Participating in an ensemble is an important part of a complete experience in music. The Drew University Music Department offers a variety of ensembles, serving both music majors/minors as well as students majoring in areas other than music. Opportunities to join each ensemble are widely advertised at the beginning of each academic year, with some ensembles accepting new members at the beginning of each spring semester as well.

Choral Ensembles

Choral Union (MUS 110)

The Drew University Choral Union is Drew’s community chorus, open not only to students, but to faculty, staff, and community members.  This mixed-voice (SATB) choir focuses on major works with orchestra and is the university’s largest choral ensemble.   Choral Union rehearses on Mondays from 7:00-9:00 pm in the Concert Hall at Drew.
Auditions are done at the beginning of each academic semester, in late August.  For more information on becoming a member of the Choral Union, contact Sarah Michal, Director of Choral & Vocal Studies, at smichal@drew.edu.

Chorale (MUS 215)

The Drew University Chorale (MUS 215) is the Music Department’s mixed-voice (SATB) chamber choir. With careful attention to artistic balance, the members of the Chorale are chosen by audition and expected to tackle a wide variety of styles, languages, and techniques. The repertoire of the Drew Chorale has traditionally spanned works from the Medieval period into the 21st century. Chorale membership is reserved for students who demonstrate music-reading ability, experience singing in advanced choral ensembles, and the likelihood of thriving in a small, chamber choir environment. Chorale rehearses on Tuesdays from 8-8 pm (in conjunction with Choral Union) and Thursdays from 5:30-6:30 pm.
In addition to performances throughout the academic year, students in Chorale spend an additional week after the conclusion of each spring semester performing in the Baccalaureate and Commencement ceremonies and participating in end-of-year activities.

For more information on becoming a member of the Chorale or to schedule an audition, contact Sarah Michal, Director of Choral & Vocal Studies, at smichal@drew.edu.

Chamber Music

Chamber Music (MUS 229) opportunities allow students to perform works for various combinations of instruments or voices, such as duets, trios, quartets, and more. For additional information on how you can become involved with Chamber Music performances at Drew, please contact Prof. David Iskowitz at diskowitz@drew.edu.

The Jill Spurr Titus Scholars

Jill Spurr Titus graduated from Drew University in May 1989 with a double major in Music and Psychology. She was enrolled as a graduate student at Lesley College (Cambridge, MA) in the Creative Arts Therapy Program when she was tragically killed in an automobile accident. It is the wish and hope of the Music Department together with Jill’s parents, who have made this scholarship possible, that the memory of Jill and her remarkable spirit may continue here at Drew. We wish that her memory lives on, not only because Jill was a gifted musician who was always willing to do anything possible to further the musical life at Drew, but also because she was a generous person who was concerned about the well-being of others.

Perhaps no remembrance speaks more to the heart of Jill’s nature than of her desire to play her oboe for comatose patients in the hospital. Even though she had no way of knowing whether or not they heard her, she firmly believed that her efforts and her music could alleviate their suffering. The Jill Spurr Titus Scholars are instrumentalists chosen for their skill, talent, and dedication to performing music. The scholars perform one concert at the end of the full academic year representing music that they have prepared both as a group and on their own over the course of the year. We hope that the Jill Spurr Titus Memorial Scholarship in Music will serve as an inspiration to other students at Drew and encourage them to develop an enthusiasm for music, service, and education like that shown by Jill Spurr Titus.

Flute Ensemble

The Drew University Flute Ensemble (MUS 225) is open to Drew students and community members. The Flute Ensemble rehearses on a weekly basis to prepare for an end-of-semester concert and usually plays another concert in the community during the semester as well. Placement auditions are held at the beginning of each semester for community members. Drew students with basic flute-playing skills and a flute are encouraged to sign up for 1 credit or no credit at the beginning of each semester. For further information please contact Diana Reilly at dreilly@drew.edu for more information.

Jazz Ensemble

The Drew University Jazz Ensemble (MUS 226) is open to all musically qualified and interested instrumentalists, including students and other members of the Drew community. Membership is by audition only. The Jazz Ensemble focuses on repertoire from the swing, bebop, and hard bop eras, and into the 21st century.  Throughout the academic year, members of the ensemble work towards:

  • Aurally recognizing the major jazz forms, including blues and popular song forms
  • Comprehending the basic principles of jazz improvisation, and applying them clearly and musically
  • Performing jazz repertoire in a stylistically appropriate manner
  • Understanding and aurally recognizing the basic characteristics of the style periods of jazz and the major figures in jazz

Jazz Ensemble membership is reserved for dedicated students who demonstrate music-reading ability and experience performing in small and large jazz ensembles and provides talented instrumental students the opportunity to grow as young jazz artists. The Jazz Ensemble rehearses on Tuesdays, 6:00-8:00 PM. See below to read more about the audition requirements for the Jazz Ensemble.

For more information on becoming a member of the Drew University Jazz Ensemble, please contact Prof. Randal Ingram, Director of the Jazz Ensemble, at ringram@drew.edu.

Jazz Ensemble Audition Requirements

ALL INSTRUMENTS: Charlie Parker’s, “Billie’s Bounce” – medium tempo with standard or alternate chord changes. All instruments, except for drums, MUST perform the melody.  Include at least three choruses of improvisation. Accompanists will be provided. Download the music below in printable PDF format. Improvisation: Play a second jazz classic or standard song in any jazz style. You must include at least three choruses of improvisation. The selection is your choice, and composers to consider are Thelonious Monk, Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Chick Corea, Pat Metheny, Herbie Hancock, George Gershwin, Wayne Shorter, etc. Accompanists will be provided. Sight-reading:  You will be asked to sightread a short excerpt.

  • Piano: Pianists will need to demonstrate comping on both selections.
  • Bass: WALK at least two choruses on both selections as well as improvise.
  • Guitar: Demonstrate comping, both rhythm guitar style and standard regular comping.
  • Drum Set:  Play the “Billie’s Bounce” blues choruses: 2 choruses of time, 2 choruses of trading 4s, 2choruses of solo, repeat chorus of time. Accompanists will be provided.
  • Demonstrate time in: waltz, rock, Latin, ballad, and brushes. Play on song forms (2 choruses) or vamps (at least 2 minutes each style).

The Drew University Orchestra

The Drew University Orchestra (MUS 222) is open to Drew students who represent all departments and majors at the university and come together to share their love of music. The ensemble also welcomes community members. Rehearsals are on Thursday nights from 7:00 – 9:30 pm and culminate in a performance each semester.

The Orchestra is open to all students. Placement auditions will be held during the first week of classes each semester. The purpose of the audition is to assess each orchestra member’s ability and, for string players, placement within the section.

For more information on joining the Drew University Orchestra, please contact Professor Michael Avagliano at mavagliano@drew.edu.