University of Arizona

Arizona Bands Information

About Us

  • The University of Arizona Bands offers both majors and non-majors a wide variety of performance opportunities. The Pride of Arizona Marching Band is one of the finest and most storied athletic bands programs in the country. Made up of over 65 different majors, the Pride is the most representative student organization on campus. The Wind Ensemble is the university’s premier wind band and is nationally recognized for its outstanding performances and recordings. The Wind Symphony performs the standard wind literature, orchestral transcriptions and the seminal works written for wind band. The Symphonic Band performs a wide range of material in a variety of styles. This campus-wide ensemble brings together students from a variety of disciplines to focus on musical growth and expression. Our mission is to utilize the transformative power of music to elevate, entertain, and enrich the lives of our students and audiences.
  • Financial aid is available to qualified undergraduate and graduate students through audition.
  • Join the “Best in the West” in a magnificent setting at one of the country’s leading universities.


DR. CHAD R. NICHOLSON, Director of Bands at the University of Arizona School of Music, serves as the conductor of the University of Arizona Wind Ensemble and Chamber Winds. Additionally, he oversees the entire wind band program and instructs undergraduate and graduate wind conducting students. Dr. Nicholson’s experiences as a music educator span all ages and ensemble types. He has conducted many All-State and honor groups around the world. Nicholson is a Chief Guest Conductor of the Beijing Wind Orchestra, China’s first professional wind ensemble. He has been an adjudicator for the All-Chinese Wind Band Contest and has conducted groups in Tokyo, Taipei, and Shanghai. Nicholson has worked with ensembles from New York’s Carnegie Hall to the National Centre for the Performing Arts in Beijing.

Dr. Nicholson authored a book designed to aid conductors in repertoire selection and concert programming titled Great Music for Wind Band, and a newly translated edition of this book will soon be released for directors in East Asia.  He is a contributing author for the recently published sourcebook for music educators, Engaging Musical Practices, and he has written articles for eight volumes of Teaching Music through Performance in Band. In conjunction with Forward Motion, Nicholson recently produced a new video series of online masterclasses, called Pro Tips for Band Directors, that provide in-depth score study, conducting, and rehearsal ideas for wind band masterworks.

Nicholson is a frequent presenter and performer at regional, national, and international conferences. In 2020, he was the featured guest conductor in Tokyo at the 2020 ASIJ Wind Band Festival. Dr. Nicholson led ensembles at the Taiwan International Band Clinic and at several College Band Director National Association Divisional Conferences. Nicholson has been a featured presenter at the National Association for Music Education Conference in Texas and has presented twice at the Midwest International Band and Orchestra Clinic in Chicago.

Before his appointment at the University of Arizona, Dr. Nicholson served on the faculties at the University of Delaware, Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne, and Colorado State University. He was a public school teacher in Oregon and Oklahoma. His primary conducting mentors include William Wakefield, Ken Van Winkle, Stephen W. Pratt and Ray E. Cramer. Nicholson holds degrees from the University of Oklahoma (BME), New Mexico State University (MM), and Indiana University (DM).

CHAD SHOOPMAN is the associate director of bands and director of athletic bands at the University of Arizona. His duties include conducting the UA Wind Symphony, directing The Pride of Arizona Marching Band and Pep Band, as well as teaching leadership and marching band techniques courses. A proud alumnus, Shoopman earned both his Bachelor of Music degree in music education (1996) and Master of Music degree in conducting performance (1999) at the University of Arizona. While at UA, he studied conducting with Gregg I. Hanson. He continued studying choral and orchestral conducting with Dr. John Sinclair at Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida.

Prior to his current appointment, Shoopman was a distinguished adjunct faculty member at Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida where he taught film music history, trumpet, and conducting. He worked for the Walt Disney World Company conducting and performing on countless multi-million dollar studio projects for Walt Disney World, Tokyo Disneyland, Disneyland Paris, and Disney Cruise Lines. He also worked as a conductor, performer, arranger, and choreographer for live shows seen by millions of guests throughout Walt Disney World including FutureCorps, Tomorrowland Countdown, Main Street Philharmonic, and Disney’s Candlelight Processional. As the most requested clinician for Disney Performing Arts (formerly Magic Music Days), he was honored to lead thousands of educational workshops for middle school, high school, and college bands and orchestras from all over the world. In 2010, Shoopman was appointed music director and conductor of the Brass Band of Central Florida. Under his baton, the BBCF won a national championship, recorded three albums, and earned the ranking of 13th best brass band in the world; the highest placement any band outside of Great Britain has ever achieved. He was known for innovative show designs and arrangements that appealed to a wide range of audiences while still maintaining artistic integrity in the ever-growing American brass band movement.

Professor Shoopman has enjoyed numerous guest-conducting, adjudication, and clinic appointments in the United States, Canada, Japan, Great Britain, Germany, France, and Australia. He is an active orchestral conductor, appearing with the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra, the Florida Symphony Orchestra, and the Florida Lakes Symphony Orchestra. He has conducted various musical theater productions including “Shrek The Musical” & “The Pajama Game”, and is recognized for being equally comfortable conducting a wide variety of musical styles and ensembles. He has appeared regularly as lead trumpet for Gordon Goodwin’s Big Phat Band, Arturo Sandoval’s LA All- Star Big Band, Chuck Owen and the Jazz Surge, and the hr- Big Band in Frankfurt, Germany, as well as symphony orchestras throughout the United States.