Junior Bands

July 10 – 16, 2022

Designed for junior high students who play wind, brass and percussion instruments, the primary focus of this program is developing individual musicianship through a large ensemble setting. During the audition process, students who express an interest in orchestra will be considered for placement in the Junior Orchestra instead of band. Classes include full ensemble and sectional rehearsals, master classes, and elective courses.

Format: In-Person on the Urbana-Champaign campus.


  • For students completing grades 5-8.

Typical Daily Schedule

8:15 – 10:30 am: Full Band Rehearsal
10:45 – 11:45 am: Sectionals
12:00 – 1:00 pm: Lunch
1:15 – 2:15 pm: Full Band Rehearsal
2:30 – 3:30 pm: Technique Class
3:45 – 4:45 pm: Electives
5:15 pm: Dinner and Evening Activities
10:30 pm: Lights out

Application Process

  • Submit the ISYM Application Form (opens December 1)
  • Acceptance notifications are sent on a rolling basis.
  • Additional accepted student information will be available after April 15, 2022.


  • Resident – $800 (tuition, room and board)
  • Commuter – $550 (tuition and lunch only)


Dr. Myra Rhoden, Fayette County High School, Georgia

Dr. Myra Rhoden serves as the Director of Bands and Fine Arts Department Chairperson at Fayette County High School in Fayetteville, Georgia. Located approximately twenty miles south of downtown Atlanta, the Fayette County High School Band program has performed at national and international venues and consists of a competitive marching band and winter guards, three concert bands, a jazz band, and several chamber ensembles.

Dr. Rhoden was named the 2018 National Band Director of the Year by the National Association for Music Education. She has been awarded multiple Citations of Excellence from the National Band Association, has been named STAR Teacher at FCHS, was named Teacher of the Year on two occasions, was selected for membership in the Phi Beta Mu International Bandmasters Fraternity, and was presented the 1995 Sallie Mae First Class Teacher Award, a national award given to one teacher in each state for an outstanding first year of teaching. She has been honored to have been selected to present clinics at The Midwest Clinic, Conn-Selmer Institute, Music for All Summer Symposium, VanderCook College Music Education Center of America (MECA) Continuing Education Program, Youth Orchestra of LA at the Heart of Los Angeles, the Wyoming and Georgia Music Educators Association In-Service Conferences, and various universities, school systems, camps, and clinics throughout the country. Dr. Rhoden has had the distinct pleasure of being a guest conductor for The United States Army Field Band of Washington, D. C. and the Tara Winds of Atlanta, Georgia, as well as for numerous state, regional, and university honor ensembles. She is the founder of the Athena Music and Leadership Camp (athenacamp.com), a band and orchestra program for middle and high school-aged girls that was created to promote musical excellence while emphasizing self-esteem and leadership skills. She is also honored to be a Conn-Selmer Educational Clinician.

Before joining the faculty at Fayette, Dr. Rhoden taught at the middle and high school levels in Alabama. A native of Tuskegee, Alabama, she received the Bachelor of Science and Master of Arts degrees in Music Education from the University of Alabama and the Doctorate of Musical Arts from the University of Southern Mississippi. Dr. Rhoden has served as a GMEA All-State Band Organizer and as the GMEA District VI Band Chairperson. She also serves on the Board of Directors for the Southeastern United States (SEUS) Honor Band Clinic at Troy University, served on the Board of Directors for the Alabama Bandmasters Association, and is honored to be a clinician and adjudicator throughout the country. She resides in Fayetteville with her husband, Errol Jr., and son, Errol III.

Kimberly Farris, VanderCook College of Music

Kimberly Farris is the Director of Admissions at VanderCook College of Music where she leads a team in recruitment and teaches graduate and undergraduate courses in classroom and ensemble settings. She received her Bachelors in Music Education from Illinois State University in Normal, IL and her Masters in Music Education from the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign, IL. She also holds a Masters of Administrative Leadership from Concordia University in River Forest, IL.

Prior to joining VanderCook, Mrs. Farris served as the Director of Performing Arts at Roosevelt and Robert Morris Universities where she administered all facets of a comprehensive arts program including instrumental music, choir and theatre. Her responsibilities included creating all department operations and systems in the areas of curriculum, scheduling, finance and budgets, marketing, branding and program promotion as well as leading efforts in recruitment, admissions and advising.

Mrs. Farris has 28 years of public school teaching experience. While in Hinsdale/Clarendon Hills CCSD 181 (IL) she taught beginning band students at The Lane and Elm elementary schools.  At Wilmette District 39 and Avoca District 37 (IL) she was responsible for directing the concert and jazz bands at Wilmette Junior High School and Marie Murphy Middle School as well as beginning and second year band students at Avoca West Elementary School. Mrs. Farris also taught at Glenn Westlake Middle School in Lombard, IL and in New Lenox School District 122 where she was responsible for conducting band, jazz band and marching band for all students in grades 5-8. In addition, Mrs. Farris instructed the summer music program at Maine Township High School District 207 and taught flute methods at Northwestern University.

Bands under her direction have received numerous awards at festivals across Illinois and the Midwest, including Division I Superior ratings at all Illinois Grade School Music Association (IGSMA) organization contests. The Glenn Westlake Middle School Band experienced numerous appearances at the University of Illinois Superstate Concert Band Festival, including selection as the Junior Division Honor Band. The band was also invited to serve as a clinic band for the Midwest International Band and Orchestra Clinic in Chicago, IL.

In addition to her leadership roles in higher education and instruction, Mrs. Farris currently serves as District 7 Chairperson and Executive Board member for the Illinois Grade School Music Association. This organization provides high quality performance opportunities for students in the areas of vocal and instrumental music and offers professional support for directors in all areas of music education.  

Mrs. Farris is the recipient of numerous National Band Association Citations of Excellence, awarded the Chicagoland Outstanding Music Educator Award and elected to the Phi Beta Mu National Band Director’s Honorary Fraternity. She is a member of the Music Educators National Conference, the Illinois Music Educators Association, and the National Band Association.