Founded in 1898, the Wartburg College Concert Bands program is comprised of two ensembles —the Wind Ensemble and the Symphonic Band. Placement in the groups is determined by a yearly audition. Both groups represent students of all class standings and nearly all academic majors. The bands present joint and individual concerts throughout the year. Many of its 150 members are also involved in other music groups on campus, ranging from choirs to jazz bands, from campus ministry to student government.

The Wind Ensemble tours each spring and schedules an international tour every third year during Wartburg’s one-month May Term. In the spring of 2003, the Wind ensemble performed at New York City’s Carnegie Hall. The group toured Europe in ’97, ’01, ’04, and ’10 and Japan in May 2007 and 2013.

The first mention of a Wartburg Band comes in 1898, but it disappeared from all college records immediately after its founding and didn’t reappear again until 1914. The Great Depression forced the abandonment of the band program in 1931, but it was revived in 1937 until war year 1942 when the campus didn’t have enough qualified musicians. Following the war, however, the band program was resumed, and it has flourished since. In the fall of 1997 the Wartburg College Concert Band split into a two-band program. The resulting ensembles, the Symphonic Band and the Wind Ensemble, have retained the traditions and the same high standard of excellence. For these reasons the groups remain united under the title of the Wartburg College Concert Bands.

The Lord Bless You and Keep You serves as a farewell blessing to end concerts. It is performed immediately after Nearer My God to Thee, which signifies unity and love between each other and God.


Band Bonding: At the beginning of each year the WCCBs join together for a weekend of music, fun, and fellowship. It serves as a get-to-know-you experience as well as a time to get a jump on the musical aspects.

Family: The Wartburg College Concert Bands strive to treat each performer as a member of a family. Although the members come from a variety of places and backgrounds this bond of family and love is something important to the ensemble.

Singing: The WCCBs believe that although they are an instrumental ensemble, they can sing also! There are several songs near and dear to the program and serve in specific capacities. Table Prayer: This song is sung before every meal that the WCCBs share together. This includes band bonding, run-out weekends, and tours. Wartburg Loyalty: This song is the official closer to every meal and gathering that the group holds. Doxology: This traditional hymn is sacred to the group. It serves as a prayer before every concert the WCCBs give.

Director History: Ernst Heist (1935-46), Edfield Odegard (1946-52), Ernest Hagen (1952-58), Dr. Robert E. Lee (1958-95), Dr. Craig Hancock (1995-present)


The Wartburg Wind Ensemble tours the U.S. every spring and abroad every three years.


2020-21 MEMBERS

Mallory Laube, Dike
Erin Capper, Solon
Raegen Matthews, Johnston
Jaki Dembouski, St. Paul, Minn.
Megan Bywater, Iowa City

Carly VanKeulen, Rochester, Minn.
Jenna Smuszkiewicz, Belvidere, Ill.
Adam Schmuck, Denver, Colo

Greta Christianson, Shawnee, Kan.
Eva Schoell, Lisle, Ill.

Bethany Zenk, New Hampton
Cambria Jacobs, Waconia, Minn.
Hannah Sprague, Mounds View, Minn.
Katie Doyle, Farley
Vivian Browne, DeWitt
Jen Diemer, Sycamore, Ill.
Katie Rinnman, Bloomington, Minn.
Leah Morrison, Mason City

Bass Clarinet 
Zack Merrifield, Booneville

Alto Sax 
Natalie Shroyer, Owatonna, Minn.
Gavin Foust-Wollenberg, Cascade

Tenor Sax 
Audra Schultz, North Liberty

Bari Sax 
John Hoehn, Waseca, Minn.

Carlee Bertram, Dumont
Carter Johanningmeier, Charles City
Josie Hemesath, Waterloo
Brenna Hamborg, Bondurant
Emily Reedy, Minooka, Ill.
Cassie Benge, West Des Moines

French Horn 
Rachel Green, DeWitt
Ridley Mullenbach, Beaver Dam, Wis.
Michaela Sperry, Davenport
Anna Galioto, Urbandale
Abigail Gerth, Ankeny

Spencer Dodgen, Story City
Zach Abbey, Johnston
Trevor Loewe, Bemidji, Minn.
Kobe Schmuecker, Atkins
Nicholas Tremel, Newton

Bass Trombone 
Jared Knapp, Humboldt

David Guetzlaff, Clear Lake 

Danielle Peterson, Watertown, Minn.
Ethan DeGroote, Corwith

String Bass 
Raeleigh Tripp, DeWitt 

Ezra Andersen, Atlantic
Chandler Njus, Fredericksburg
Jordan Rhine., Des Moines
Malena Rumelhart, Guthrie Center
Isabel Schneider, North English
Aubrey Vitense, Tipton
Vaalik Wachmann, Waverly


Craig A. Hancock

Professor of Music