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50th Anniversary Pioneer Summer Band Camp

Read more about the 50th anniversary of the Pioneer Summer Band Camp

PLATTEVILLE, Wis. – This year marks the 50th anniversary of the University of Wisconsin-Platteville’s Pioneer Summer Band Camp to be held Sunday, July 9-Saturday, July 15 at UW-Platteville. Deadline for registration is Tuesday, June 27.

The purpose of the camp is to provide middle school and high school music students from the tri-state area with opportunities to learn more about music from music faculty; gain knowledge to improve tone, technique and musicianship; and perform with other gifted young musicians. Last year, more than 121 students from 46 schools in three states participated in the event.

“Pioneer Summer Band Camp offers a comprehensive music experience focused on developing the student as a player,” said Dr. Barry Ellis, director of the UW-Platteville Pioneer Summer Band Camp and professor of music and director of bands at UW-Platteville. “It’s a place for students to grow musically in a fun and exciting learning environment.”

Participating in the camp is an inspiring, life-changing experience for many students, including Keely Liska, a sophomore music education major who has attended the camp four summers.

“Pioneer Summer Band Camp was the place where I developed my passion for music alongside fellow campers, now lifelong friends, who shared the same love as I,” said Liska. “I cannot express how important of a role camp was in guiding me to pursue music as a career at UW-Platteville.”

At camp, students will participate in one of two concert bands, master classes, sectionals and a basic theory class. In addition, they will have the chance to choose other class options, including conducting, world percussion, jazz techniques, advanced theory and music composition as well as participate in team-building activities and optional private lessons, for a fee, with camp faculty.

Students also will participate in one or more of the following musical performance opportunities: two concert bands for woodwind, brass and percussion students; a jazz ensemble, based on audition; and a jazz ensemble rhythm section, with members selected from camp participants who play piano, guitar, bass and drums.

Summer Band Camp instructional staff is comprised of UW-Platteville faculty and experienced teachers, chosen for their expertise in their fields.

Band conductors will include Ellis; Matthew Gregg, associate director of bands and director of the Marching Pioneers at UW-Platteville; and Monte Muller, who earned undergraduate and graduate degrees in music education from UW-Platteville and served as band director in the Wisconsin public school system for 36 years. Jazz Ensemble staff will include Allen Cordingley, professor of saxophone and director of Pioneer Pep Band at UW-Platteville.

As a culmination of the golden anniversary celebration of the camp, previous Pioneer Summer Band Camp campers, staff and faculty will join the camp’s Gold Band, the most advanced group, in presenting the world premiere of a commissioned composition, composed by Mike Forbes, on Saturday in the Brodbeck Concert Hall at 1:30 p.m. Conducted by Ellis, the composition is dedicated to the previous camp directors, Dr. William “Doc” Tietze, founder, and G. Daniel Fairchild, professor of music at UW-Platteville. The concert will end in a grand finale played by the above-named musicians, as well as the camp’s Blue Band, the band that includes most of the middle school students, in a work conducted by Muller.

A slideshow of photos from previous Pioneer Summer Band Camps – from the past seven decades, Ellis hopes – will be shown on a large screen in the concert hall before the concert and during intermissions for resetting the stage. Those who have photos from previous camps may email them to 50BandCamp@gmail.com. Following the concert, participants will gather at Steve’s Pizza Palace in Platteville to celebrate and renew old friendships. 

The camp is open to resident campers, who will be housed on campus in residence halls throughout the week, and commuters. Cost of the camp is $495 for resident campers, $320 for commuters (with meals included) and $280 for commuters (with no meals included). For more information or to register, go to: www.uwplatt.edu/summer-band-camp/staff-and-alumni-registration.

The concert and some of the rehearsals will be held in the Brodbeck Concert Hall. Other rehearsals and classes will be held in Center for the Arts’ rehearsal halls and a classroom in Doudna Hall.

Written by: Laurie A. Hamer, Communications Specialist, College of Liberal Arts and Education, 608-342-6191, hamerl@uwplatt.edu

Ensembles, Classes and Recital

Ensembles (seating based on audition)
• Three Concert Bands–for all woodwind, brass, and percussion students
• Jazz Ensemble–optional, based on audition
• Jazz Ensemble Rhythm Section–members selected from camp participants (piano, guitar, bass, drums)
• Student Recital–selected by camp staff
• Daily classes include conducting, world percussion,instrument care and repair, jazz techniques, advanced theory, and music composition.

