Two students playing flutes

Chamber Ensembles

Saxophone Ensemble. The Winona State Saxophone Ensemble has a rich performance tradition of contemporary, traditional and historic music for the saxophone family. Besides regular concert appearances on campus and ceremonial assistance to the University, through the years, the group has performed at area high schools and appeared—along with other college saxophone ensembles—with the WI 132nd Army National Guard Band saxophone ensemble, the Soldiers of Sax. Interested performers should watch for posting of audition information as the fall term approaches. Participation requires one supervised hour rehearsal per week.

Saxophone Quartet. 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. Harry Hindson.

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.

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.

Madrigal Singers is a small choral group that provides select vocal students the opportunity to become familiar with, rehearse and perform music intended for vocal ensembles ranging in style from the 16th-20th centuries. This ensemble frequently tours to schools in the region and sings at campus functions. One of the year's most exciting activities is the Madrigal Banquet hosted by the WSU Choirs.

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.

Each year the percussion ensemble features guest soloists at its spring concert. The ensemble also hosts PAS Days of Percussion every other year. 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 and Percussion Group Cincinnati.

The program is directed by Dr. R. Richard MacDonald, a graduate of the University of North Texas (B.M. and M.M.E.) and the University of Northern Colorado (Doctor of Arts). Dr. MacDonald is active with various jazz, chamber and symphonic groups in the tri-state area. He has appeared as a drumset and percussion soloist both nationally and internationally. He is also a contributing author to Percussive Notes, having written several articles on fundamental drumset pedagogy. Dr. MacDonald is a member of the Vic Firth and Sabian education teams.

For further information regarding the Percussion Ensemble at WSU, please contact Dr. R. Richard Macdonald.

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 towards 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. Vance.
  • 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. Paul Vance.