Bearcat Bands

Join the Bearcat Bands

Every prospective member must audition for placement purposes.

About the Bands

The University of Cincinnati Bearcat Spirit Bands, Marching and Basketball, are the largest and most visible organizations within the Bearcat Bands with a total 2018 membership of 250 students. The band is comprised of students from all over the UC Main campus, UC Blue Ash and UC Clermont, and Greater Cincinnati Collegiate Connection schools such as NKU and Cincinnati State. Although some of our members are music majors at the internationally-recognized College-Conservatory of Music, the majority major in just about every other program of study available at UC. All participate for the love of the activity and take considerable pride in representing the University of Cincinnati through music.

The membership commitment is performing in both the Marching Band and in one of the Basketball Bands. All musicians are expected to continue playing in the spring semester with participation in a concert or jazz band.

Marching Band is available for one or two credits and meets on Tuesday and Thursday evenings from 6:00 to 9:00 PM plus a one-hour sectional on Wednesday evenings. Home games, usually Saturdays, require additional rehearsal time and attendance.  All members also attend any full-band away games, including bowl trips. Occasional exhibition performances and parades are also scheduled. Despite this, participation in the Bearcat Marching Band involves less time than most typical high school marching bands!

Basketball Band (aka Pep Band) is really the entire Marching Band simply divided into smaller bands. Each band receives a list of game assignments in the fall and meets for rehearsal prior to each assigned game. Opportunities for post-season tournament travel are usually anticipated!

Band member costs are $100 student Band Council dues, black marching shoes, and black Docker-style pants.  Some marching instruments are available to students of the Bearcat Bands at no cost (ex. sousaphone, mellophone, baritone).

The Fall Concert and Jazz Bands are half-semester ensembles beginning around mid-semester. Auditions are held during the first half of the semester. Rehearsals are once weekly.

  • Fall Bearcat Concert Band: Mondays 5:00 to 7:00 PM
  • Fall Bearcat Jazz Band: Mondays 7:30 to 9:00 PM

The Spring Concert and Jazz Bands are full-semester ensembles with auditions occuring during the previous fall semester. Advanced Bands are available. Rehearsals are twice weekly.

  • Bearcat Concert Band: Tuesdays & Thursdays 5:00 to 7:00 PM
  • Bearcat Advanced Concert Band: Tuesdays & Thursdays 7:15 to 9:15 PM
  • Bearcat Jazz Band: Mondays 5 to 6:45 pm & Wednesdays 7:30 to 8:15 PM
  • Bearcat Advanced Jazz Band: Mondays 7 to 8:45 pm and Wednesdays 8:30 to 9:15 PM

No experience? No problem! Each Spring semester, a Beginning Band is available for those with no instrumental experience or those with experience that would like to learn something new. One concert is performed near the end of the semester to show off the progress. This is available to all students, staff, and faculty and is a lot of fun. Contact the Band Office for more information.

