MP26: Banding Together: Exploring the Collegiate Wind Band as a Vehicle for Community, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion


Banding Together connects collegiate faculty and wind band musicians with the goal of collaborating with composers from historically marginalized populations.

Active since: 2022

Closed Group of Collaborators

  • Syracuse University
  • Cornell University

Collaborative Goals

The Working Group will develop and lead activities designed to 1) foster community between students enrolled in concert wind bands at our respective institutions, and 2) facilitate student collaboration with established and emerging composers from historically marginalized populations. The activities will take the form of in-person or virtual composer residencies coupled with a conductor exchange program and joint community-building activities. Each composer residency will culminate in performances of the composer’s music at both institutions. These performances will be jointly conducted by members of the Working Group, will feature an in-person or virtual composer talk, and will be open to the public with free admission. Through these performances, the Working Group will promote the visibility of Banding Together programs and advocate for the creation of similar initiatives at peer institutions.

Group Organizers

Bradley Ethington

Professor, Applied Music and Performance (Conducting); Program Coordinator, Conducting; Director, University Bands; Winds/Brass/Percussion Area Coordinator, Syracuse University

James Spinazzola

Barbara and Richard T. Silver ’50, MD ’53 Assistant Professor, Director of Winds, Cornell University

Mark Davis Scatterday

Professor of Conducting & Ensembles, Conductor, Eastman Wind Ensemble and Eastman Wind Orchestra, University of Rochester

Timothy Diem

Assistant Professor, Applied Music and Performance (Conducting); Assistant Director, University Bands, Syracuse University

Group Members

  • Dr. James Spinazzola, Conductor, Cornell University
  • Dr. Bradley Ethington, Director of Bands, Syracuse University
  • Dr. Timothy Diem, Associate Director of Bands, Syracuse University


Banding Together

Nov. 7, 2022, 4:45 p.m.

Group Outcomes

The grant project resulted in an expansion of collaborative networks for both students and faculty, and our guest conductor exchange presented an outstanding opportunity for our students to collaborate with another university conductor. The composer commission with Dr. Catherine Likhuta was an excellent opportunity for our students to participate in the premiere of an outstanding new work in the repertoire. Dr. Likhuta’s engagement with student composers and instrumentalists was an outstanding educational experience, covering issues of composition, performance, and building careers as musicians.

Expansion of Collaborative Network

Through our collaboration with composer Dr. Catherine Likhuta (Australia), we have established international professional and musical connections that have resulted in discovery and performance of new repertoire for wind ensemble, especially music by Dr. Likhuta and other composers from underrepresented groups in an expanding network of national and international conductors and composers.

Guest Conductor Exchange

As part of our grant activities, Dr. James Spinazzola and Dr. Bradley Ethington rehearsed and guest conducted each other's wind ensembles in performance at Cornell University and Syracuse University. This fruitful collaboration was an opportunity for the students in each ensemble to work with a university guest conductor, rehearsing and performing a work by our guest composer, Dr. Catherine Likhuta.

Composer Commission - Dr. Catherine Likhuta

The grant collaboration resulted in the commissioning of a new work for brass ensemble and solo viola, "A Place That Is Yours" by Dr. Catherine Likhuta. The commission was made by Cornell University with assistance from Syracuse University. The work was given its world premiere by the Cornell University Wind Ensemble, Dr. James Spinazzola, conductor, in Fall 2022, with a subsequent performance by the Syracuse University Wind Ensemble, Dr. Bradley Ethington, conductor, in Spring 2023. The work is dedicated to Dr. Steven Stucky, longtime member of the composition faculty at Ithaca College.

Engagement with student composers and instrumentalists

During Dr. Likhuta's grant residency, she engaged in discussions, rehearsals, and demonstrations with student composers and instrumentalists at Syracuse University and Cornell University. These interactions focused on Dr. Likhuta's music and the works being rehearsed and performed, but also included a wider discussion of music performance, repertoire, and current issues in the music world.