Students playing saxophones

Performance Opportunities

Winona State music students lead rich musical lives with many opportunities to perform as a soloist and in chamber and large ensembles.

For more information regarding large and jazz ensembles, please visit the Band Program webpage. 

Symphonic Wind Ensemble

The primary ensemble in the WSU Band program is the Symphonic Wind Ensemble, which rehearses three days a week and performs in four concerts and two commencement ceremonies per year.

The pep band, a secondary responsibility of the wind ensemble, performs at selected football and basketball games.

Private instruction is also offered for all Symphonic Wind Ensemble students, as faculty schedules allow.

For further information about the WSU Bands, please contact Dr. Melanie Brooks at

Symphonic Band

The Symphonic Band is the second of two ensembles within the Band Program.

The Symphonic Band rehearses one evening a week and performs in four concerts per year. 

For further information about the WSU Bands, please contact Dr. Melanie Brooks at

Concert Choir

Concert Choir is a choral ensemble that offers students the chance to be involved in music from the Renaissance to the 20th century.

Women's Chorus

Women’s Chorus is a choral ensemble focused on music written specifically for women's voices.

The music rehearsed and performed ranges from the sixteenth century to the present.


The WSU Orchestra performs works ranging from the baroque period to contemporary during four concerts each year.

Jazz Ensembles

The WSU jazz ensemble is a group of talented musicians selected through audition each year. The group performs various types of jazz and is one of the most active performing groups on campus.

Jazz Combos

Jazz Combos help students learn the art of jazz performance and improvisation in a small ensemble setting.

Groups range in size from four to nine pieces, and all instrumentalists are welcome.

Each combo performs once each semester, though many groups chose to add additional performances off-campus at various venues.

The saxophone quartet is a select chamber group by audition only. This outstanding ensemble performs regularly throughout the year and is often called upon to perform at various important university functions.

For further information about saxophone studies at WSU, please contact Dr. Melanie Brooks at

The flute Choir is a 15-member chamber ensemble that is open to WSU students by audition. The ensemble performs a variety of literature that uses the full family of flutes: Bass Flute, Alto Flute, C Flute and Piccolo. This ensemble performs throughout the year in recitals, within the community for various functions and for various University events. Smaller groups such as flute quartets are also available for students to join when possible.

For further information regarding the flute choir at WSU, please contact Dr. Rachel Haug Root at

The WSU Brass Ensemble is open to all WSU students by audition and is available for academic credit. The ensemble rehearses weekly and performs two to three times per semester. The ensemble performs a wide array of styles including works by Giovannia Gabrieli, Modeste Mussorgski and Edwin Avril.

For further information regarding the Brass Ensemble at WSU, please contact Dr. Daniel Sheridan at

The percussion program at Winona State University is one of the most active in the state of Minnesota.

It is made up of music majors, minors and non-major participants who study and perform in the percussion studio and various musical ensembles on campus which include Drumline, Percussion Ensemble, Marimba Quartet, Jazz Ensemble, Jazz Combo, Concert Band and Orchestra.

Some of the guest soloists who have appeared with the WSU Percussion Ensemble in recent years include

  • Luis Benetti
  • Gregg Bissonette
  • Michael Carney
  • Brad Dutz
  • Phil Faini
  • Rebecca Kite
  • Arthur Lipner
  • Sowah Mensah
  • Ney Rosauro
  • Leigh Howard Stevens
  • Michael Varner
  • Percussion Group Cincinnati

For further information about the WSU Percussion Ensemble, please contact Mr. Jack Donovan at

The String Ensemble is exclusive to WSU students. They play together as a chamber orchestra and perform two concerts a year. However, members of the String Ensemble also form duos, trios and quartets amongst themselves and perform throughout the year in such settings as coffeehouses, the recital hall and even weddings.

There are many things that set this program apart from other orchestral programs. One of the most unique aspects of the WSU orchestra program is that both ensembles not only perform monuments of standard orchestral repertoire, but they also play compositions written by living composers, many of whom reside in our regions.

Another aspect that sets the WSU Orchestra program apart from the rest is the strong spirit of camaraderie that the musicians share. The ensembles have opportunities to travel together to attend professional orchestra concerts. They are also able to meet the performers and composers after the concerts. Members of these ensembles have also established the Student Symphony Orchestra Club, which allows them to attend numerous orchestral concerts in cities such as Chicago and Minneapolis.

Here are a few pieces of information that will be helpful to you in preparing to get involved in our orchestral program:

  • The requirement to become involved in the string ensemble is to audition.
  • Participating in the string ensemble is considered a one-credit class which can be used towards your Music major or minor. If you are not a Music student, this credit can be used as a university studies credit toward your graduation.
  • If you do not own an instrument, we have a limited supply of violins, violas, cellos, basses and harps that can be borrowed. If you are interested in borrowing one of these instruments, please contact Dr. Sheridan at
  • The concert attire for the string ensemble includes a long black dress for women and a black suit and bow tie for men.

There are many wonderful opportunities awaiting you here at Winona State University. We hope that you will consider our fine orchestral program in your search for musical enrichment.

For further information about the WSU string ensemble, please contact Dr. Dan Sheridan at