Music Department

Harding Bands

University Band at Harding offers the opportunity to participate in four ensembles: Wind Ensemble, Thundering Herd Marching Band, Jazz Band and Bison Pep Band.

Meet the Directors

Michael Chance
Director of the Wind Ensemble and Orchestra

Michael Chance

Dr. Chance became the Director of Bands at Harding University in 1996 after a 21-year career directing high school bands in the public schools of Texas. In 1998 he was appointed the director of the University Orchestra as well. He holds the Bachelor of Arts degree in music with teacher certification from Lubbock Christian University and the Master of Music degree in trombone performance from Midwestern State University and the Doctor of Musical Arts degree in conducting from the University of Memphis. His directing responsibilities at Harding include the University Wind Ensemble, the University/Community Orchestra, and various chamber music and special project groups within the department of music. Teaching responsibilities include advanced instrumental conducting, low brass private lessons and band and orchestra literature and techniques. He also serves as the department's coordinator of instrumental studies.

Chance's 23-year performance career includes posts as a trombonist with the Wichita Falls Symphony Orchestra, San Angelo Symphony Orchestra, Red River Lyric Opera Orchestra, San Angelo Community Band, and the Pine Bluff Symphony Orchestra. He also has performed with the Midland-Odessa Symphony Orchestra, Big Spring Symphony Orchestra, and South-Ark Symphony Orchestra. He is currently in his eleventh season as principal trombonist with the Little Rock Wind Symphony and was appointed Associate Conductor of that organization in 2010.

Chance is a frequent guest conductor, adjudicator and clinician for band and orchestra festivals and competitions in Arkansas, Tennessee and Texas. He has directed the Searcy Community Band and is a board member of the Searcy Community School of Music. Professional memberships include the Arkansas Bandmasters Association, the College Band Directors National Association and Phi Beta Mu, Texas Music Educators Association and the College Orchestra Directors Association.  He is a past president of the Arkansas unit of the College Band Directors National Association.

Chance and his wife Carla, a Lecturer in Chemistry at Harding University and a violinist, are the parents of three grown sons.

Wesley Parker
Director of the Thundering Herd Marching Band, Bison Pep Band and Percussion Ensemble

Wesley ParkerDr. Parker serves as the Director of Athletic Bands and Instructor of Percussion at Harding University, a position he assumed in the Fall of 2010. He also teaches the Harding University jazz band, percussion methods class, music theory, and music appreciation.  In addition these responsibilities, he is also an adjunct percussion instructor at Arkansas State University- Beebe in Beebe, AR. Prior to coming to Harding, Dr. Parker held the position of adjunct percussion instructor at Gulf Coast Community College in Panama City, FL.

Dr. Parker completed his doctoral studies in percussion performance at Florida State University, a Master's Degree in percussion performance from the University of Kentucky, and a Bachelor's Degree in percussion performance from the University of Memphis. His percussion teachers include Dr. John W. Parks IV, James Campbell, and Dr. Frank Shaffer. He has also received training in ethnic percussion from Ed Murray and drum set from Don Patterson. Dr. Parker has taught at many award winning high schools throughout Tennessee, Kentucky, Florida, Georgia, and Arkansas, including the BOA Grand National Finalist Lafayette High School in Lexington, KY, and Lincoln High School in Tallahassee, FL, which was recently invited to play at the Midwest International Band and Orchestra Clinic. He recently completed a tenure as the President of the Arkansas chapter of the Percussive Arts Society.

Professional performing experiences include the Memphis Symphony Orchestra and the Tallahassee Symphony Orchestra, as well as concerto soloist performances with the Little Rock Wind Symphony and the Harding University Wind Ensemble. Dr. Parker also keeps an active freelance schedule as a percussionist, teacher, arranger, and adjudicator. He is a proud endorser of Innovative Percussion, and a member of the Black Swamp Percussion Educator Network, College Band Directors National Association, Pi Kappa Lambda, Phi Kappa Phi, Golden Key International Honour Society, and The Gamma Beta Phi Society.

Dr. Parker and his wife, Jennifer, have three children, Ashley, Jameson, and Callie.

Andrew Cook
Andrew CookDirector of the Jazz Band

Bio coming...

Meet the Bands

Thundering Herd Marching Band

Trumpets new uniformsThe Thundering Herd Marching Band performs at all home football games and selected fall exhibitions and parades. Membership in the Thundering Herd is open to woodwind and brass player and percussionists from all majors. Auditions for new members occur in the Spring and can be scheduled by request with Dr. Parker. Marching Band scholarships are awarded based upon the quality of the audition.

The Thundering Herd begins each season with an intense marching band camp on campus prior to the start of the fall semester. During this time students review marching fundamentals, participate in sectionals led by members of the music faculty, participate in music rehearsals, as well as learn the pregame show and the first halftime show.

The typical weekly schedule during the semester includes rehearsals from 3:10-5:30 on Monday and Friday and a 7:00-9:00 pm stadium rehearsal on Tuesday.  On game day, the Thundering Herd will also have a run-through rehearsal from 9:00-10:00 am.  The Thundering Herd will play at all home games, averaging six home games per season.  Sectionals are called as needed by each section leader and may include instruction from music faculty who specialize in the specific instrument.

