mrs. Lewis for help or ask one of your classmates.
  5. The recording requirements are identical for All-State and All-Northern. Cap Section is a subset of the same music and sometimes requires voice introduction on the recording which is different than All-State and All-Northern. you can review the recording instructions on each website.
  6. Finalize all of your audition CD’s, fill out all forms (separate for each honor group off of separate websites), and write a check to the EBSO for the sum of all of your auditions. Typically, each honor band that you choose to audition for charges anywhere from $35 - $45. Cap Section typically offers a portion to be refunded if the student does not make it in. All-State and All-Northern are non-refundable. Please see Mrs. Lewis for financial assistance if needed.
  7. Turn in all forms and check to Mrs. Lewis by Tuesday, *November 18th . I will take them all to Mr. McGuire for his signature in one group.
  8. We mail in the final envelopes that are due postmarked by December 1st with a prayer and a song!

Results are usually made available either through Mrs. Lewis, on-line, or by direct mailings to your home address within 3 weeks to 2 months depending on the timing of the venue.