Fall 2020 Music Ensemble Placement Auditions

All large ensembles will be split into smaller groups to allow necessary physical distancing for in-person rehearsals and better facilitate virtual ensembles. Students will choose one of the following three options for ensemble participation in the Fall:

    • Blended. Small ensembles (8-10 students in each) will meet for rehearsal 1-2 times per week. These rehearsals will be no longer than 30 minutes, and scheduled to allow adequate time for air exchange (at least 30 minutes) in between. On days that students are not meeting in person, there will be opportunities for virtual coaching, collaboration, preparation, etc.
      • Students in choral ensembles will meet in Lagerquist Concert Hall.
      • Students in string ensembles will meet in Lagerquist Concert Hall on Mondays, MBR 322 on Thursdays.
      • Students in wind and brass ensembles (Concert Band, Jazz Ensemble, or Wind Ensemble) will meet outdoors.
      • The Jazz Ensemble rhythm section will meet in MBR 322.
      • Percussion students should enroll in MUSI 381: Chamber Ensemble, which will meet in MBR 322.
    • Virtual. Students will meet regularly for virtual coaching, collaboration, preparation, and recording. Students electing to participate virtually are still required to submit a placement recording.
    • No Participation. Students may elect not to participate in an ensemble in the Fall semester. Students who are on scholarship will receive an automatic exemption from the expectation to participate in an ensemble, though the requirement to enroll in private instruction remains. The credit requirement for music majors is not waived: a music major who does not participate in an ensemble in the Fall will need to make up the credit during a semester later in their degree program.All ensemble placement will be handled virtually, and will involve a submitted recording and subsequent Zoom appointment with relevant faculty. Placements will be for Fall only. If we are able to return to regular rehearsals in the Spring, auditions will be held in early February.

Placement auditions for our Fall 2020 ensembles will be a two step process. The first component of the audition involves submitting a video recording following the requirements listed below. After the faculty have a chance to review all recordings, you will be contacted to schedule a subsequent Zoom chat. These appointments will last approximately 5 minutes, and replace the opportunity that our live auditions give us to meet face-to-face, catch each other up, and answer questions that you may have. We know that there will be a lot of questions regarding the Fall semester!

Recorded auditions are due by 5:00pm on Friday, September 4. Follow up Zoom appointments with faculty will occur during the first week of classes.

To submit recordings, please complete the relevant placement form linked below:

CHORAL

JAZZ

STRINGS

WINDS AND BRASS

Please remember that these auditions are friendly! We look forward to hearing you all.

Music Ensemble Placement Auditions

Mary Baker Russell Music Center

Instrumental Auditions

Audition Material:

Brass, Winds, and Jazz repertoire and requirements are listed below.

For information on placements in a String Ensemble, please visit our String Audition Repertoire page.

Winds and Brass Audition Material

Repertoire. Record a 2-3 minute video, with selection(s) of your choosing, that demonstrates both lyrical/slow and technical/fast playing. Selections may be taken from a common repertoire book, études, State Solo and Ensemble repertoire, or a selection of several contrasting orchestral excerpts.

Scales. Woodwind players play a two octave “concert” F major scale in quarter notes at 90 beats per minute. Brass players play a two octave “concert” Bb major scale in quarter notes at 90 beats per minute. These scales are for the purpose of hearing your tone and intonation in multiple ranges of your instrument.

To submit a recording, please complete the WINDS AND BRASS ENSEMBLE PLACEMENT FORM.

NOTE: strings, please use the “String Audition Repertoire” link above.

Jazz

For students interested in a Jazz ensemble download the appropriate PDF of the music AND play-along audio file available here (you must be logged into your PLU account to access materials in Google Drive folders).

For all horns:

  1. Download the PDF and play-along audio file referenced above;
  2. Video record yourself playing with the play-along file the excerpt of letter A and improvising over two choruses of letter B. Make sure both your performance and the play-along file can be heard in your video (you might need to play the audio file through a computer and video record over the phone, for example). The improvised section is highly recommended, but if you do NOT wish to improvise, you may play just the A section of the excerpt.

For rhythm section:

  1. Download the PDF and play-along audio file referenced above;
  2. Video record yourself playing with the play-along file the excerpt of letter A and improvising over two choruses of letter B. Make sure both your performance and the play-along file can be heard in your video (you might need to play the audio file through a computer and video record over the phone, for example). The improvised section is highly recommended, but if you do NOT wish to improvise, you may play just the A section of the excerpt.

To submit a recording, please submit a JAZZ ENSEMBLE PLACEMENT FORM.

Music Ensemble Placement Auditions

Choral Auditions

1. Amazing Grace. Record a video that demonstrates your best singing of the first verse of Amazing Grace, in the key appropriate to your voice part. A PDF of the hymn is provided here. Though the PDF is an arrangement in four parts, please sing the melody. If you do not have access to a piano or other instrument for your starting note, you can find an online pitch pipe at pitchpipe.app. Sing the melody in a relaxed tempo that allows you to perform freely and beautifully (a recommended tempo is quarter note = 68-72).

    • SOPRANO: B-flat Major, starting note F above middle C.
    • ALTO: D Major, starting note A below middle C.
    • TENOR: A Major, starting note E.
    • BASS: D Major, starting note A.

2. Scale. Sing an octave, ascending and descending, on solfege or a neutral syllable “ah”. Sing the ascending scale, take a breath, repeat the top note and descend. Sing the scale in quarter notes, in a relaxed tempo that allows you to perform freely and beautifully (a recommended tempo is quarter note = 60).

    • SOPRANO: Start on G above middle C.
    • ALTO: Start on D above middle C.
    • TENOR: Start on G below middle C.
    • BASS: Start on D below middle C.

3. Prepared selection. Download the rehearsal tracks and PDF of the score from the Google Drive folder (you must be logged into your PLU account to access materials in Google Drive folders). Use the “Part Predominant” and “Balanced Voices” recordings to assist preparation of your part, and then record a video of you singing along with the “Part Muted” recording of the work. The recording should be audible in your recording (i.e., play it through speakers rather than your headphones). We are aware that there are some discrepancies between the recording and the score. Do your best to follow the musical markings provided in the score, though we will not penalize anyone for singing what is on the recording.

NOTE FOR SOPRANOS: There is no introduction to your first entrance in the “Part Muted” recording. Allow the other parts to get started, and begin singing at the pickup to measure 8.

To submit your recordings, please visit the CHORAL ENSEMBLE PLACEMENT FORM.

Questions? Please contact one of the faculty listed below.

Dr. Richard Nance, Conductor of Choir of the West and University Singers
Dr. Brian Galante, Conductor of Chorale
Prof. Barry Johnson, Conductor of Knights Chorus

Ensemble Placement Results:

TBD

Ensemble Registration:

Once notified of ensemble placement results, all students must complete their ensemble registration via Banner by the first Friday of Fall semester.

Questions, please contact PLU Music Department staff via one of the emails listed below:

Tabi Looper, loopert@plu.edu

Ryan Marsh, marshrl@plu.edu

Mercedi Benien, mbenien@plu.edu