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Prairie Winds Festival
Spring 2016

February 5 - 7, 2016

Click to download the 2016 Prairie Winds Festival poster

We are now accepting registrations for the 2016 Prairie Winds Festival. Register by December 15th for guaranteed acceptance. Late registrations will continue to be reviewed. Register here.

The 13th annual Prairie Winds Festival will take place at the University of Kansas on the first weekend in February. The Prairie Winds Festival encourages the musical growth of high school musicians of all levels. The festival provides advanced instruction for high school wind and percussion performers in a supportive and fun environment.  Each year, students from across the United States converge on the historic KU campus to take part in this unique musical opportunity. All high school musicians are invited to participate. Students who make All State in 2016 will receive a full scholarship to the festival (excluding the registration fee).  


The University of Kansas faculty will work directly with students throughout the weekend. This will include master classes, clinics, chamber music coaching sessions, and wind ensemble rehearsals. 

Paul W. Popiel, Director of Bands
Matthew O. Smith, Associate Director of Bands
Sharon Toulouse, Assistant Director of Bands
Vince Gnojek, saxophone
Scott Watson, tuba and euphonium
Michael Compitello, percussion 

Festival Format

During the festival students will participate in master classes, perform in chamber ensembles, and perform with select wind ensembles. The festival concludes with performances at KU's celebrated Lied Center. Please click here for the 2016 festival schedule. 

Festival Fee

The Prairie Winds Festival fee is $120 plus a $40 non-refundable registration fee. Total cost of the festival is $160. The fee includes the cost of housing and all meals (excluding lunch on Saturday). Students who make All-State (band, orchestra, or jazz), will receive a full scholarship to the festival, except for the $40 registration fee. 

Commuter Option

Students may elect to commute to campus each day of the festival. The festival fee for commuters is $80. Students will participate in all events of the festival except those taking place at the hotel. Commuters will need to be present from 9:00 a.m. - 9:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, and 9:00 a.m. - 2:30 p.m. on Sunday.  


Non-commuting participants will stay at the Lawrence Holiday Inn. A trained staff of counselors will act as chaperones for the weekend. All meals are included except for lunch on Saturday. Students will need to bring enough money for lunch at a local restaurant during their free time on Massachusetts Street.  


Festival participants are responsible for providing their own transportation to The University of Kansas before and after the Prairie Winds Festival. During the festival, a bus will take students to all festival events. Lawrence is roughly one hour from the Kansas City International Airport (MCI).  Transportation to and from the airport is available if needed. For assistance with transportation, please contact festival coordinator Tonya Mitchell (tonmitch@ku.edu).


If you intend to audition for the KU School of Music, please make sure to check Yes in your registration! 


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Music students present hundreds of public concerts every year
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KU Wind Ensemble performed the world premiere of the symphony "In the Shadow of No Towers" at Carnegie Hall
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