Posed photo of Marching Mules in front of Admin Building


Bands at UCM

If you have an interest in playing in a band as a UCM student—music major or not—then we have a place for you. Whether you are performing newly commissioned compositions in Carnegie Hall with the Wind Ensemble, performing with the Boston Brass and the UCM Marching Mules in Arrowhead Stadium, or recording with the UCM Jazz Ensembles in UCM’s world renowned recording studios: your experiences with a UCM Band will be rewarding and of the highest quality.

Want to Learn More? Click here to complete a prospective member form.

Faculty and Staff

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Pursell, Dr. Anthony

Associate Professor
Director of Bands
Utt 202E
(660) 543-4680

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Aaberg, Dr. David

Jazz Commercial Music
HUD 118
(660) 543-4909

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Baumanis, Julia

Assistant Director of Bands and Director of Athletic Bands
Utt 202D
(660) 543-8508

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Smith, Alex

Assistant Professor
HUD 116
(660) 543-4681

Marching Band Staff

Grigsby, Gary - Announcer

Fergason, Jill - Twirling Coach

McClaflin, Ian - Assistant Marching Percussion Coordinator

Stark, Shelby - Twirling Coach

Westmoreland, Rebecca - Color Guard Coordinator


Click here for all UCM Bands audition materials

(Chamber Winds and Wind Ensemble, Symphonic Band, Marching Band, Basketball Pep Band, Color Guard [fall], and Winterguard)

Click here for Marching Percussion audition materials (Prospective Students --> Marching Percussion)


Ensembles at the University of Central Missouri are open to all students regardless of major. Most ensembles require an audition and it is recommended that students contact the conductor of the ensemble they are interested in joining for more information.

Chamber Winds and Wind Ensemble

Dr. Anthony Pursell, Conductor

The Wind Ensemble is UCM’s premiere concert band and is open to all UCM students by audition. Auditions are held prior to the first day of classes each fall semester. The Wind Ensemble performs contemporary repertoire for wind ensemble and concert band as well as some of the most important core literature; they are also actively involved in commissioning and premiering new works for winds and percussion by both established and emerging composers.

The Wind Ensemble performs at least two concerts each semester in Hendricks Hall, a Chamber Winds recital in Hart Recital Hall, and at university commencements at the end of each semester. In addition, the Wind Ensemble frequently tours throughout the region. Significant performances include the 2014 Southwest Division Conference of the College Band Directors National Association at the University of Arkansas; 2008, 2011, and 2015 performances at the Missouri Music Educators Association Conference; featured performances in New York's famed Carnegie Hall (2010 and 2016); and the UCM President's Concert at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts.

Symphonic Band

Mr. Conner Tipping, Conductor

The UCM Symphonic Band performs three concerts annually and is open to all UCM students. Chair placement auditions are held during the fall semester for participation in the November Winter Bands Concert, with rehearsals beginning at the conclusion of the Marching Mules season. Students who join only for the spring semester will complete their chair placement audition before classes resume after Winter Break.

Students in the Symphonic Band come from all the colleges on UCM campus and have one common mission: to enjoy performing music with other students. The music performed comes from many sources stemming from standard literature of the mid-late twentieth century to modern works composed recently. The ensemble offers music education majors the opportunity to fulfill scholarship obligations in the spring semester and as a home for those in the Wind Ensemble to perform on a secondary instrument through audition.

Jazz Bands

Dr. David Aaberg, Director

The UCM Jazz Bands provide an opportunity for all UCM students to experience performing Jazz at a high level. The program has two big bands, both which serve the campus and regional community in entertaining programs consisting of classic big band charts and contemporary literature. Click here for more information about UCM’s Jazz & Commercial Music Program.

Marching Mules

Dr. Anthony Pursell, Director

The UCM Marching Mules have a tradition of serving the institution as the musical ambassadors for the university community. Consisting of students from almost every department and major on campus, the Marching Mules provide excitement on and off the field during the football season. All members of the Marching Mules receive a $600 service award for their participation, and additional scholarships may be available depending on the student's performance ability and availability to audition for other UCM Music ensembles.

To audition for the Marching Mules, incoming freshmen should complete the prospective member form by clicking here. Once completed, students will be contacted about setting up an audition date on campus or through an acceptable platform (unlisted YouTube link, Skype audition, etc.). Students who wish to audition during their summer orientation session are allowed to do so; however, scholarship funds will likely be completely depleted by that time.

