Instrumental Ensembles

The following ensembles provide diverse performance opportunities for all students.  They are open by audition to music majors, non-music majors, and community players. Learn more about each in the tabs below.

The Wind Ensemble at Stanislaus State presents a great variety of music, including standard wind ensemble & concert band repertoire and newly commissioned works from established and emerging composers. The ensemble performs in many diverse settings and configurations as well, frequently experimenting with new and different modes of concert presentation and audience engagement. The Wind Ensemble has gained wide recognition for its diverse and creative programs and its commitment to excellent, compelling musical performance. The ensemble has been featured throughout California and the western U.S., and on tours internationally.

Watch a performance

Watch a performance

The Symphony and Chamber Orchestras perform a broad, eclectic range of repertoire for both chamber and full orchestra with focus on individual musical development through performances in small ensembles of varying instrumentation, with and without a conductor.  Entrepreneurship among students in finding repertoire and assembling ensembles is encouraged, as well as initiative in creating performance experiences for those groups.

The symphony and chamber orchestra program is open by audition to all music students, non-majors, and community members, and rehearses Wednesday nights from 7:00-9:30 p.m.

Directed by Joe Mazzaferro, The Jazz Ensemble at California State University, Stanislaus is active in performing a wide variety of styles; from the cutting edge contemporary styles of writers such as Maria Schneider , Jim McNeely, Vince Mendoza, and Bob Mintzer to the classics of Count Basie, Duke Ellington, and Charles Mingus. The Jazz Ensemble performs regular concerts on campus and at top local and regional jazz festivals.

By participating in the jazz ensemble, the student who aspires to become a professional player will perform in a professional atmosphere with many of the same professional responsibilities. In both rehearsal and performance situations, the future aspiring professional jazz musician and/or music educator will be exposed to many different teaching techniques and concepts.

Placement in the jazz ensemble is by audition only.

Audition information for all jazz performing groups at California State University, Stanislaus will be posted one week before the first day of class of each semester. The results from the audition are usually posted the day following the auditions. Sign-up sheets will be posted on the Jazz Studies Bulletin Board (located outside of M-43).

For audition information, please contact Joe Mazzaferro.

Horn Players:

The sole basis for placement in bands will be sight-reading. During the sight-reading audition, consideration will be given to time, feel, range, tone, intonation and aggressiveness. Several styles, such as swing, funk, ballad and Latin, may be used in the audition.

Rhythm Section Players:

Each student will be asked to read a variety of jazz literature as well as just playing time. In addition, each rhythm section player will be asked to solo over changes. Drummers should know all styles of drumming including, but not limited to, up-tempo and medium swing, jazz waltz, funk, shuffle, samba, etc.

Jazz Combos

The Jazz Combo Program at California State University, Stanislaus seeks to provide students with the necessary skills for performing professionally in a small group jazz environment.

Jazz Combo students are expected to develop their own unique ensemble sound and group concept by fusing the creative, artistic, and technical abilities of the individuals in each group. Additionally, students are encouraged to explore original compositions, 'head charts?, free group improvisation, and unique arrangements of standard jazz repertoire.

To prepare students for professional performance situations, the memorization of standard jazz repertoire is expected.

Combos perform frequently on and off campus for a variety of different functions and events.

Placement in jazz combos is by audition only.

Audition information for all jazz performing groups at California State University, Stanislaus will be posted one week before the first day of class of each semester. The results from the audition are usually posted the day following the auditions. Sign-up sheets will be posted on the Jazz Studies Bulletin Board (located outside of M-43).

For audition information, please contact Joe Mazzaferro.

All Combo Players:

Those students interested in playing in a jazz combo will be asked to play the melody of and solo (at least 2 choruses) over a jazz standard, a blues, and rhythm changes. A list of acceptable jazz standards will be posted along with the audition information. Drummers should know all styles of drumming including, but not limited to: up-tempo and medium swing, jazz waltz, funk, shuffle, and samba.

The Collective

The CSU Stanislaus Collective is a student/faculty-based ensemble that was created for jazz majors to further develop their skills as improvisers and gain a deeper understanding of the music in its historical context. Throughout the year, the Collective will focus on repertoire that represents the jazz tradition as well as the forward movement of the music all while performing concerts on campus and throughout the Central Valley and Northern California communities.

For audition information, please contact Joe Mazzaferro.

The Percussion Ensemble performs concerts in the fall and spring semesters. The group performs the concert percussion repertoire and has premiered several compositions by University students and faculty composers. The ensemble has performed throughout the central part of the state, at festivals, and at other universities.

Watch a video about the percussion studio.

Chamber music studies in woodwind, brass, strings, keyboard, and guitar are available in the fall and spring semesters. These ad hoc ensembles present a joint public recital each semester.

Vocal Ensembles

The following ensembles provide diverse performance opportunities for all students. They are open by audition to music majors, non-music majors, and community players. Learn more about each in the tabs below.

The premier choral ensemble of 20-24 singers, most of whom are vocal performance majors, specializes in music from the Middle Ages to the present.  Requirements include a well-developed vocal technique, superior sightreading, and high-level musicianship. At least five concerts are presented each year, including off-campus performances and mini-tours.

This select, advanced choir of 70-80 members is primarily composed of undergraduates. The ensemble presents numerous concerts throughout the year and often joins the instrumental ensembles to perform majors works. The repertoire ranges from sacred to secular, Renaissance to 21st century, and folk songs to opera choruses. Concert Chorale is the primary performing ensemble for vocal performance and choral music education majors, who are required to participate.  Tours and off-campus events are part of the performance calendar.

Each semester, Opera Workshop students at Stanislaus State present a program of fully staged and costumed arias, scenes and complete works drawn from the Opera, Operetta and Musical Theater repertoire.  Performances are given in Snider Recital Hall on the Stanislaus campus as well as in regional venues such as the Gallo Center for the Arts in Modesto and are accompanied by full orchestra or piano.

Students are coached in the fundamentals of stage movement, acting, foreign language stage diction, and period interpretation in a one-on-one, supportive atmosphere that encourages each singing actor’s active participation in the creative process.

Past productions in which students either took leading or supporting roles include:  The Magic Flute, Anything Goes, The Telephone, Gianni Schicchi, The Old Maid and the Thief, The Mikado, Little Shop of Horrors, Trial by Jury, and Dido and Aeneas.  Opera Workshop is open to all students by consent of the instructor.

Four actors in the play Dido and Aeneas
Three actors from the play Dido and Aeneas
A scene from the Little Shop of Horrors

 

Another scene from the play Dido and Aeneas
Two actors from the Magic Flute play
Two actors from the play Dido and Aeneas

 

4 blonde women
A bride, a groom, two male judges, and two women

 

Updated: January 11, 2023