The drum major for each fall is decided in the preceding Spring. Drum Major auditions are held in late April and will be decided by Dr. Parker with input from the band officers. For those interested in auditioning for drum major, please contact Dr. Parker for audition material. The music for the audition will be available approximately four weeks prior to the audition. The leaders of the Thundering Herd are elected by the band members and are responsible for organizing and preparing equipment for weekly rehearsals as well as planning devotionals, meals, movie nights and other activities for members.


How do I become a member?

Contact the band office at 501-279-4575. You will be sent audition music and information.

Prerequisite for membership: Proficiency playing your instrument and passing the required audition.


Jazz Band

jazz2013.jpgThe Harding University Jazz Band has been an integral part of the Department of Music since the early 1960's. Campus performances each semester offer the Harding campus community and White County residents opportunities to hear the group perform. The ensemble makes short trips during the school year to surrounding locations in Arkansas and is active in area jazz festivals. The group performs blues, swing, latin, funk and contemporary styles.

Since 1975 the Jazz Band has been featured in the university's annual musical extravaganza, Spring Sing. The group accompanies the hosts and hostesses in five shows to a 10,000+ audience. Membership in the ensemble is open to any university student through auditions at the beginning of each fall semester.

The ensemble is under the direction of Dr. Andrew Cook, Assistant Professor of Music.

How do I become a member?

Audition materials and sign up sheets are posted in the Reynolds Center at the beginning of the fall semester. All university students interested in participating in the jazz program are encouraged to audition.  Each audition will consist of prepared music as well as sight reading.

When and where does the jazz band rehearse?

The jazz band currently rehearses from 4:00 - 5:30 each Tuesday and Thursday afternoon in the band room (Reynolds M109).

Bison Pep Band

pepband.jpgThe Bison Pep Band, directed by Dr. Wesley Parker, is a group of brass, woodwind and percussion musicians who perform for all men's and women's home basketball games in Harding's famed Rhodes Field House.

Membership in the Bison Pep Band is limited to musicians who are current members of the Thundering Herd Marching Band and play the appropriate instruments. Scholarships are available to qualified members.

Wind Ensemble/Concert Band


Two Concert bands are offered at Harding University.  Membership in each is assigned based upon results of fall chair auditions.

The Wind Ensemble offers a premier band performance opportunity for advanced musicians.  The Concert Band offers campus-wide participation.  Membership in both groups is open to musicians of all majors who successfully complete the required audition. Limited scholarships are available for outstanding performers.

The Wind Ensemble presents concerts on campus and makes frequent tours within Arkansas and neighboring states. In addition, the group performs regularly as a guest ensemble at state conventions, festivals, and other events.

Repertoire for the Wind Ensemble includes standard band literature, event-oriented music, and new music for wind ensemble. The group sponsors frequent guest solo artist appearances and has premiered frequent new works. Both groups may function as a lab band for music education and conducting students. Chamber ensemble members and orchestral chairs are generally chosen from members of the Wind Ensemble.

How do I become a member?
Rigorous auditions for membership in the concert ensembles are held in late October. Sign-up lists are posted in the Reynolds Center and band hall for those who are interested.

Prerequisite: Proficiency on a band instrument and passing the audition.

Recent Wind Ensemble Repertoire


Wind Ensemble April 25, 2016
"Sound Prisms"
Dr. Michael Chance, Conductor
Dr. Wesley Parker, Guest Conductor
Garrison Gerard, Student Conductor

Fanfare from La Peri - Dukas
Finding Hope - Harnsberger
     HU Percussion Ensemble - Dr. Wesley Parker, director
Commando March -
Lumniescence -
Garrison Gerard, student conductor
Irish Tune from County Derry -
Riften Wed - Giroux
Overture for Wind Band, op. 24 -
Monk by the Sea -
Nobles of the Mystic Shrine -


Wind Ensemble February 25, 2016
Dr. Michael Chance, Conductor
Garrison Gerard, Student Conductor

Celebrations - Zdechlik
Variations for Wind Band - Vaughan Williams/Hunsberger
The Red Pony - Copland
     -Dream March & Circus Music
     -Walk to the Bunkhouse
     -Grandfather's Story
     -Happy Ending
Second Suite in F - Holst
     -Song without Words
     -Song of the Blacksmith
     -Fantasia on the Dargason
          Garrison Gerard, Conductor
The Sun Will Rise Again - Sparke
Bach's Fugue a la Gigue - Bach/Holst/Mitchell



Wind Ensemble April 28, 2015
Dr. Michael Chance, Conductor

To Walk With Wings - Julie Giroux
William Byrd Suite - Gordon Jacob

                The Bells
Four Scottish Dances -
The Gum-suckers March - Grainger/Rogers
Pursuit - Wiggains
Liberty Bell March - Sousa


Wind Ensemble March 3, 2015
Dr. Michael Chance, Conductor

Hammersmith - Holst
Homage to Perotin - Nelson
Colas Breugnon Overture - Kabalevsky
Bandancing - Stamp
An American Elegy - Tichelli


Woodwind Ensemble November 6, 2014
Dr. Michael Chance, Conductor

Serenade, op. 7 - Strauss
Petite Symphonie, op. 90 - Gounod


Brass Choir Oct. 2, 2014
Dr. Michael Chance, Conductor

Fanfare from La Peri - Dukas
Lento, from Dance Movements - Sparke
Symphony for Brass and Percussion - Reed


Contact Us

Bands is part of the Music Department