Auditions usually consist of the student performing one or two scales, two contrasting excerpts (something technical and something lyrical), and a short sight-reading excerpt. In many cases a student will simply audition on something they have already prepared for solo/ensemble or an honor band audition. Students are recommended to audition prior to the UCM Music’s February Audition Days, as scholarship funds are assigned quickly after that date. For more information, please contact Dr. Anthony Pursell, Director of Bands.

UCM Script

Basketball Pep Band

Mr. Conner Tipping, Director

The UCM Basketball Pep Band performs at all men's and women's home basketball games and during postseason travel for the MIAA and NCAA tournaments. In 2018, the pep band traveled with the Jennies all the way to the National Championship game, bringing home the second title in school history.

To qualify for the Basketball Pep Band, students must be members of the UCM Marching Band for at least one semester. Current freshmen who are enrolled in Marching Band are eligible to participate. Each member of the Pep Band receives a $400 service award for their participation. Auditions are typically held in mid-October and will be announced on this page, through social media, and during the Marching Band rehearsals.

NCAA Championship


The UCM Band program offers local and regional band directors many opportunities to enhance their students' music education experiences through high-quality and meaningful events on the Warrensburg campus. From athletic band events to the concert hall, the UCM Band program has something for every band of every size and level of proficiency. In addition, middle school and high school students have a number of opportunities to heighten their performance skills and receive a personal edge for honor band and college entrance auditions.


Festival of Champions

October 19, 2019

The UCM Bands have been proud to host 38 years of outstanding high school marching band competition in the Midwest. The Festival of Champions is in its 18th season (2018), following the excellent tradition set by Music Bowl Missouri from 1978-1998. The competition is sanctioned by the Missouri High School Activities Association and provides an exciting opportunity for all students, their parents, and directors.

Click here for general information about Festival of Champions

Click here to register for Festival of Champions

Click here to access specific information about this year’s event


Homecoming Parade/Band Day

October 12, 2019

The UCM Bands host high school band programs from around the region to enjoy performing at a UCM home football game and homecoming parade in front of a large and appreciative crowd. The parade competition is sanctioned by the Missouri High School Activities Association and provides an exciting opportunity for all students.

Click here for general information about Homecoming Parade/Band Day

Click here to register for Homecoming Parade/Band Day

Click here to access specific information about this year’s event


UCM Jazz Festival

Visit the Jazz & Commercial Music Degree Page for more information about the UCM Jazz Festival.


Claude T. Smith Invitational Band Festival

April 27, 2019

Named after the legendary composer Claude T. Smith for his devotion to music education and wind-band literature, the Invitational Band Festival is an opportunity for students and their director to enjoy an end-of-year experience with a visiting composer and master clinician. Three to five high school bands are invited to the UCM campus to enjoy music making, visiting with the guest composer and clinician, and attending a concert provided by the UCM Wind Ensemble with the guest composer conducting their music. In 2018, the UCM Band program hosted alumni David and Winona Holsinger.

Click here for general information about Claude T. Smith Invitational Band Festival

Click here to access specific information about this year’s event

Future Members

Want to know more about the UCM Band Program? Let us know more about you by completing the Prospective Member Form.


Dr. Anthony Pursell, Director of Bands

Thank you for visiting the UCM Band Program's website. Throughout this site you will find useful information about our program, people, and the experiences you can gain as a member of the UCM Band Program. It does not matter if you plan to be a music major or one of the other majors offered on our campus - if you have an interest in continuing your music-making experience as a UCM student, we have a place for you.

Choosing a college or career path is one of the most important decisions facing high school students. The faculty and staff at UCM are committed to giving you as much relevant information as possible so you are able to make an informed decision. If you would like to receive more information about the University of Central Missouri and the Band Program, please complete this very short form. Completing this form does not obligate you to anything, but will allow us to send you information that may aid in your decision about your future.

If you plan to visit the Warrensburg campus, I am very happy to visit with you and your family. If you would let your admissions representative know that you want to meet with me, they will make certain to get your visit on my calendar. I am also happy to visit via phone or email. My direct line is 660-543-4680 and you can email me at your convenience at the following address: apursell@ucmo.edu.



Solara Martin, Sophomore Clarinet Performance Major

There are many reasons why I chose the University of Central Missouri and why I would make that same decision a thousand times over, but I will just tell you about two very important reasons: the faculty and the students.

My biggest deciding factor when looking at schools was the faculty. Here at UCM, the average student teacher ratio is 19:1 and half of its classes have twenty students or less. This allows one-on-one relationships with all professors on campus, something you simply do not see at other universities. Along with the small class sizes, our faculty are among the best in the nation. Within the music department, professors are constantly performing all over the nation and the world. Not only are they amazing teachers, but these professors are constantly bettering themselves within their profession. The most important thing that I have noticed about our faculty is how personable they all are. They only want the best for you and will do anything to help you succeed.

