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Music majors at Carson-Newman have many opportunities to perform in a variety of musical ensembles including: A Cappella Choir, Men's Chorus, Oratorio Chorus, Women Singers, Lyric Theatre, and Redemption. Instrumental Ensembles include: Symphonic Winds, Jazz Band, and small group ensembles for Brass, Woodwind, and Percussion. In recent years, our ensembles have performed with the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra, the Knoxville Choral Society, and in concert tours throughout the region, United States, and across the globe, including a Christmas Eve performance in Bethlehem, Israel.  Below are descriptions of our ensembles.


A Cappella Choir

A Cappella Choir is the premier mixed voice choral ensemble of the University music department and performs the highest caliber music from all traditional and contemporary styles. Membership for this 50 voice ensemble is open to all students of the University, regardless of major, and is highly competitive. The ensemble rehearses four days a week, Monday - Thursday, from 3:00 pm until 3:50 pm., and members receive Fine Arts credit for their participation. A Cappella Choir represents the University at important functions, chapels, graduation, and at yearly oratorio productions. The choir frequently performs with area fine arts organizations including the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra and the Knoxville Choral Society. For over sixty years the choir has taken an extended tour during the Spring Semester. In addition to many tours throughout the Southern and Eastern United States, the choir has toured twice to Europe and has recently taken a mission tour to Brazil. Auditions are held each semester. For additional information or audition procedures contact: Dr. Eric A. Thorson, Conductor (ethorson@cn.edu).

Women Singers

Women Singers, a 30 to 60 voice ensemble, is open to all female students without audition, performs on-campus concerts plus a fall oratorio. There is a limited number of off-campus trips. The group has performed with the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra and has sung for regional choral festivals including the Tennessee Collegiate Choral Festival. Dr. Joshua Zink, Conductor (jzink@cn.edu).

Men's Chorus

Men's Chorus, a 25 to 50 voice ensemble, is open to all male students without audition and focuses on the enjoyment of singing the traditional male chorus repertoire. While the emphasis is on fun and great music, this ensemble also performs regularly with the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra and has earned honor performances at music conventions in the South. The group is also regularly heard at university varsity sporting events and local and regional professional sports games singing the "National Anthem". Men's Chorus meets on Tuesday's and Thursday's from 12:00 noon until 1:10 pm and members receive one hour of Fine Arts credit. Dr. Eric A. Thorson, Conductor (ethorson@cn.edu).


Redemption is an ensemble of singers and instrumentalists open to all students presently enrolled in another one-hour departmental ensemble by audition. Members perform concerts on-campus and take numerous off-campus trips to area high schools and churches. Repertoire is varied depending upon the membership each semester. Previous repertoire has included: Popular styles, Show tunes, Jazz, and Contemporary Christian selections. Members receive Fine Arts credit for participation. For more information, contact Pat Bivens (pbivens@cn.edu).

Lyric Theatre and Opera Scenes

Lyric Theatre and Opera Scenes, whose enrollment depends on production requirements, meets on an arranged schedule during the Fall and Spring Terms. Opera Scenes encompass all stylistic periods and include modern opera by living American composers. When applicable, a full-opera may be performed. Students will experience musical, vocal, and dramatic intent for the stage.  Recent Musical Theatre has included Fiddler on the Roof, The King and I, Into the Woods, Guys and Dolls, South Pacific, West Side Story, Annie Get Your Gun, The Sound of Music, Carousel, Hello Dolly, The Secret Garden, My Fair Lady, Suessical, Thoroughly Modern Millie, and Big River.  Dr. Joshua Zink, Director (jzink@cn.edu).


Wind Ensemble

Students are regularly placed within chamber ensembles (brass, percussion, and/or woodwind) for the purpose of providing advanced musical experiences. The Wind Ensemble, created in 2010, is comprised of select student musicians. The literature, arranged for mixed instrumentation, is derived from various masterworks of Western musical styles and periods. The individual ensembles vary in the number of performers from as few as four or five to large multiple brass choirs. These ensembles perform at least one concert per semester. Membership in the Chamber Winds is by audition or permission of the instructors. Students participating in chamber ensembles may earn one half hour of General Education Fine Arts Credit.  Dr. James "Jayme" Taylor, Conductor (jwtaylor@cn.edu).

Piano Ensemble

The Piano Ensemble, our newest ensemble, allows students the opportunity to learn standard literature for piano duet and for two pianos. Repertoire varies depending on the enrollment each semester, and students are paired together at the discretion of the instructor. Repertoire in recent semesters has included works by Arensky, Debussy, Rachmaninoff, Saint-Saens, and Schubert. Performances occur both on and off campus for student recitals and for special events. Enrollment is limited to keyboard majors. Students earn one half hour of ensemble credit. For more information, contact Dr. Ryan Fogg (rfogg@cn.edu).

Symphonic Winds

The Symphonic Winds ensemble studies, rehearses, and performs the finest band literature available. Students perform on two concerts per semester, in the fall (October and December) and in the spring (February and April.) Membership is open to all Carson-Newman students (regardless of major) without audition. University-owned instruments are available for use in the band free of charge. Symphonic Winds meets Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday from 4 to 5 PM, and offers one hour of General Education Fine Arts Credit.  Pat Bivens, Conductor (pbivens@cn.edu).

Jazz Ensemble

The Jazz Ensemble is comprised of 5 saxophones, 8-10 brass and a rhythm section. Membership is open to all Carson-Newman students (regardless of major) with the permission of the instructor. This big band is devoted to teaching the skills of sight reading, stylistic interpretation, sectional playing and solo improvisation in a large jazz ensemble setting. The ensemble meets on Monday nights for an hour and a half and Friday from 12  12:50 PM. It offers one half hour of General Education Fine Arts Credit. Performance opportunities include the annual Christmas Tree Lighting, public relations concerts, a spring concert, banquets, receptions, church worship services, and local schools.  Pat Bivens, Conductor (pbivens@cn.edu).

More information about the college and music department is available on this web site. Please feel free to contact the music department at:

Carson-Newman University
Department of Music
P. O. Box 72048
Jefferson City, Tennessee 37760

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