The Henderson State University Brass Band has been highly successful in providing great music to central Arkansas. In addition to on-campus performances, the group frequently performs at the Arkansas All-State Music Conference and at regional high schools. It has also been featured on the Channel 7 Morning Show. In 2003 the Band competed in the North American Brass Band Championships in Little Rock, placing third in its division — only .6 points (of 300) from second place.
The large number of brass students at Henderson and the desire to expose them to the exciting literature and technical demands of brass band music led Dr. Wes Branstine, Professor of Low Brass, to found the Band in 1996. He was assisted in his endeavors by Dr. Jim Buckner, Professor of Trumpet, and a former member of the Smoky Mountain and Mississippi River Brass Bands. Since that time over 100 Henderson students have been members of this band. Several have gone on to join other brass bands after graduation.
Although most students are music majors, other members study aviation, business, computer science, or any of a number of degrees offered by HSU. Membership is on an audition basis.
Guest artists frequently appear with the HSU Brass Band, including Sergeant Major Woody English, (trumpet soloist for the U.S. Army Band, “Pershing’s Own” in Washington, D.C.) and Ed Caroll, formerly euphonium soloist with the United States Military Academy Band at West Point. Caroll’s many students include Bill Himes and Jim Curnow.