At this university, you will become friends with some of the most amazing people in this world. My peers are a big reason I would choose this school again and again. Everyone is family and only wants to see you succeed. My peers have done nothing but build me up and offer me a network of support and I would not be where I am in my musical career if I did not have these people in my life. People like this are the ones you want to surround yourself with, and those are the people you will be surrounded by at this school.

Please, if you have any questions, e-mail any professor and they will be happy to answer. You can also contact me at slm57250@ucmo.edu with any questions about student life here at UCM or to just make at least one connection before you come to school. I hope I will see you around campus, especially in UCM Music!



Pat Setser, Alumnus, Music Education, Associate Conductor (Kansas City Wind Symphony)

Many years ago I selected Central Missouri as the university I wanted to attend. I have never regretted that choice. I received an excellent education from high quality professors, who after my graduation, continued to mentor me. When those professors retired, their successors were just as friendly, supportive, and helpful as my original teachers. I gained lifelong friends and have enjoyed wonderful professional and personal relationships with many throughout these years.

Central is a school that cares about their students and their success for a lifetime. It is a place you can trust to give you straight advice and top notch instruction. I have sent many of my students to Central with full confidence that they would do well, work hard, and become successful no matter what field they chose. You always feel at home when you return. There is always a friendly face to welcome you.

Alumni and Giving

Whether graduates of Central Missouri State University or University of Central Missouri, our alumni have a long and loyal history with their Alma Mater. Continue your legacy by giving to the Band Development Account via the UCM Alumni Foundation or to one of our many endowed scholarships.


Opportunities for Alumni Engagement

Homecoming vs. Nebraska-Kearney; Saturday, October 27, 2018

Join alumni from the 1950s to this past year in cheering on the Mules, participating in the homecoming parade, attending the high school parade competition awards ceremony, cheering on the football team from the stands, and participating in our halftime show (no worries, we will limit the marching!). Register with the alumni band board by clicking here and enjoy a few hours with fellow alumni and current students at Homecoming!


Alumni Band Concert; Saturday, February 16, 2019 - Hendricks Hall

Rekindle relationships with colleagues old and new. This annual event brings alumni back to the Warrensburg campus to have a few hours of fun and music making in Hendricks Hall. To register for the Alumni Band Concert, please click here.


Warrensburg Community Band; Summer Schedule

Contact Dr. Russell Coleman, Director: bands@ucmo.edu

History of UCM Bands

The first band at what is now known as the University of Central Missouri was formed during the 1899-1900 academic year by Robert Zoll, an Instructor in Drawing. By 1904 there were two bands, and in 1909, under the direction of David W. Schlosser, the band was playing at chapel and for basketball games. The band acquired uniforms with navy-blue coats and hats in 1915 while R. J. Meyer was the director. 

Don Essig, who established a strong reputation as a director of circus and vaudeville bands, served as conductor from 1920 to 1941. Mr. Essig acquired a large collection of historic musical instruments and vaudeville-style sound-producing novelty devices such as alarm clocks, canes, and more. These are now a renowned permanent collection housed in the Kirkpatrick Library and the Utt Music Building on UCM campus. From the 1920s-1960s, student groups toured Greater Kansas City presenting programs in high schools and communities using these instruments.

Clifton A. Burmeister further developed UCM Bands as Director of Bands in 1945 when many World War II veterans with strong performance skills returned to school. The following members of the band during this period achieved state and/or national recognition: Frank Fendorf (high school band director at Chillicothe, Vice President of Wingert-Jones Music, Inc., Honorary Associate Member of the American Bandmasters Association); Edgar Summerlin (composer of the first Jazz Mass which was shown nationally on NBC Television); William [Bill] G.  Mack (high school band director at Park Hill, Director of Bands at Missouri Western University, President of Missouri Music Educators Association); Lowell H. Brunner (high school band director at Odessa and at Lindbergh High School in St. Louis); and Tom Price (high school band director at Cameron). Fendorf, Mack, Brunner and Price are all elected members to the Missouri Bandmasters Association Hall of Fame. Mack, Brunner and Price are elected members to the Missouri Music Educators Association Hall of Fame. Further indication of the band’s excellence may be found in the band library where compositions by Paul Hindemith, Arnold Schoenberg, Felix Mendelssohn, and similar composers were added during Burmeister’s tenure.

