Drexel offers students a wide range of performance ensembles in music, theater and dance for anyone wishing to develop their talent, and grow both educationally and artistically. Music groups focus on various musical genres, including choral and instrumental ensembles, ranging from classical to rock music, and ranging in size from large concert ensembles to small chamber groups. The Drexel music ensembles perform at a variety of on and off campus.
Choral ensembles include:
Instrumental musicians may perform with (see below for more information):
- the Jazz Orchestra
- the Jazztet
- the Saxtet
- the Drexel Fusion Band
- the Concert Band - open to all brass, woodwind and percussion students
- the Pep Band - performs at all the home men's and women's basketball games
- University Orchestra
- Percussion Ensemble
- Mediterranean Ensemble
- Keyboard Ensemble
- Guitar Ensemble
- Ensemble performance opportunities for guitarists, pianists, percussionists. The Drexel music ensembles perform at a variety of on and off campus events.
Performance scholarships are available for Choral ensembles, Jazz ensembles, Concert Band, Pep Band, and University Orchestra. Please contact Scott Bacon, Ensembles Coordinator, for additional information at (215) 895-4915 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information about all University Choirs, check out their website here.
University Chorus is a large choir of approximately sixty people, performing traditional concert choir literature both a cappella and with instrumental accompaniment. Students must audition to participate in this ensemble. Rehearsals take place on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 5:30-7:00. To find out more, contact the Chorus Director, Dr. Powell, at (215) 895-4912 or the Performing Arts Office at (215) 895-2451.
Audition requirements for the University Chorus consist of vocalizing, pitch matching and easy sight-reading. Non-readers with good pitch retention may be admitted to the group. Interested singers should simply come to the first rehearsal, sit in, and sign up for an audition time at the end of rehearsal. Note: most of the singers are not music majors.
Vocal Jazz Ensemble
Vocal Jazz Ensemble is a select group of 14 singers selected through auditions from the University Chorus. The ensemble performs 'anything that swings,' singing a variety of pieces from the 20's to the 90's with a three-piece back-up band. Many singers also do solos. Vocal Jazz Ensemble performs frequently at off-campus venues including malls, banquet halls, and retirement homes. Effective January 2011, this ensemble rehearses on Mondays from 7:30-9:30 pm and is directed by Dr. Powell.
Chamber Singers is a select group of 16 singers chosen by audition from the University Chorus. They perform primarily secular music from the Renaissance (Madrigals, Chansons, Partsongs). The group performs on the Fall and Spring Chorus concerts as well as a pair of costumed, scripted, Madrigal Dinners in the Winter. Effective January, 2011, this ensemble rehearses once a week on Mondays from 5:30-7:30 pm and is directed by Dr. Powell.
The Gospel Choir consists of around 60 singers and is open to all Drexel Students. This ensemble performs contemporary gospel music with its own backup band. The Gospel Choir frequently performs in churches and at community events throughout the Delaware Valley. The Gospel Choir also participates in a weekend concert tour most years.
The Gospel Choir rehearses Thursday evenings from 7:15-9:00 pm in room 2032 MacAlister Hall. Mr. Gregory Ross directs this inspiring ensemble: "The Drexel University Gospel Choir extends a warm invitation to everyone to come and sing with us!" No Auditions Necessary. For more information, contact Mr. Ross at (215) 895-2451.
The Concert Band is an ensemble of over 60 players, performing classic and contemporary band literature of the highest quality. Students refine their technique, develop ensemble skills, and focus on performing at an expert level of insight and interpretation. Student leadership is actively encouraged, on every level from behind the scenes logistics to conducting in performance. The band program also provides opportunities for chamber music performance.
The Drexel Pep Band is composed of most of the Concert Band members. It performs at the home games of Drexel's men and women's basketball teams and also travels to perform at post-season tournament games. The Pep Band is an integral part of the Spirit Team that includes the Drexel Cheerleaders, Dance Team and fans!
Audition requirements for both the Concert Band and Pep Band consist of sight reading, scales, and exemplifying a willingness to work and enjoy music. Scholarships are available for this group. For more information on Concert and Pep Bands, feel free to contact Wesley Broadnax at email@example.com.
The Drexel University Instrumental Jazz Ensembles consist of three groups: Jazz Orchestra, Jazztet, and Saxtet. Acceptance to each ensemble is through auditions, and membership in the Orchestra is a prerequisite for participation in all of the groups. Trumpeters, trombonists, saxophonists, pianists, guitarists, bassists, drummers, vocalists, and other musicians with sufficient technical proficiency to perform jazz are welcome to audition. The ability to improvise is a plus, but not a necessity.
The Big Band provides the opportunity for students to study and perform music that is associated with and/or inspired by acknowledged masters of the jazz tradition such as Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Miles Davis, Thad Jones, and others. Jazz Orchestra meets on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 5:30-7:00 pm.
The Jazztet may range from quintet to octet in size. This ensemble performs small group masterpieces such as work associated with Art Blakey, Horace Silver, Clifford Brown, John Coltrane, and others. The Jazztet meets Tuesday or Thursday from 4:30-5:20 pm.
