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Jan. 31, 2024

Special double bill highlights band music and conducting at MSU

The Michigan State University College of Music opens the 2024 spring semester of band performances with a unique concert that features a double bill.  At 7:30 p.m., Feb. 1, in Cobb Great Hall of the Wharton Center, MSU Director of Bands Kevin L. Sedatole leads the MSU Wind Symphony and welcomes special guests, the St. Olaf College Band led by MSU Music alum, conductor, and composer Henry Dorn.

The concert features the musical collaboration of two MSU Spartan conductors. Sedatole has led band programs at MSU since 2006, and Dorn took over the band program at St. Olaf in the fall of 2023. While studying with Sedatole and other MSU Music faculty, Dorn earned his DMA in conducting and his DMA in composition at MSU. Recently celebrating 150 years of Bands at MSU, Sedatole conducts the 60-member MSU Wind Symphony, which features some of the highest-level student instrumentalists from the College. The St. Olaf Band, formed in 1891 in Northfield, Minnesota, has enjoyed decades of dedicated music-making with much acclaim.

Alumnus Henry Dorn is the Director of Bands at St. Olaf College. He earned his Doctoral of Musical Arts in Conducting in 2022 and Composition in 2023 from the MSU College of Music.

Henry Dorn
Henry Dorn. Courtesy photo.

Dorn is currently on tour with the St. Olaf College Band, making several stops across Illinois and Michigan. The concert in East Lansing marks the midway point of their trip, Dorn’s first to his alma mater where he strengthened his passion for conducting and composing. He is excited to share the joy of music performance once again alongside his MSU colleagues and mentors.

“Our world is an increasingly divisive place, fueled by differences,” Dorn said. “Differences are made more polarizing by magnifying philosophies of faith and religion, race and ethnicity, gender, culture, and political views. But music unifies us, and the heart and soul of our tour celebrates what brings people together – dance!”
Conducting the MSU Wind Symphony, Sedatole will lead performances of Toccata Marziale by Ralph Vaughn Williams, Ballad for Band by Morton Goulde, the world premiere English Episodes by John Herbert Foulds as transcribed by MSU’s Ceon Rumphs, Symphonic Dances, Op. 45, Mvt. III by Sergei Rachmaninoff as transcribed by Paul Lavender, and Who’s Who in Navy Blue by John Phillip Sousa.

“We look forward to sharing the stage with the renowned St. Olaf Band,” Sedatole said. “We are extremely proud of our MSU alum Dr. Henry Dorn as he has taken over as Director of Bands at St. Olaf.”

Similarly, the St. Olaf College Band will bring music to the audience’s ears with performances that include Overture from Dancer in the Dark by Björk and arranged by Henry Dorn, Enigma by MSU Associate Professor of Composition David Biedenbender, and Symphonic Dances from West Side Story by Leonard Bernstein.

Fans of MSU band ensembles can look forward to more concerts in Wharton Center’s Cobb Great Hall in the spring, featuring a variety of colorful styles of music that also feature guest soloists and composers.

For band event details and information about other ensemble concerts, visit

General admission seating for this and other large ensemble performances are $12 for adults, $10 for seniors (age 60 and older) and free for students and those under 18 with valid ID, and can be purchased online (, by calling 517-353-5340, or at the door. More information on these and other events in the 2023-2024 MSU Music Season can be found at

This story originally ran on the College of Music website.

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