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Department of Music broadens performance opportunities for students

ETSU Carillon

JOHNSON CITY (May 30, 2013) – Student musicians attending East Tennessee State University will soon have several new performance options open to them.

Beginning this fall, the Department of Music in the College of Arts and Sciences will introduce a completely revamped ensemble program to offer student musicians a greater variety of performance experiences from which to choose and more convenient scheduling.

With the hiring of Dr. Alan Stevens as associate director of choral activities in 2012 and Dr. Matthew Potterton as director of choral activities beginning in August, the department will be able to offer multiple vocal ensembles each semester.

The ETSU Chorale will continue to be the premier ensemble, but will be an auditioned group with no more than 40 singers.  The focus of this group will be traditional classical choral repertoire and major works.  Other vocalists may participate in either men’s or women’s ensemble.  These groups will allow students to explore a completely different repertoire and focus on the unique issues related to male and female voice types.

In addition, the popular Jazz Singers will return to ETSU.  This mixed ensemble of about 12 auditioned students will perform jazz standards and arrangements of popular music.

Karen Smith will continue to direct ETSU’s Opera Workshop, which presents opera scenes during one semester and a fully staged opera in the other.  Recent productions include Donizetti’s “L’Elisir d’Amore (The Elixir of Love)” and Humperdinck’s “Hansel and Gretel.”  The spring semester opera scenes program featured selections from “West Side Story,” “Sweeney Todd,” “Les Misérables” and other popular operas.

The ETSU band program, led by Dr. Christian Zembower, director of bands, is also undergoing significant ensemble changes.  The most proficient instrumental students will be part of Chamber Winds, a group of eight to 20 musicians that will perform more soloistic repertoire; instrumentation will vary depending on the music chosen.  Other instrumentalists will perform with Symphonic Winds.

In addition to these large instrumental ensembles, students will have a wide variety of other opportunities.

Jazz musicians may enroll in the Jazz Ensemble or in a jazz combo.  There will be small ensembles for practically every instrument, from flute quartet to tuba-euphonium ensemble and percussion ensemble.

Students with an interest in early music (pre-1600) may join the newly formed Collegium Musicum ensembles.  Opportunities are available for both vocalists and instrumental musicians.

ETSU music ensembles are open to all students, regardless of major.  Most, including the most select groups, have a significant number of students from other disciplines.

For more information or to inquire about joining an ensemble, email Dr. Christian Zembower (instrumental music) at or Dr. Alan Stevens (vocal ensembles) at , or call the Department of Music at (423) 439-4270.