Do You Play an Instrument? Try Out for One of Notre Dame's Many Instrumental Ensembles!

Author: Putt, Karen

Click to see the Band of the Fighting Irish perform at the Notre Dame vs. USC football game in 2019.

And here it is…the Band of the Fighting Irish!

No football weekend at Notre Dame would be complete without the marching band weaving its way through campus to the stadium and playing the Victory March.

Over 380 members strong, the Notre Dame Band is the oldest college band in continuous existence. Band members represent every college at Notre Dame, and only a handful of its members are music majors.

While the Marching Band may be the most recognized, there are many other options for students to continue instrumental performance in college. 

Marching Band Gameday

Marching Band 

The Band of the Fighting Irish is the premier musical ensemble of the Notre Dame Band program. With 380 members, the band has students from across the nation representing every field of study. The marching band performs at every Notre Dame home football game and select away games. 


Varsity Band

More than 300 students each year participate in the Notre Dame Basketball and Hockey Varsity (Pep) Bands. Basketball Bands are split into 2 groups, playing for both Men's and Women's Basketball home games. Hockey Band performs as one group at all Hockey home games.


Concert Band

There are three concert bands at Notre Dame: Symphonic Winds, Symphonic Band, and University Band. The Symphonic Winds and Symphonic Band are comprised primarily of undergraduate students,and require an audition for placement.

The University Band is an "open" ensemble, and is the largest of the concert bands. Membership is comprised of university faculty, staff, undergraduate and graduate students, alumni, and community members.

See the ND New Orleans Brass Band play at CJF.

Jazz Band

Notre Dame has a proud history of jazz music. There are two "traditional" big band-style ensembles, and the ND New Orleans Brass Band. All jazz ensembles require an audition for placement.

Notre Dame also hosts the nationally-recognized Collegiate Jazz Festival (SJF) each February. CJF is the oldest festival for collegiate jazz musicians in the country.

Learn about band opportunities and auditions.

Notre Dame Symphony Orchestra and Chamber Orchestra

The Symphony Orchestra is an ensemble of 80-90 players devoted to the orchestral music of the 18th through 21st centuries. This orchestra is open to all members of the Notre Dame and greater South Bend community; non-music majors who wish to continue instrumental performance during their college careers are particularly encouraged to participate. 

The Notre Dame Chamber Orchestra is a select ensemble that performs with the Notre Dame Chorale in its on-campus concerts. With only one to three players per part, the Chamber Orchestra requires advanced skills. About half the players are professionals, the rest being drawn from the ranks of the Notre Dame Symphony Orchestra. 

Learn more about the Notre Dame orchestras.

DeBartolo Performing Art Center

Many musical ensembles perform in the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center, Notre Dame's 150,000-square-foot venue for the arts.

Take a look behind the scenes with Ted Barron, the executive director of the facility.