Private Lessons

Optional 30-minute lessons with camp faculty are available for $20 per half hour, paid to teacher at registration.


Band Conductors

Dr. Barry Ellis is the Director of the UW-Platteville Pioneer Summer Band Camp and Professor of Music and Director of Bands at UW-Platteville.  He conducts the Symphonic Wind Ensemble and is an instructor of instrumental conducting, wind literature, instrumental music methods, and bassoon.  Ellis is also Director of the UW-Platteville Pioneer Summer Band Camp, Band Conductor’s Art Workshop, Founder and Director of the UW-Platteville Tri-State Honors Band Festival, the Wisconsin College and University Faculty Woodwind Ensemble, and the Rountree Wind Symphony.  Ensembles under his direction have performed at the Wisconsin Music Educators Conference, the National Band Association Convention, and the NAfME National Biennial In-Service Conference.  He is the Wisconsin state chair of the North Central Division of the College Band Directors National Association and the college representative for the National Band Association-Wisconsin chapter.  Ellis received degrees from Furman University and Virginia Commonwealth University, and his doctorate from the University of Illinois. He is active throughout the United States and Canada as an adjudicator and clinician.

Matthew Gregg is the Associate Director of Bands at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville.  He conducts the Symphony Band and is the Director of the Marching Pioneers, in addition to teaching Music Theory and Aural Skills. Prior to holding this position, Mr. Gregg was a band director at Oconomowoc High School where he was listed twice in the Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers.  He has conducted and performed at several music conventions including the National Band Association – Wisconsin Chapter, Wisconsin Music Educators Association and the College Band Directors National Association.  Prior to his work in Oconomowoc, he earned a Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and a Master of Music degree from the University of Wisconsin. He has also served as the Director of Bands at Cambridge High School and Nikolay Middle School.  Gregg has a number of musical arrangements and compositions to his credit including works for orchestra, concert and marching band, as well as various chamber ensembles.  Mr. Gregg has also earned a number of credits as a horn player.  He is currently a member of Ensemble Nouveau and Rountree Ensemble, professional chamber groups in residence at UW-Platteville.  He has won several competitions, scholarships and awards for instrumental performance including six consecutive years as a Drum Corps International Solo & Ensemble Champion. 

Monte Muller earned undergraduate and graduate degrees in music education from UW-Platteville. He taught for 36 years in the Wisconsin Public schools, 35 in Lancaster. Under his direction, Lancaster marching, concert and jazz bands consistently earned superior ratings in local, state and national parades and festivals.  In 2004 the Lancaster Middle School Lancer Concert Band was chosen by the National Band Association – Wisconsin Chapter to perform at their annual convention. In 2008, the Lancer Band was invited to perform at the first Kalahari Band Festival. Monte has served as one of the band directors of the Pioneer Summer Music Camp since 2002. In 2005 Mr. Muller was elected to the University of Wisconsin - Platteville College of Arts and Letters Hall of Fame and in 2011 was named the Phi Beta Mu - Wisconsin Band Master of the Year.  In 1985 Monte co-founded the Lancaster Community Band and served as principal conductor for 30 years. Mr. Muller continues to perform on trombone with a number of groups in the tri-state area.

Jazz Ensemble

Allen Cordingley is professor of saxophone at UW-Platteville. Allen currently directs the Pioneer Pep Band and coaches several chamber groups including multiple saxophone quartets, jazz combos, and a large saxophone ensemble. Before joining
the music faculty in the fall of 2006, he was on tour with the world famous Glenn Miller Orchestra. The band toured the United States, Canada, and Japan. Other jazz gigs have included performances with Frank Sinatra Jr., the Sammy Kaye Orchestra, Dave Holland Quintet, Bobby McFerrin and several cruises aboard Carnival Cruise Lines.  As a concert saxophonist, he has performed with the Green Bay Symphony Orchestra, Youngstown Symphony Orchestra, and Dubuque Symphony Orchestra. Allen has also been a member of several saxophone quartets that have performed in France, Italy and China. He studied saxophone with Steven Jordheim, Marco Albonetti, Woody Mankowski and James Umble.

