The Butler University Wind Ensemble, conducted by Prof. Michael J. Colburn, Director of Bands, has established a reputation for the highest standards of excellence in musical performance. Comprised of students from majors across the University, the band performs its home concerts at Butler's intimate Howard L. Schrott Center for the Arts. The band has also performed at conferences and conventions for the Indiana Music Educators Association, Music Educators National Conference, College Band Directors National Association, American Bandmaster's Association, the International Mid-Europe Conference in Schladming, Austria, the International Spring Music Festival in St. Petersburg, Russia, the Soirées Musicale de Bissen in Luxembourg, and the International Percussive Arts Society.
The Wind Ensemble has traveled extensively; In 2008, the Wind Ensemble took its second tour of Europe, traveling to Prague, Kremsmunster, Vienna, Luxembourg, and Amsterdam. Under the patronage of the U.S. Embassy, the band was honored to be the first American ensemble ever to perform at the international music festival, Soirées Musicale de Bissen, in Bissen, Luxembourg. Recently, the Wind Ensemble performed a concert tour in Italy and Greece during Spring Break in March of 2011.
The Wind Ensemble has had the privilege of working with numerous outstanding guest conductors, including H. Robert Reynolds, Dr. Frederick Fennell, Karel Husa, Col. Arnald Gabriel, Dr. William D. Revelli, Col. L. Bryan Shelburne, Col. John Bourgeois, Commander Allen Beck, Major Matthew Henry, Stephen Eggleston, Dr. John Colbert, Michael Leckrone, Dr. Eric Stark, Henry Leck, and many others.
Soloists who have appeared with the band include the American Brass Quintet, the Empire Brass Quintet, Doc Severinsen, Zack De Pue, Concertmaster of the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, Marianne Tobias, Kate Boyd, William Grubb, Larry Shapiro, Andrew Russo, Michael Strauss, Douglas Spaniol, Ross Walter, Sharon Searles, Melissa Williams, Nancy Davis Booth, Andrea Gullickson, Rolf Smedvig, Marvin Perry III, Allen Miller, Jared Rodin, Nicholas Brightman, Greg Imboden, Mark Gilgallon, Davis Brooks, Lisa Brooks, Csaba Erdelyi, and the Indianapolis Children's Choir.
The Butler Bands have a long and distinguished history of commissioning and premiering new works for the wind band. A partial list of composers whose works were either commissioned by, or premiered by the band include Eric Ewazen, Arnold Franchetti, James Beckel, Jr., Michael Schelle, Frank Felice, Robert Jager, Timothy Broege, James Syler, Michael Close, James Woodward, David Gillingham, Daron Hagen, Dong Wook Park, Bradley Nelson, and James Mulholland. Composers with whom the band has worked include, among others, Paul Chihara, Jennifer Higdon, Elliott Schwartz, Karel Husa, Samuel Hazo, Wallace De Pue, Stephen Gryc, and Paul Kilstofte.
YouTube performances of the Butler Wind Ensemble
- "Trumpets Eternally Sounding" by Rocky Reuter (Spring 2011 performance)
- "The Immovable Do" by Percy Grainger (Fall 2010 performance)
- "Irish Tune" (Spring 2011 performance)
- "Back to Old Fairview" (Fall 2010 performance)