Various small instrumental ensembles are occasionally created based on student interest. Some that have occurred in the past include Trombone Choir, Saxophone Choir, Clarinet Choir, Percussion Ensemble, and Brass Choir. If this interests you, contact the Band Office for more information.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Bring your instrument, necessary accessories (mouthpiece, reeds, etc.), and two copies of your prepared selection.
  • Auditions will be held in the Rockwern Band Center, 147 Corry Boulevard, Cincinnati, Ohio 45221 (on the campus of the University of Cincinnati). Parking is available in the Calhoun parking garage, adjacent to the building. Note that parking is subject to availability and hourly rates.
  • Contact the band office to set an audition date and time.
  • If auditioning for Marching Band, at a minimum, you will be asked to demonstrate the ability to “mark time” and keep a consistent tempo. If you are knowledgeable about the “8-to-5” step size, we will ask you to demonstrate it. The Bearcat Marching Band employs the “glide” or “roll” step: if you are familiar with this, you will also be asked to demonstrate it. What if you are not familiar with these concepts? Do not worry and do your best. Some high school bands use a show band style with different kinds of marching fundamentals. We will teach our fundamentals at pre-season camp and, while it does help if you already have knowledge of these techniques, a number of our members learn these for the first time after joining our band.
  • No. Most of our members are not music majors, although some are!
  • It depends. Basketball Band requires Marching Band participation (and vice versa). Concert and Jazz Bands do not require Marching Band participation, though most students that are in a Concert or Jazz Band also tend to be in Marching Band. Some people start by doing a Concert or Jazz Band, making friends, then auditioning for Marching Band later. Most will start with Marching Band their first year and stick with it along with participation in other bands: this is absolutely the best way to maximize your first year and make irreplaceable friends and memories! (Yes, you have the time.)
  • All Marching Band members are expected to participate in a Concert or Jazz Band during the Spring semester.
  • This isn't like many high schools where the band is the band: Marching, Concert, Jazz, and whatever else. In college, each ensemble is its own class.
  • Regardless, if you participate in only one of the Bearcat Bands you are part of the family!
  • We all get the same 24 hours in a day. How you utilize that time is a personal matter. If someone wants to do something badly enough, they will usually find a way to make it happen. Don't make the mistake of not doing it your first year and missing that once-in-a-lifetime opportunity! Joining later, although a great decision, can never replace the friendships and memories you will have missed. Most of our bands require much less of a time commitment than high school. Generally speaking, yes, almost everyone has the time for college band if it is something they want to do. Try it and find out!
  • We require members to enroll in the corresponding class. We allow students from local colleges to join us as well. UC has the only collegiate marching band in the immediate tri-state area which allows students at all neighboring institutions to participate and receive credit through the Greater Cincinnati Collegiate Connection. Go to for more information.
  • Woodwinds: Piccolos, B-flat Soprano Clarinets, Alto/Tenor/Bari Saxes
  • Brass: Trumpets, Mellophones, Trombones, Baritones, Sousaphones
  • Percussion: Snare Drums, Multi-Tenor Drums, Bass Drums, Crash Cymbals, Front Ensemble
  • The UC Marching Band has a contemporary Color Guard section and Featured Twirlers. Both units require annual auditions.
  • Yes, there is a camp required of all UC Marching Band members.
  • For 2019, pre-season camp for new members will begin by Tuesday, August 13 and conclude by Saturday, August 24 for the full ensemble. Specific dates with a timeline of events will be released by July.
  • Percussion and visual ensemble units have additional summer rehearsals.
  • A number of our Marching Band members participate in some of the most storied programs in pageantry arts (drum corps, WGI, etc.). We are entirely supportive of this and make necessary concessions depending on the calendar and member summer availability. That being said, the Bearcat Marching Band will also be a significant commitment in your life. We expect all members to communicate with the directors and other staff of both groups in advance and with utmost professionalism. Generally, we already know the directors and staff members of your other ensembles, too! We have longstanding agreements and understandings with these professionals. Rarely are we unable to find some kind of compromise unless you wait too long, handle the communication poorly, and/or be shady.
  • The University of Cincinnati Bearcat Bands program offers a variety of performance opportunities including Concert Bands, Jazz Bands, Beginning Band, and an assortment of other small ensembles. The UC Alumni Band hosts an annual summer Community Band that is also open to current students. There are also non-major choirs and an orchestra at the internationally-acclaimed College-Conservatory of Music just down the street!
  • Please email or call us (email is best): or 513-556-BAND (2263). Be ready to give us as much information as possible so we can answer your question thoroughly.

Woodwind & Brass Auditions 2019-20

Auditions will be held on orientation days in the spring and summer of 2019. Other late spring and summer days and times can be scheduled by appointment. Auditions for concert and jazz bands begin after the fall semester. This audition will give us a chance to meet you, hear you play, and answer any questions you might have.

A reed and/or mouthpiece fitting may also occur. If we identify a reed/mouthpiece that is more comfortable and/or produces better tone, obtaining this equipment on your own will be a condition of your acceptance.