Keith Lienert is professor of percussion at UW-Platteville and directs the Pioneer Jazz Orchestra, percussion ensemble and the Pioneer Steel Drum Band. A versatile musician on drumset, steel pan, and percussion; Keith has performed with numerous
artists and ensembles such as Isthmus Brass, Ensemble Nouveau, PanGo Steel Band, The Johannes Wallman Group, and various jazz artists including Kevin Mahogany, Ingrid Jensen, Bob Sheppard, Wycliffe Gordon, and Marvin Stamm. Keith is also the principal percussionist with the Dubuque Symphony Orchestra and has served as section and principal percussionist with the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra. Keith earned his bachelor’s in Percussion Performance from Northern Illinois University, where he studied with Robert Chappell and Rich Holly.  He received his Master of Music degree from Arizona State University under the tutelage of J.B. Smith, Dom Moio, and Mark Sunkett.  Keith is an Innovative Percussion performing artist and clinician.


A typical weekday at camp. This will vary slightly with band, jazz ensemble, and theory placement.

Full Concert Band Rehearsal
Short Morning Break
Master Class
Theory Class A/ Electives B
Theory Class B/ Electives A
Concert Band Group Sectionals
Afternoon Break
Full Concert Band Rehearsal
Recreation or Jazz Ensemble
Evening Activities (these vary each night with rehearsals, recital, concert, team building activities)
Room Check-in / Wing Meetings
Lights Out

Placement Auditions/Theory Test

Your chair placement audition and theory placement test will take place immediately after registration.

Housing and Meals

Resident campers will be housed on campus in Dobson residence hall throughout the week. Students may request a roommate on the application form.  If no request is made, students will be assigned a roommate of the same grade level. Hall assignments are made with grade level consideration. Rooms are furnished with a small refrigerator. Bed linens and towels are not furnished. A staff/counselor will reside in each hall and they will supervise the students while they are on campus.

All resident campers will be provided a full meal plan of three meals a day starting with dinner on Sunday and ending with lunch on Saturday. Commuters may choose to bring their own lunch or purchase a commuter meal plan. The commuter meal plan includes lunch Monday through Friday

Fees, Application Deadline and Regulations

The cost of the camp is $495 for residents, $320 for commuters with lunch Monday through Friday, and $280 for commuters with no meals. There is a $15 registration discount with five or more students from the same school and All-State Honors participants receive a tuition reduction of $100. The camp fee includes a short sleeve polo shirt that will be worn for the concert. Checks should be made payable to the University of Wisconsin-Platteville. For cancellations through June 27, there will be an administrative fee of $15 deducted from your refund.  After June 27, no refunds will be given.

  1. It is understood that some applicants may not be accepted because of musical and instructional balance of organizations, and availability of housing and instructional space. Applications will be accepted through June 27, 2017.
  2. Campers are expected to attend every scheduled class or activity, including the final camp concert, except for illness or valid circumstance. In the event of early departure, no refund will be made. Cancellations must be received by June 27, 2017.
  3. Campers may not have any motorized transportation vehicle for operation during camp session. No two-way communication devices are to be used by campers. Campers are responsible for keys and keeping residence hall room doors locked. Parents are responsible for loss, property damage, induced accident or injury and cost of mischievous use of fire alarms or safety alarms. Smoking by campers is prohibited.
  4. The camp reserves the right, upon notification of parents, to dismiss any student during the session for improper dress, conduct, language or attitude which, in the judgement of the administrative or counseling staff, is deemed detrimental to the other students or normal operation of the camp.
  5. The camp reserves the right to audition and place applicants according to their musical ability.

Registration/Application Procedures

If you are entering grades seven through 12, or will be a graduating senior, you may apply. You must have signatures from a band teacher and parent/guardian to be considered. You can also register online by pressing the registration button on the website. Registration is Sunday, July 9, in Doudna Hall from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. Residents will receive residence hall assignments beginning at noon. Print and complete the health and consent form found online and return with registration form to Continuing Education at the address listed on the registration form.



All Summer Band Camp events take place at University of Wisconsin-Platteville.
Your chair placement and theory placement test will also take place during this time.
Residents will receive residence hall assignments beginning at noon.

Map to Doudna Hall with directions | Map to Center for the Arts with directions

Photo Gallery

50th Band Camp Music Commission

DONATE TO Composition Commission


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