Department of Music Ensemble Information for Fall 2020 

University Symphony Orchestra (Updated as of 8/3/2020)

Kypros Markou, conductor 
During the Fall semester we will meet in a remote/synchronous manner at the regularly scheduled times. This decision was made out of consideration and respect for each other's health and safety as well as for family members and others with whom orchestra members interact. We will study, discuss and prepare a variety of repertory, especially works with the potential to be featured in future performances. We will make use of technology to record and share musical selections. If conditions improve significantly, we will produce video recordings of prepared pieces, and these videos will be made available on the Department's website. The director will work with each member individually or in small groups to help them improve their orchestral skills, preparation methods, and musicianship. Let us be creative, inventive, and productive even as we operate outside the usual formats.  

Wind Symphony and Concert Band (Updated as of 8/12/2020)

Douglas Bianchi, conductor 
In respect to health and safety, both the WSU Wind Symphony and the WSU Concert Band will meet remotely during the fall semester. Repertoire will be prepared for future performances, but the main current emphasis will be on the development of individual musicianship and ensemble playing. This will include sectional rehearsals, individual coaching sessions, as well as larger group meetings to address practice procedures, physical health considerations, motivational techniques and the like. Members, particularly senior members and section leaders, will also be assigned rehearsal responsibilities and will be expected to contribute in the preparation of the assigned repertoire and assist in maintaining a high level of musical performance. Members of both the Wind Symphony and Concert Band will be also expected to periodically record individual assignments for evaluation, with accommodations being made for non-majors in the Concert Band. 

The Repertoire:

The Wind Symphony will begin preparing both the Arnold Schoenberg "Theme and Variations, Opus 43a" and the Paul Hindemith "Symphony in B flat", both historic staples of the wind band repertoire. These selections may be found on the IMSLP website. The works are not in the public domain, however, the department owns multiple copies of each composition and the use of this website is only to expedite the issuing of parts at this time. Later, when allowed to return to campus, hard copies will be issued by the department. Later in the semester, new works will be uploaded for preparation. Future repertoire will include Florent Schmitt's "Dionysiaques", Hans Gal's "Promenadenmusik" and Ernest Toch's "Spiel" among others.

The Concert Band will be begin preparing a series of Sousa marches that may be found on the US Marine Band (The President's Own) website. Almost all scores, parts, and recordings are in the public domain and are available free. The following are the marches to be learned initially: Yorktown Centennial, The Bride Elect, Our Flirtations, and Hands Across the Sea. Later, concert band works will be added to the course work. Besides preparing the marches in sectional rehearsals, individuals will be expected to prepare recordings for evaluation. The Wind Symphony will also be preparing marches later in the semester under the direction of student conductors. Discussions on traditional march performance practices will also be included.

The auditions held in August will place each member in a particular band. However, members should expected to prepare music other than the band in which they are scheduled based on instrumentation needs.

Choral Ensembles 

Brandon Waddles, conductor 
Considering our moral obligation to the health and livelihood of our singing community, as well as our ongoing mission to further progress the choral movement in this technological age, we have decided to move forward into the Fall 2020 semester in a wholly virtual experience. Concert Chorale and the Choral Union will be engaged in a variety of musical forms that examine the full breadth of choral singing, from the standards of Western European classical repertoire, to musical theatre, to Black sacred music. Both ensembles will participate in virtual choir experiences, from small to large form. We welcome all to join and take part as pioneers on this next leg of the musical journey. 

Jazz Big Band I 

Russell Miller, director 
The Jazz Big Band will be a functioning ensemble this fall that will provide students with a enriching musical experience with rehearsals, recording projects and virtual meeting taking place with a bit of modification. In keeping with university policy, we will be limiting the number of students rehearsing at any one time and observing all protocols (use of masks, plastic shields, social distancing, etc.). In order to do this, rehearsals will consist of a rotation of sections; rhythm section, sax section, trombone section and trumpet section will rehearse separately and in various combinations not exceeding more than eight students and one instructor at a time. Rehearsals will begin at 12:30 pm as usual, and will last for 40 minutes, then there will be an hour of down time to allow the air in the room to be recirculated. Following the downtime hour, the rehearsal will begin again for another 40 minutes. The big band will work on music that will be recorded in the recording studio, one section at a time, near the end of the semester. This recording project will serve as the main concert performance. In addition to rehearsing the ensemble music, there will be time to focus on individual playing and improvisation through individual meetings held virtually. The intent is to give students in the Jazz Big Band the most positive musical experience possible under the current conditions. 

Jazz Combos 

Eli Bucheit, Valade Graduate Assistant and coordinator 
Our combo program this semester will be looking very different from what it was in past years, but we are still committed to providing rehearsal spaces where valuable musical experiences will take place. The university will provide masks, horn covers, and possibly other devices that will help make our rehearsals safer. The entire combo program will rehearse Monday nights, and it will not be possible to have students play in multiple groups this semester. We will be utilizing a specific set of rooms for rehearsals. As I will not be able to be in each rehearsal at once, and visitors are not allowed, I am considering setting up an online space where students can ask questions, report on rehearsal progress, and share recordings, charts, and arrangements. While we may not be performing in front of a live audience at the end of the semester as we did in the past, performances will be carried out through livestream or recording.    

Jazz Guitar Ensemble

Charles Newsome, director 
Although Jazz Guitar Ensembles at Wayne State University will look a bit different than normal, we are fortunate to have the opportunity to restart on-campus meetings. This is due, in large part, to our ability to wear masks the entire time and still play our instruments. We will be following certain health protocols such as mask wearing, required hand sanitizing before and after class, social distancing, wiping down of pianos and music stands after use, etc. Additionally, changes to the format of the class will include allowing additional downtime between classes to allow for room rest, using digital means to share sheet music, live-streamed performance opportunities and using Canvas to dig deeper into discussion topics relevant to the class.  

Electronic Music Ensemble

Joo Won Park, director
Electronic Music Ensemble will be taught in a traditional class format, strictly following the CDC/University COVID guidelines. For example, all ensemble members must practice social distancing, wear masks at all times, and allow time to disinfect all touched spaces. Given the current situation, the ensemble will explore the practice of network and remote electronic music performance in some weeks.