An ensemble for high school woodwind, brass and percussion players held at the Glauser School of Music

Questions? Email Us Intent to Audition Form 

The Kent State Youth Winds (KSYW) provides local high school and exceptional middle school/junior high school wind and percussion players the opportunity to learn music performance techniques from professional artist-teachers from KSU, develop individual playing skills and perform in a Wind Ensemble with other interested and highly skilled young musicians. Through this experience, students will have the opportunity to enrich and advance their musicianship in a supportive yet challenging environment. In addition to developing artistic skills, students will also have the opportunity to develop non-musical skills including critical thinking, collaboration, communication and time management.

Kent State University and the Kent State Youth Winds are proud to announce a unique educational opportunity for band students in grades 7-9, KSYW Junior High Honor Band!  


Who can join?

The Kent State Youth Winds (KSYW) provides an opportunity for talented young musicians to develop their individual talents and musicianship, learn from professional artists/teachers associated with Kent State University, and perform in an auditioned wind ensemble with other skilled players.

Membership is open to 8-12th grade students (Academic Year 2024-2025).

Students must participate in their school music programs to be eligible to audition. This requirement is waived for homeschooled students.

Rehearsals and Concerts

  • The KSYW will take place during the academic year (September - May).
  • Rehearsals will be held on the Kent State University, Kent Campus on Mondays from 7 to 9:15 p.m.
  • The ensemble will present three concerts per year in Kent State University's Cartwright Hall in November, March and May. 

Instruments Accepted

Instruments in the Youth Winds include:

  • Flute
  • Oboe
  • Clarinet
  • Bass Clarinet
  • Bassoon
  • Saxophones (Alto, Tenor, and Baritone) 
  • Trumpet
  • Horn
  • Trombone
  • Euphonium
  • Tuba
  • String Bass
  • Percussion
kent state youth wind student playing the flute



Youth Wind Saxophonists Performing


Entrance into the KSYW is by audition only with limited space.

Auditions for the 24-25 Season:

  • To begin, please fill out the Intent to Audition form.
  • In-person auditions will take place on Sunday, May 5, 2024 from 2-6 and Monday, May 20, 2024 from 4-8 in Cartwright Hall

Audition Requirements for Winds, Brass and Percussion

For the audition please prepare your

  • (1) major scales up to 3 flats and 3 sharps and the chromatic scale demonstrating your range -AND-
  • (2) prepared excerpts for your instrument found by clicking here.

Acceptance and Registration

  • Acceptance emails will be sent by June 17.
  • After you're accepted, you will fill out the registration form and parent forms.

Tuition and Scholarships

  • Tuition is $275 for the year.
  • A limited number of need-based scholarships may be available. 

24-25 Season Concert Dates

Saturday, November 9, 2024
Saturday, March 15, 2025
Sunday, May 11, 2025


Wendy Matthews Headshot

Dr. Wendy K. Matthews - Director, Kent State Youth Winds  
Wendy K. Matthews is the associate dean for undergraduate programs and assessment in the College of Arts and professor of music education at Kent State University. She holds degrees from George Mason University, University of Maryland-College Park and the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University, Conservatory of Music. Dr. Matthews is an active researcher focusing on group music-making in ensembles across the lifespan, teacher preparation and the oral histories of pioneer women brass players. She is also co-author of the textbook "Basic Conducting Techniques (8th edition)" published in January of 2023. Dr. Matthews is in demand worldwide as a guest conductor, clinician and adjudicator.

Joni stoll headshot

Dr. Joni Stoll - Faculty and Ensemble Administrator, Kent State Youth Winds 
Dr. Joni Stoll is beginning her 36th  year as a music educator. She held the position of director of bands at Holgate High School for 13 years where she was responsible for the instrumental program 5-12. She also taught at Southeast High School for 20 years directing the high school marching band, symphonic band and jazz band while assisting the band program in grades 5-8. Dr. Stoll received her music education (instrumental) and piano performance undergraduate degrees at the University of Akron, piano performance/pedagogy degree at Northwestern University and Doctor of Philosophy (music education)degree at Kent State University. She has been an adjunct professor at Kent State University since 2011 as part of the music education faculty. She is also active as an adjudicator for the Ohio Music Education Association.