As its name suggests, the Saxtet is a small ensemble made up of saxophones, usually in a quartet configuration. The Saxtet performs music in a wide variety of styles, including spirituals, blues, ragtime, and jazz. The Saxtet meets Tuesday or Thursday from 4:30-5:20 pm.
All ensembles perform jointly at least once per quarter in regularly scheduled concerts, with some additional performances both on and off campus occasionally. For more information contact Dr. George Starks at firstname.lastname@example.org or 215-895-2451.
Fusion Band is an advanced performance ensemble exploring a variety of musical styles and genres, including but not limited to: funk, reggae, contemporary jazz, samba, salsa, Afro-Cuban, and world music. Improvisation is an important aspect of the ensemble experience.
Audition requirements include a demonstration of proficiency on one's instrument, knowledge of scales and chords, the ability to read music, and a demonstrated ability to improvise. In certain instances, a personal recommendation from the student's teacher may be used in lieu of an actual audition. This ensemble is directed by Lynne Riley who can be contacted by e-mail at email@example.com.
Guitar Ensemble I & II
Guitar Ensemble I is a learning-based ensemble that comprises roughly 15 guitarists that play acoustic instruments. Unlike playing guitar in a rock band, this group offers its participants a chance to play in a larger, orchestra-like setting. The repertoire consists primarily of classical and jazz pieces specially arranged for the group. All of this culminates in a unique experience that teaches new skills. An audition is not required to participate, however students must at least possess basic note reading ability in first position on the guitar neck.
Guitar Ensemble II is a performance-based ensemble. The objective is to rehearse repertoire for public performance. Therefore, this ensemble requires strong reading skills, musicianship, and an admirable work ethic. The repertoire ranges from Renaissance madrigals to twentieth century Latin-American Classical pieces. However, repertoire is not limited to the Classical tradition; the ensemble also performs Jazz arrangements from Swing to Latin and Funk. In this case, it is necessary to have some students with strong improvisational skills as well as chord reading ability in the context of Jazz harmony. Most of the pieces performed are specially arranged for the group. Some parts require capable reading skills in tenth position, whereas others may lie primarily in first position.
An audition is required for Guitar Ensemble II to test students' overall reading and musicianship ability as well as their placement for parts (assuming acceptance into the group). Students with a competent knowledge of Jazz improvisation and chord voicing would also be valued. Guitar Ensemble II also welcomes bass guitarists to audition, for which there is one position. Bassists must also possess strong reading ability on their instrument. Knowledge of Jazz styles is an advantage, but not mandatory for acceptance.
Guitar Ensemble II seeks to maintain its intimate size of no more than eight guitarists and one bass guitarist. There is no guarantee as to the amount of vacancies, so interested students should contact the director regarding such information, and set up an audition time. Both ensembles are directed by Mr. Joe Napoli who can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org .
University Orchestra is a full orchestra comprised of students from all colleges and majors across the university. The strings make up the core group and then supplemented with brass, woodwinds, and percussionists drawn from the concert band. Repertoire ranges from 18th through 20th century classical music. University Orchestra has hosted guest soloists from the Philadelphia Orchestra as well as showcased student soloists. For more information contact the director, Paul Bryan.
The Percussion Ensemble brings together the ethnic with the orchestral, the ancient with the modern, in both percussion instruments and applications. Students will learn to play traditional ethnic hand percussion instruments such as tabla and dumbek, along with orchestral mallet percussion instruments including the marimba and vibraphone. The ensemble also incorporates the use modern percussion technology (including iPhone Apps and drum machines), as well as everyday household items & utilities, such as all-purpose buckets, brooms, trash cans, etc. The ensemble will work with the Concert Band when pieces call for an enlarged percussion section, in addition to compositions and productions of its own. This ensemble is directed by Mark Beecher who can be contacted at email@example.com.
The Drexel University Mediterranean Ensemble is open to any student with an interest in performing traditional music from Southeastern Europe, the Middle East and Northern Africa. All traditional and Western instruments are welcomed including oud, bouzouki and saz along with guitar, violin and sax. Percussionsts can play Drexel's wide assortment of traditional drums including doumbek, riq and djimbe. Students will have the opportunity to perform 7/8 and 9/8 rhythms from Greece, 10/8 rhythms from Turkey, learn songs in Greek, Turkish, Arabic and Hebrew. The course will also have a dance component. This ensemble will fulfill the ensemble requirement for music majors. Drexel's Mediterranean Ensemble will meet on Wednesdays from 3-6 pm starting in the spring of 2007. Please contact Bruce Kaminsky at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
The Keyboard Ensemble is a group of up to 12 piano/keyboard players, at various skill levels, working to develop ensemble and rehearsal skills. Rehearsals include practicing duets and ensemble arrangements, and developing beginning improvisational skills. Materials may differ from student to student, depending on keyboard proficiency. There are two groups, an advanced and a beginning-intermediate. An audition may be required for the advanced group, which requires at least about 7 years of piano study. The director, Wanda Canfield, may be contacted at email@example.com.