The mission of our senior high band program is to teach life lessons while pursuing excellence in music performance. We strive to help students develop a healthy work ethic, to learn how to dedicate themselves to a cause, to become more responsible and reliable, to value teamwork as well as setting and achieving personal and group goals. We are extremely grateful to the dedicated students, parents, staff, school administration, school foundation, and community members for their support of our music program.
We offer a rich curriculum of musical offerings including three concert bands, musical pit orchestra, jazz ensembles, various small seasonal ensembles, pep band and AP Music Theory. All band members perform in at least 4 concert band concerts, about a dozen pep band performances, and at least one section or conference contest or festival. Junior and senior band, choir, and orchestra members tour every other year. Recent trips included performances and travel to the Puerto Rico, California, Florida, Mexico, Hawaii, Washington DC, and New York.
The Cardinal Choir is one of six curricular and co-curricular choirs at Willmar High School and is comprised of juniors and seniors. The Cardinal Choir is an auditioned mixed choir performing mainly a cappella music. The majority of the members are also involved in band and/or orchestra. The choir has earned consistent “superior” ratings at contest and festivals. Performances in New York, DC, Pearl Harbor, Disneyland, Mexico and the Bahamas highlight the choir's past tours with the band and orchestra. The choir has also performed on three Carnival Cruise Ships as a part of their Performance at Sea program. The choir also has been involved in the Bach Society of Minnesota hosting a workshop in the fall of 2018. The Cardinal Choir's other performances include: MMEA State Convention in 2013 and 2019, Concordia Choir Festival in 2014, 2018, 2023 and Choral Arts Finale in 2014.
The Choralaires is an auditioned all treble voice choir. The 45 voice choir is comprised of juniors and seniors who are not in any other performing ensembles. The choir has also performed with the music department's tours. They have consistently earned “superior” ratings at contests and festivals. They participate and perform at the NDSU Women's Festival on a yearly basis.
The Varsity Choir is a mixed choir consisting of 9-12th graders. These students are students involved in band, orchestra, and choir. The students in this ensemble also have the opportunity to "skinny" with Spanish 2. Choir members perform in four major concerts throughout the year.
The 9th Grade Concert Choir is the first level choir at the high school. This choir consists of students who are in band and choir. The students in this ensemble also have the opportunity to "skinny" with Spanish 2. Choir members perform in four major concerts throughout the year.
"2701" is an extracurricular mixed ensemble comprised of juniors and seniors who rehearse before school. This select ensemble is auditioned each spring for the next year.. This group performs as a caroling ensemble during the month of December. They perform throughout the area to bring holiday music. The remainder of the year, the ensemble works on jazz and pop music. They perform in all concerts and throughout the community.
Camerata is a 9-12th grade men’s ensemble who rehearses before school. This select ensemble is a non auditioned group but must commit to the ensemble. They perform throughout the community as well as all concerts. This group performs “guys” music from all genres.
WHS OrchestraThe Cardinal Orchestra is comprised of juniors and seniors and is an auditioned ensemble. Many students in this ensemble also participate in band and/or choir in addition to orchestra. Students also have the opportunity to take AP Music Theory within the same block. The Cardinal Orchestra travels every two years with the band and choir to share performances with audiences all over the United States.The Varsity Orchestra is made up of ninth and tenth graders. Most students are also in band and/or choir in addition to orchestra. Students have the option of also taking Spanish 2 in addition to their music classes within the same block.The Chamber Orchestra is an extracurricular ensemble that rehearses on Wednesday mornings before school. All students, grades 9-12 enrolled in orchestra during the school day, may audition. This ensemble performs at the December and March concerts and often performs for 3rd graders at Kennedy, Roosevelt, and Lakeland Elementary Schools in the spring. The Chamber Orchestra also performs at Solo/Ensemble Contest where the group has received the high honor of "Best at Site" multiple years. This ensemble has also had the opportunity to participate in a workshop with the Bach Society of Minnesota.All orchestra students in both Cardinal Orchestra and Varsity Orchestra learn and perform high quality string orchestra music from the standard literature. All students are required to participate in at least 4 major concerts per year and one contest or festival. All students have the option of participating in Solo/Ensemble Contest as well.This year, 2022-23, the Willmar Public Schools Orchestra Program is celebrating 100 years of music-making in the Willmar Public Schools!
Choir, ChairNeal Haugen