Jacob Gibson Headshot

Jacob Gibson - Faculty and Ensemble Administrator, Kent State Youth Winds 
Jacob Gibson is a western Pennsylvanian native. His education includes a Bachelor of Arts in Music Education with a concentration in Saxophone Performance from Edinboro University of Pennsylvania and a Master’s degree in Music Education from the State University of New York at Fredonia. Jacob's current research interests include social justice, music educator training, sociological music education and relationships between music stores and school music programs. He specializes in Concert Band/Wind Ensemble and Jazz Band instruction. Jacob taught in Erie, PA as a middle and high school band director prior to beginning full-time study at Kent State University in the Ph.D. program for Music Education where he is a Graduate Assistant.

jami bolton headshot

Jami Bolton - Faculty and Ensemble Administrator, Kent State Youth Winds 
Jami Bolton is celebrating her 22nd year of being a music teacher during the 2023-24 school year. Ms. Bolton taught band and orchestra in Alexandria, Virginia and New Delhi, India. Ms. Bolton holds an Associate of Arts and Sciences in Music degree from Ricks College, a Bachelor of Music in Music Education from Brigham Young University and a Master of Music in French Horn Performance from The Catholic University of America. She is currently a full-time doctoral student at Kent State University. Her interests lie at the crossroads of music education and ethnomusicology.

joseph hamp headshot

Joseph Hamp - Faculty and Ensemble Administrator, Kent State Youth Winds 
Joseph Hamp received his Bachelor's degree in music education from the University of Maryland in 2009, where his focus was classical saxophone. At UMD, he also sang in the chamber choir. Joseph began teaching general music, orchestra and band in Montgomery Public County Schools in 2009. He also worked as an Assistant Conductor for the Northern Virginia Community College band ensembles. In 2011, he moved to Dayton, OH with his family and taught at the Montessori School of Dayton where he taught band and choir, and also founded the rock band program. In 2018, the Hamp family moved to Pittsburgh, where Joseph taught 6th-grade band and general music at Slippery Rock Middle School. He also served as the Assistant Band Director for the Slippery Rock High School "Rocket" Marching Band. In 2022 the Hamp family again moved, this time to Akron. Joseph is currently teaching choir and beginning band in the Hudson City Schools. He is very excited to assist with the Kent State Youth Winds and is looking forward to teaching these talented students

Board of Directors

  • Dr. Joanna Hersey - Professor, Tuba, University of North Carolina-Pembroke, North Carolina
  • Ms. Sarah Kois - Project Coordinator, Kent State Youth Winds, Kent, Ohio
  • Mr. Anthony Maiello - Professor of Music, George Mason University, Virginia
  • Dr. Wendy K. Matthews - Associate Dean of the College of the Arts, Kent, Ohio
  • Dr. Kent McWilliams - Professor of Piano, Kent State University, Kent, Ohio
  • Dr. John Roebke - Director of Bands, Roosevelt High School, Kent, Ohio
Kent state youth winds student playing drums

Kent State youth Winds

Music Office

  • 330-672-2172


Kent State University
Glauser School of Music
Center for the Performing Arts
1325 Theatre Drive
Kent, OH 44242


Kent State University and the Kent State Youth Winds are proud to announce a unique educational opportunity for band students in grades 7-9.

Due to a significant number of conflicts with middle school events, such as the OMEA District Large Group Festival and Music in the Parks trips, we unfortunately had fewer registrants than necessary to run a meaningful and successful festival. 

We have decided to change the format of the event. We are now offering a performance opportunity for your students to perform two pieces during the concert with Kent State Youth Winds (KSYW) on May 12, 2024. 

Please note that the rehearsal scheduled for May 11, 2024, has been canceled. 

If you would like to participate, please register below, and the KSYW staff will email you the details. 

We hope you will join us in the new format.  

Register for KSYW Junior High Honor Band