Northwest High School Honor Band

The Northwest High School Honor Band has been POSTPONED and will be rescheduled for April 1-2, 2022.

January 7-8, 2022
Pacific Lutheran University

The Northwest High School Honor Bands will feature music performed by approximately 250 of the finest high school musicians from Idaho, Oregon and Washington. These outstanding high school students are recommended for participation in the event by their high school band directors and the concert is a culmination of two days of intense rehearsals with guest clinicians.

Honor Band is hosted by Pacific Lutheran University under the direction of Dr. Ed Powell and Dr. Ron Gerhardstein.

Honor Band Schedule

For School of Arts and Communication Guest artists/lecturers (class, performance, or masterclass) and all non-PLU participants at enrichment events:

  • Proof of COVID-19 vaccination (or proof of negative COVID-19 PCR test taken within 72 hours of the start time) prior to the event. Those younger than 12 are excluded from this policy.
  • Mask wearing throughout the event (exceptions as noted below).
    • At the discretion of the respective faculty member or performance director, masks may be removed by students (and faculty/director) when actively engaging in rehearsal and/or performance of university sponsored performances, productions, and events as well as for similar discipline-specific performance-based classes in music, theatre, and dance.

Dr. Vu Nguyen

Professor Vu Nguyen currently teaches at University of the Pacific, having previously taught at the University of Connecticut where he served as Director of Wind Ensembles and Conducting.

Prior to his appointment at the University of Connecticut, he served as the Director of Bands at the University of Indianapolis, was a conductor of the Wind Ensemble at Washington University in St. Louis, and was a visiting conductor of the Indiana University Concert Band. He began his career teaching in the public schools of San Ramon, CA.

Dr. Nguyen has conducted throughout the western United States and in Japan. He maintains an active schedule as a clinician and has served as guest conductor with the United States Air Force Bands of the Golden West and Mid-America, as well as regional honor bands in northern California, Missouri, Illinois and Indiana. Ensembles under his direction have been invited to perform at state music educator conferences in California and Indiana, at the Midwest Clinic, and most recently at the 2020 College Band Directors National Association Eastern Division Conference. His research interests focus on contemporary wind band literature, the music of Frank Zappa, and conducting pedagogy. His book chapter on composer Carter Pann was published in the fifth volume of A Composer’s Insight: Thoughts, Analysis, and Commentary on Contemporary Masterpieces for Wind Band (Meredith Music Publications).

A native of the San Francisco Bay Area, Dr. Nguyen earned a Bachelor of Music in Music Education from University of the Pacific, a Master of Music in Conducting from the University of Oregon, and a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Conducting from the University of Washington.

In addition to his academic career, Dr. Nguyen continues to serve as an officer in the Air National Guard (ANG) where he is the commander/conductor of the ANG Band of the West Coast. In this position, he is responsible for all activities of the 40-member squadron, including participation in ceremonies, parades, concerts and other public performances. The Band of the West Coast is one of five ANG Bands in the United States covering an eight-state area of responsibility that includes California, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Wyoming.

Dr. Tonya Mitchell-Spradlin

Dr. Tonya Mitchell-Spradlin is the Assistant Director of Bands and Associate Director of Athletic Bands at the University of South Carolina. There, she assists with the Carolina Band, directs the women’s basketball band, and conducts the University Band. Dr. Mitchell-Spradlin also teaches courses in the music education department and oversees student teachers. Prior to her appointment at USC, she served as interim Director of Athletic Bands at Valdosta State University in Valdosta, GA, and spent four years as band director at Chamblee Charter High School in Chamblee, GA.

Dr. Mitchell-Spradlin is a frequent adjudicator, clinician, and speaker. As a proponent of new music, she led the consortium and premiere of Aaron Perrine’s Beneath a Canvas of with the University of Kansas Wind Ensemble to complete her doctoral studies. Her research on Joan Tower’s Fanfares for the Uncommon Woman is published in the Alta Musica journal; she also presented this research at the International Society for the Promotion of Wind Band in Oberwölz, Austria. Additionally, Dr. Mitchell-Spradlin serves as New Music Editor for the Women Band Director’s International Journal. As a champion for women in music, she was honored to speak in the 2018 Tau Beta Sigma Women in Music series.

Dr. Mitchell-Spradlin received her Bachelor of Music Education degree with a minor in wind conducting from Indiana University where she was also drum major of the Marching Hundred. She holds a Master of Music Education degree from the University of Georgia, and a Doctor of Musical Arts in Wind Conducting degree from the University of Kansas. Dr. Mitchell-Spradlin is a member of Kappa Kappa Psi National Honorary Band Fraternity, and an honorary member of Tau Beta Sigma.

High school directors, please use the link provided below to nominate and recommend students that you would like to participate in the Northwest High School Honor Band. The nomination deadline is October 10, 2021 We ask that before nominating a student, please check with each student concerning their availability. There is a participant fee of $110 for each student participating in the Honor Band.

Link to the Honor Band information letter, schedule.

Nominations for January 2022 will be open September 1, 2021 to October 10, 2021:

Honor Band Nominations

Honor Band Registration will be made available following the designated nomination period.

Once nominations have been reviewed Honor Band participants will be notified of acceptance via email and provided access to registration. Once received, please complete registration and payment using the link provided by December 15, 2021.

  • Participant fees: $110 (non-refundable) / Deadline: December 15, 2021.
  • A link of the recorded performance will be shared with participants following the event.

Please note that no refunds will be allowed after event registration has been completed, and no registration or payment will be accepted following the deadline of December 15, 2021.

Audition Materials for Chair Placement

After participant’s check in on April 1st, chair placement auditions will be held in various rooms in the Mary Baker Russell Music Center. Please open and print the PDF version of your part for your instrument and practice prior to the April 1st check in.

Flute, Oboes, Clarinet (B-Flat), Clarinet (Bass), Clarinet (Contra Bass), Bassoon, Sax (Alto), Sax (Bari), Sax (Tenor), Trumpet/Cornet, French Horn, Trombone, Euphonium TC, Euphonium BC, Tuba, Mallets, Snare Drum, Timpani, Double Bass

APRIL 2, 2022

5:00pm performance
Northwest High School
Concert Band


6:30pm performance
Northwest High School
Symphonic Band

The concerts are held in Lagerquist Concert Hall in the Mary Baker Russell Music Center. Free Admission / No Tickets.

General information regarding your time at PLU for Honor Band

ATTIRE: For the performances, students should plan on wearing standard concert attire that they would normally wear for school performances. Aside from the concerts, casual dress is appropriate.