University Bands

WIU Band Ensembles

wind symphonic band

Wind Ensemble

The Wind Ensemble is Western Illinois University’s premiere wind and percussion ensemble. Conducted by Dr. Mike Fansler, the 52-member ensemble regularly leads new wind band and mixed chamber commissions, while remaining a champion of significant historic repertoire. Recently the ensemble released The River of Time (Navona Records) celebrating the life of David Maslanka. Critical acclaim includes, “An extremely timeless listen…the music is of such indescribable beauty it gave me chills…The players are ethereal one moment and brilliantly virtuosic the next…Conductor Mike Fansler holds his players in thrall and has this listener spellbound.”  Current ensemble members can be heard on the newest Klavier Records release, as the fireflies watched…, featuring the chamber music of James M. Stephenson. Since 2002, the Wind Ensemble has appeared four times at the Illinois Music Education Conference and for over three decades, the wind ensemble has presented a special "President's Concert" performance to honor the President of Western Illinois University. 


concert band

Concert Band

The Concert Band has 60-70 members who are selected through audition. The Band performs 4-5 concerts each year. The repertoire represents the highest standard of concert band literature. Guest conductors are a regular feature of the Band. Each spring, the Band performs a Student Conductor's Concert, with the most outstanding young conductors of the University rehearsing and performing with the group.


university band

University Band

The University Band is open to any interested student from the university without audition. The repertoire represents the high standards of concert band literature with particular emphasis placed upon the member's enjoyment.


marching band

WIU Marching Leathernecks

The "Marching Leathernecks" include students from nearly every discipline on the campus of Western Illinois University. These students' total commitment to excellence has marked the legacy of Western Illinois University and the Marching Leathernecks.

The band is known for its powerful sound and unique innovations, which have impressed audiences throughout the Midwest. The Marching Leathernecks regularly support many local and regional events and are privileged to have a close bond with the campus community of Macomb, Illinois.

Their performances have included halftime shows for the Kansas City Chiefs, St. Louis Rams, Indianapolis Colts and Chicago Bears of the National Football League, as well as exhibition performances at the Bands of America Super-Regional Championships at the TWA/Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis, Missouri and at the Lucas Oil/RCA Dome in Indianapolis, Indiana. Western Illinois University also hosts the Marching Band Classic, a high school marching band competition that attracts bands from Illinois, Iowa and Missouri.

The band's greatest sense of pride comes from performing for the Western Illinois University Leatherneck football fans. The Marching Leathernecks perform a pre-game concert (affectionately known as "Pre-game At The Ashtray") and Fighting Leatherneck fans join the band for this event to get ready for a Leatherneck victory.

Traditions are a part of any successful organization and the Marching Leathernecks are no exception. Georgia On My Mind has been an audience favorite since 1982, when Dale Hopper (then director) hid half of the band, which "magically" appeared right in front of the audience in the middle of the song. Also, following each performance, the Marching Leathernecks "circle-up" and perform You'll Never Walk Alone, which strengthens our commitment to each other as individuals and bonds our group as a true musical family.

Whether before, during or after the game, the Marching Leathernecks strive to support its team, entertain its fans, promote the university, and continue the Tradition Of Greatness.

For further information about the Marching Leathernecks or for information on becoming a member, please contact the band office by phone (309-298-1505) or by email (


pep band

Pep Band

This exciting group is a crowd favorite at both "The Fighting Leathernecks" home basketball games and is an integral part of the game atmosphere created in Western Hall. The band also performs at the Summit League Basketball Championships. This group is open to all Western Illinois University students by audition. For more information on the WIU Basketball Pep Band, please contact the band office by phone (309)-298-1505 or by email (

Volleyball Pep Band

The Volleyball Pep Band performs at select games during the fall semester in support of our Westerwind's Volleyball team. This group is open to all Western Illinois University students by audition. For more information on the WIU Volleyball Pep Band, please contact the band office by phone (309)-298-1505 or by email (


dance team

Westernettes Dance Team

The Westernettes Dance Team Danceline is the Division I collegiate dance team for Western Illinois University.

During the fall, we are part of the Marching Leathernecks, where we perform at all home football games and with the marching band in parades, half-time shows, side-lines, and the Marching Band Classic.

During the winter months, we are part of the WIU Pep Band and perform at all home men's and women's basketball games, which can include travelling and performing at the nationally televised Summit League Basketball Tournament in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

The team's foremost purpose is to support Leatherneck Athletics, enhancing game excitement and crowd involvement. If you would like to know more information about the team please feel free to browse Westernettes Dance Team.

trumpet player

WIU Chamber Winds Program

Students in the WIU Wind Ensemble are presented with the opportunity to further develop musical independence through our chamber wind program. Our two chamber wind ensembles meet weekly and present a concert mid semester both fall and spring.

The "WIU Chamber Players" is conducted by Dr. Mike Fansler and the “WIU Chamber Winds” are conducted by Dr. Matt Thomas. Students are exposed to both standard chamber wind repertoire as well as more contemporary works. Recently, the chamber groups have performed the music of: Adler, Beethoven, Bird, Dvořák, Gabrieli, Gounod, Grieg, Haydn, Hindemith, Husa, Jacob, Krommer, Lully, Mozart, Palestrina, Persichetti, Raff, Sibelius, Strauss, Sweelinck, and Washburn.