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ETSU expands music department, offers new performace options for students

Posted on Monday, June 3, 2013 at 12:14 pm

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Student musicians attending East Tennessee State University will soon have several new performance options open to them.

 Beginning this fall, the music department in the ETSU 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 that group will be traditional classical choral repertoire and major works.

 Other vocalists may participate in either the men’s or women’s ensemble, which will each allow students to explore a completely different repertoire and focus on the unique issues related to male and female voice types.

 In addition, the school’s Jazz Singers will return to ETSU.

 The mixed ensemble of about a dozen auditioned students will perform jazz standards and arrangements of popular music.

 Karen Smith will continue to direct the ETSU Opera Workshop, which presents opera scenes during one semester and a fully staged opera in the other.

 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 Director of Bands Dr. Christian Zembower, is also undergoing significant ensemble changes.

 The most proficient instrumental students will be part of the ETSU 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 ETSU Symphonic Winds. In addition to those large instrumental ensembles, students will have a variety of other opportunities. Jazz musicians may enroll in the ETSU Jazz Ensemble or in a jazz combo. There will be small ensembles for practically every instrument, according to the university, such as flute quartet, tuba-euphonium ensemble and percussion ensemble. Students with an interest in pre-1600 music 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 Zembower at, Stevens at or call the ETSU Department of Music at 423-439-4270.