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Awards & Recognition

"Varsity Letter" Policy

All band members have the opportunity to earn a varsity letter in the BHS Band program. This award is for recognizing additional service and musical achievement, both in furthering the band organization and their own personal growth, through their participation in band co-curricular activities, (co-curricular: band activities that take place outside of the curricular school day, but relate to the daily band class/curricular experiences). Points can be earned in a variety of co-curricular band activities.

Participate in the WDA Music Festival and/or State Music Festival.

Audition or participate in another such festival such as All-State

One of the following each semester:
  • Attendance at community or school musical events (one professional/community/or college level concert, and 2 concerts at the level of the student or above)
  • Private lessons on instrument
Must be a member in good standing of the ensemble. Member in good standing is based on the following:
  • Eligibility
  • Maintain a 3.5 average in choir, orchestra, and/or band
  • Appropriate behavior in the ensemble at all times,/li>
  • Classroom effort/cooperation
  • No unexcused absences from concerts or classes
Each student wishing to be considered for a letter during any given school year should let the appropriate teacher know, and a folder will be started for that student. The student will be responsible for making sure that his/her folder is kept up to date. All decisions as to lettering will be made by the director of the ensemble.

The BHS Band Program is under the governing rules of the North Dakota High School Activities Association and Bismarck High School. Band members are subject to the same policies regarding grades, attendance, chemical/tobacco use and sexual/religious/racial harassment policies as set by these institutions. Violations of the policies/rules could result in suspension from band activities, and/or loss of co-curricular points.

Students must be a member of BHS bands four consecutive quarters during the school year, and have been consistently working toward the advancement of excellence and personal musical achievement in the BHS Band program in order to qualify for the above awards. (Transfer students new to BHS should see the Band Director regarding all awards).

Solo and Ensemble Medal - The festival awards this medal to all students who earn a superior rating at the State Solo and Ensemble Contest.

All-State - Each year students audition for the North Dakota Music Educators Association ( NDMEA) All-State Band, Orchestra and Jazz Ensemble. Those chosen through the audition process are named as All-State musicians; attend the All-State Festival in March.


Outstanding Sophomore & Junior Band Awards - These awards are presented to students (in grades 10 and 11) who have shown a consistent commitment to musical excellence and leadership in the BHS Band program.

John Philips Sousa Band Award - Awarded by the Band Staff to a senior band member for outstanding, and unique, achievement and service in band through exemplary leadership, musicianship, attitude and dedication. The recipient of this award will have their name inscribed on a brass plaque, which is proudly displayed in the BHS Bandroom.

Woody Herman Jazz Award - Named after Jazz clarinet player and bandleader Woody Herman. This award recognizes outstanding achievement in the jazz program at BHS.

Robert C. Peske Jazz Award - Robert C. Peske was the owner of Noble Insurance and was the manager of Community Homes of Bismarck. Although he did not play a musical instrument, he loved music and dreamed of becoming a musician. According to his family, he did not miss a single BHS Band Concert. The scholarship will assist a graduating senior who is a member of the BHS Jazz Ensemble.

Louis Armstrong Jazz Award - Named after the legendary American jazz artist, Louis Armstrong, "Satchmo," this recognition is awarded to the outstanding senior jazz performer. This award recognizes leadership, outstanding creative jazz musicianship, jazz improvisation and dedication to Jazz Band. The recipient of this award will have their name inscribed on a brass plaque, which is proudly displayed in the BHS Bandroom.

Arion Band Award - Awarded to a senior band member for outstanding musicianship, achievement, leadership and dedication to music and the band organization. This is one of the most prestigious awards in the BHS Band program. The recipient of this award will have their name inscribed on a brass plaque, which is proudly displayed in the BHS Bandroom.

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