In 1947 the school was emerging from World War II, and the Navy training program held on the campus during wartime was being deactivated. The college was in the process of developing a new school spirit, and Dean I. L. Peters approached Clifton Burmeister, Director of Bands, and told him a school fight song was needed for the football game the next weekend. The composition, Go Mules!, was written over the weekend by Burmeister and has been adopted as the official school fight song. Mr. Burmeister was a graduate of Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, and later said that he patterned the song after the Northwestern Fight Song. The original score is framed and is on display in the Utt Music Building Instrumental Rehearsal Room. The current arrangement was written by David Holsinger in 1967. David was a graduate assistant with the band and a composition major. The extended second ending was written by Dr. Russell Coleman the same year.


The University Alma Mater was the winning entry in a 1962 contest and was composed by William S. Stoney, a Music Department faculty member. The words are by Carole Grainer. The current arrangement was written by Dr. Russell Coleman.

The program remained relatively stable until a new era began under the leadership of Dr. Eugene Rousseau (1962-64). The university began to experience enormous growth and larger numbers of instrumental music majors arrived on campus.

Dr. Russell Coleman became Director of Bands in 1964. The first time a band from Central played at a state, regional, or national event was in 1969 when the Concert Band was invited to present a concert at the Southwestern Division Conference of the Music Educators National Conference in St. Louis. Previously, the only off-campus concerts by Central Bands were occasional tours to play at regional high schools.    This concert established the Central Concert Band as a major ensemble at the state, regional, and later national level. Since that time, they have been invited to present concerts at ten MMEA programs, a second SWMENC concert, a Southwestern Division Conference program for CBDNA, and twice at the International Convention of the American Bandmasters Association. Nineteen members of the prestigious American Bandmasters Association have been guest conductors with the Concert Band.


Beginning in the mid 1970s the band developed a close relationship with Frank Erickson and Claude T. Smith, nationally recognized composers of music for the concert band. The UCM Band recorded many of their new compositions for distribution by the Summit Publishing Company and the Wingert-Jones Publishing Company. The band also recorded over 150 new compositions for the Belwin Publishing Company for use in their promotions. The Frank Erickson and Claude T. Smith Library containing their publications is housed in the Utt Music Building.

During his tenure as Director of Bands, Dr. Coleman was elected to membership in the prestigious American Bandmasters Association. After his retirement, he was elected to the Missouri Bandmasters Association Hall of Fame and the Missouri Music Educators Association Hall of Fame.

In the Spring of 2010 & 2016 the University Wind Ensemble presented concerts in Carnegie Hall in New York City under the direction of Dr. Scott Lubaroff..

The Marching Mules gained widespread recognition through their performances at professional sporting events. The first performance was for a Kansas City Chiefs game in 1963 and since that time they have performed 40 times for the Chiefs at Municipal and Arrowhead Stadiums. Their performances have been covered by ABC, CBS and NBC television. The Marching Mules performed four times for the St. Louis Cardinals. Performances for the Kansas City Royals and Kansas City Athletics Baseball teams including the opening game three times, the American League Championship Playoffs, and the World Series.

Graduates include numerous public school band directors, university applied music professors, and currently five university band directors. Two graduates of the program, Dr. David Holsinger and Dr. Gordon Ring, have been winners of prestigious national band composition contests.

The following have served as Director of Bands:

1899-1909 Robert L. Zoll

1909-1911 David Schlosser

1911-1913 Orley H. See

1913-1918 R. J. Meyer

1918-1919 Josephine Dixon

1920-1941 Don Essig

1941-1945 Al Bleckschmidt

1945 Marion Davies

1945-1952 Clifton A. Burmeister

1952-1956 Frank W. Lidral

1956-1962 Donald O. Braatz

1962-1964 Dr. Eugene Rousseau

1964-1996 Dr. Russell Coleman

1996-2004 Dr. Patrick Casey

2004-2005 Dr. Robert Gifford, Acting Director

2005-2017 Dr. Scott Lubaroff

2017-Present Dr. Anthony Pursell


Submitted May 5, 2010 by:

Dr. Russell Coleman

Director of Bands (1964-1996)

Central Missouri State University

Sources of material include information found in the University Rhetor housed in the University Kirkpatrick Library, and information provided by Frank Fendorf and Dr. Scott Lubaroff.

Marching Mules Pre-Season Information/Registration

This is the 'Central Hub' to prepare all members of the University of Central Missouri Marching Mules for the upcoming season. Please complete the four steps outlined here by the summer deadline. Go Mules and Go Band!

UCM Percussion

UCM Color Guard

For questions or more information about UCM Color Guard please contact our guard instructors:

Rebecca Westmoreland

Kathy Fisher


Anthony Pursell
Director of Bands
Utt 202E
Tel: (660) 543-4680


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