Department of Music

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

Eric Colgrove
Director of the Wind Ensemble and Orchestra

Bio coming soon!

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

Andrew Cook joined the music faculty at Harding University in 2014 where he teaches clarinet and saxophone and serves as the director of the Harding University Jazz Band.  Prior to coming to Harding, he served on the faculties of Ohio Valley University and Faulkner University, and taught as an adjunct instructor of saxophone at Alabama State University, Eastern Nazarene University and the Longy School of Music. 

Previously a member of the Boston Saxophone Quartet and Odyssey Saxophone Quartet, he currently collaborates with percussionist Wesley Parker in the saxophone/marimba duo, Intersect.  Cook has performed as both a jazz and classical performer throughout the eastern US, including presentations at the Longy School of Music, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the Alabama Music Educators Association the Arkansas Saxophone Symposium, as well as a number of faculty and guest recitals.  He is a frequent performer of new music, and most recently gave the world premiere of three compositions for saxophone and marimba at the 2018 Conference of the North American Saxophone Alliance.

Dr. Cook received the Bachelor of Music degree from the College of Wooster, the Master of Music degree from The Boston Conservatory and the Doctor of Musical Arts from Boston University. His saxophone teachers include Kenneth Radnofsky, Curtis Johnson and Jose Rua. 

Meet the Bands

Thundering Herd Marching Band

Trumpets new uniformsThe Thundering Herd Marching Band is the biggest and loudest spirit organization on campus.  We aim to energize and entertain the crowd while supporting Harding University athletics and promote the wonderful spirit of collegiate athletics.

The Thundering Herd Marching Band performs at all home football games (averaging 5-6 per season), and selected fall exhibitions, and parades. Membership in the Thundering Herd is open to woodwind players, brass players and percussionists, even those that may not have had the opportunity to march before. Our band program also represents students from all academic colleges on campus.  Auditions for new members occur in the Spring and early Summer and can be scheduled by request with Dr. Parker. Marching Band can also help financially as scholarships are available for all students and are awarded based upon the quality of the audition.  Once a student is accepted into the marching band, they do not have to re-audition each year.

The Thundering Herd begins each season with an intense, one week long marching band camp on campus prior to the start of the fall semester. During this time students review marching fundamentals, learn and review drum major commands,  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, and enjoy a variety of fun nightly recreational activities.  At this time each member will also be fitted for a uniform and issued a school instrument(percussion, sousaphones, baritones, and mellophones).

 Will I have enough time?  That is the most common question that a student has when deciding if they will continue to play in college.  A large majority of our students are surprised to find out that they will spend less than they did in their competitive (often even the non-competitive) high school marching band.  Instead of rehearsing every day like most high school programs, the weekly schedule during the semester includes rehearsals from 3:10-5:30 on Monday and Friday at the marching band rehearsal field and a 7:00-9:00 pm stadium rehearsal on Tuesday.  On game day, the Thundering Herd will also have a continuity rehearsal from 9:00-10:00 am.  In college, every Friday is free!  Members of the Thundering Herd Marching Band will only be busy on approximately 1/3 of the weekends during the Fall semester.  Sectionals are called as needed by each section leader and may include instruction from music faculty who specialize in the specific instrument when needed.

The drum majors for each Fall are decided in the preceding Spring semester.  Drum Major auditions are held in late April and will be decided by Dr. Parker with input from the band leadership committee.  The music for the audition will be available approximately four weeks prior to the audition.

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

Jazz Band Spring 2017

The 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

HU Wind Ensemble 16-17

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.  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

April 19, 2018
Dr. Michael Chance, conductor

Whatsoever Things - Mark Camphouse
The Green Hill - Bert Appermont
       Shawn Coleman - Euphonium Soloist
Divertimento for Eleven Instruments - Gary Ziek
      -Prelude and Tarantella
Lincolnshire Posy - Percy Grainger
      -Horkstow Grange
      -Rufford Park Poachers
      -Lord Melbourne
      -The Lost Lady Found
Jericho Rhapsody - Morton Gould

February 22, 2018
Dr. Michael Chance, conductor

New England Triptych - William Schumann
      -Be Glad Then, America
      -When Jesus Wept
      -Chester Overture
Old American Songs, Part II - Aaron Copland/Trans. W. Silvester
      Benjamin Rorabaugh, soloist
      -The Little Horses
Zion's Walls
      -The Golden Willow
      -At the River
      -Ching-a-ring Chaw

Away Without Leave - Bob Becker
      Harding University Percussion Ensemble
American Overture for Band - Joseph Wilcox Jenkins
Marching Song of Democracy - Percy Grainger
National Emblem March - E.E. Bagley

February 28, 2017
Dr. Michael Chance, conductor

Pineapple Poll, mvt. 1  -  Sullivan/ed. Mackerras
One Life Beautiful  -  Julie Giroux
Espada de Oro!  -  Charles Booker
Military Symphony in F  -  Gossec/arr. Goldman/Leist
Concerto for 23 Winds, mvt. 1  -  Walter Hartley
The Star Spangled Banner  -  John Williams
Shenandoah  -  arr. Donald Grantham
An American Elegy  -  Frank Tichelli
Lincoln  -  Williams/arr. Bocook
     Trumpet soloist:  Devin Daniel
The Cowboys  -  Williams/arr. Curnow


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



Celebration Overture - Zdechlik

Entry of the Gladiators - Fucik

Luminescence - Biedenbender

Symphony for Wind Ensemble - Ewazen

Audition Information

For acceptance into the band program at Harding, all prospective students are required to complete an audition with the band faculty.  The audition will consist of two short prepared pieces of music of your choosing as well as sight reading.  This audition will serve as acceptance into the Marching Band, Pep Band, Wind Ensemble and Orchestra. There will not be separate concert band and marching auditions.  Upon completion of this audition, each prospective student will be in automatic consideration for a band participation scholarship.  Scholarships are given to those students who play the audition well, commit to participating in the band program in the fall (marching band) and spring (concert band), and maintain a minimum 2.5 GPA.  Auditions preferably take place in the spring semester of a prospective student's senior year of high school and can be arranged on an individual basis Mondays through Fridays during the semester.  Summer auditions and auditions for those living far from Arkansas can also be arranged.  To set up an audition or for additional information, please contact:

Eric Colgrove, Director of Bands and Instrumental Coordinator, 501-279-4575,
Dr. Wesley Parker, Director of Athletic Bands and Percussion 501-279-4857,
Dr. Andrew Cook, Director of Jazz Band and Woodwinds 501-279-4479,

Contact Us

Bands is part of the Music Department