Wind Audition Requirements

  • A full-range chromatic scale
  • A prepared selection of your choice
    • We suggest a piece you have performed for solo and ensemble, an etude, or an excerpt that you used to audition for All-State or a similar ensemble
    • Bring two copies
  • The UC fight song, Cheer Cincinnati
  • The UC Alma Mater
  • A sightreading selection that will be provided

To receive the required selections Cheer Cincinnati and the UC Alma Mater, contact the band office at 513-556-BAND or at

Alternative Wind Audition Requests

Any prospective member who is realistically unable to travel to Cincinnati for their woodwind or brass audition may submit a video recording of the prepared material and scale via Dropbox or Google Drive. Contact the Band Office at 513-556-BAND or at to make these arrangements.

Percussion Auditions 2019-20

New members audition for the percussion section in a two-step process.

June Percussion Assessment and Orientation

  • June Assessment and Orientation is required for all new prospective members.
  • Veteran members are urged to attend and participate.
  • Everyone will be able to audition on their desired instrument of choice through a full ensemble setting.
  • Please have prepared the music in the audition packet, available by request from 513-556-BAND or
  • June 14, 2019 from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM in the Rockwern Band Center and ajdacent athletic facilities
    • 8:30 to 9:30 AM registration
    • 9:30 AM to 12:30 PM block
    • 12:30 to 1:30 PM break
      • Bring money for your meal
    • 1:30 to 5 PM block

July Percussion Placement Camp

  • All veteran and new members are required to attend.
  • This camp is designed to assign final positions and to also start learning the upcoming season’s music.
  • It also helps to establish the philosophy and role of the percussion program as it pertains to your full band experience.
  • July 16-18, 2019 from morning to evening in the Rockwern Band Center and adjacent athletic facilities with meal breaks
    • Bring money for your meals

Color Guard Auditions 2019-20

The audition process consists of assessing your individual learning and performance ability "on the spot."

  • April 13, 2019
  • AUDITIONS: 1:00 PM – 4:00 PM
  • LOCATION: Rockwern Band Center and adjacent athletic facilities such as the UC Armory Fieldhouse and the gymnasium in Corryville Catholic School
  • RSVP: Dr. Krista Mulcahy (513-556-2263 or

Twirler Auditions 2019-20

General Twirler Audition Information

The Preliminary process for our tirling squad is a screening via video audition. Two videos must be received by March 01, 2019. Ms. Anita Ney will be one of our Featured Twirlers & Captain for 2019-2020.

Video #1 is a 2-3 minute solo routine. This is to be a versatile gym routine with 1, 2, & 3 batons showcasing skills, tricks and poise/personality. Video #1 should be soloist only, close-up or tight viewpoint, with no editing or team routines.

Video #2 should be a 4-7 minute on field solo routine, utilizing band music of your choice. This is to be single frame, only twirler in shot, but it can be edited to include a variety of performance situations & venues.

Please use your full name & UC Twirler as the video filename. Upload to Dropbox or Google Drive and submit the shared video link to Include the following information in your email:

  • Full Name
  • Address
  • Mobile Phone Number and Personal, not School, Email Address
  • Current acceptance status at the University of Cincinnati with declared major, if you have one
  • A recommendation letter from your Twirling Coach and/or Band Director
  • Twirling resume with color photo in a twirling setting (in costume, action shot or posed, no more than 3 photos)

Finalists will be selected from the video audition process to schedule live on-campus tryouts. Invitations will be sent out via return email by March 15, 2019. Details and date of tryouts will be given in the invitation email to the video audition finalists. Check for UC pregame music online.

Contact Band Office with questions at 513-556-BAND (2263) or

Twirler Audition Trick Lists

Required Tricks for Field Performance:

  • 4 Spin
  • 3 Spin Left
  • 3 Spin Backhand
  • 3 Spin Catch Back
  • Horizontal 3 Spin
  • Double Illusion-with correct form Walkover
  • Grande Jete Walkover
  • Marching basics, to metered band music

Preferred Skills/Tricks for Competition:

While representing the University of Cincinnati. Qualified candidates will be considered for a Featured Twirler position for the upcoming school year.

  • 5 Spin — Gym
  • 4 Spin Left
  • 4 Spin Backhand
  • 4 Spin Catch Back
  • 1 Spin Double Illusion — With Correct Form Double Walkover
  • Optional:
    • Triple Illusion — With Correct Form
    • Ariel