Ensembles

Ensembles are open to all UNC Asheville students, regardless of major! Fall 2020 auditions have passed, but read more about the ensembles we offer below.

Fall 2020 Ensembles

Asheville Singers – MUSC 114.001 – Melodie Galloway, director - AUDITION REQUIRED, ensemble will be remote. Contact Melodie Galloway at mgallowa@unca.edu

Wind Ensemble - MUSC 121.001 – Fletcher Peacock, director  - Contact Fletcher Peacock at fpeacock@unca.edu

String Quartet - MUSC 123.003 - Benjamin Smith, director - AUDITION REQUIRED - VIOLA ONLY

Bluegrass Ensemble - MUSC 123.004 – Toby King, director - AUDITION REQUIRED - See the Ensembles Descriptions & Specific Requirements below.

Contemporary Guitar Ensemble - MUSC 123.005 - Tim Doyle, director - AUDITION REQUIRED - Contact Tim Doyle at tdoyle@unca.edu

AfroMusics Ensemble - MUSC 123.006 -Toby King, director - AUDITION REQUIRED - see below 

Old Time Ensemble - MUSC 123.007 - Wayne Erbsen, director - AUDITION REQUIRED - see below 

Songwriters Ensemble – MUSC 123.008 - Carolina Perez, director - AUDITION REQUIRED - see below

Studio 018 Vocal Jazz Ensemble MUSC 125.001 - Brent LaCasce, director - AUDITION REQUIRED - Contact Brent LaCasce at blacasce@unca.edu

Percussion Ensemble - MUSC 128.001 – Matthew Richmond, director - Contact Matthew Richmond at mrichmon@unca.edu

X-Tet - MUSC 129.001 - Justin Ray, director - AUDITION REQUIRED - See Jazz Requirements

Funk Fusion Ensemble - MUSC 129.003 - Mike Barnes, director - AUDITION REQUIRED - See Jazz Requirements

Horace Silver Ensemble - MUSC 129.004 – Zack Page, director - AUDITION REQUIRED - See Jazz Requirements

Others Ensemble - MUSC 129.005 - Steven Alford, director - AUDITION REQUIRED - See Jazz Requirements


Jazz Ensemble Audition Requirements

Jazz Instrumentalists and Vocalists (except drummers):

1) A jazz blues - with a head and at least 2 choruses of improvisation (can be any head, i.e. Straight No Chaser or Billie’s Bounce).
2) Any standard of your choosing including the head and at least 1 chorus of improvisation. (Note: If you are interested in a particular combo, please choose a piece that demonstrates your playing in that style.)
3) Scales - G major scale, Eb major scale, chromatic scale


Drummers:
1) Display competency in a variety of styles (jazz swing, jazz ballad, funk, bossa, rock) Note: If you are interested in a particular combo, demonstrate your playing in that style. 


Ensemble Descriptions and Specific Requirements

Asheville Singers: The Asheville Singers is an ensemble of gifted and talented pre-professional singers, music educators, and dedicated amateurs. The ensemble performs a wide variety of music in concerts throughout the semester. It also serves as an ambassador ensemble for UNC Asheville, representing the university at local, state and regional events. By audition. Please perform 2 contrasting songs that you are confident singing. Styles may include: classical, folk, musical theater or gospel. Indicate which voice part you usually sing (if you know it) and a brief summary of your choral singing experience - you may talk about your experience just before or after one of your songs in your video recording. There may be a follow-up Zoom singing interview with the director. Contact Dr. Melodie Galloway mgallowa@unca.edu.

Wind Ensemble: Performance course emphasizing reading and technique. Ability to perform on a brass, woodwind or percussion instrument required. Contact Fletcher Peacock fpeacock@unca.edu.

String Quartet: The UNCA String Quartet studies and performs music from the Baroque to Today, including original works for string quartet as well as arrangements and transcriptions from many genres of music. The ensemble is comprised of two violins, viola, and cello. The Quartet performs for the public and for University events. Contact Ben Smith bsmith7@unca.edu.

Bluegrass Ensemble: Bluegrass music is a 20th century amalgam of popular and traditional music styles that coalesced in the 1940s in the American southeast, emphasizing vocal performance and instrumental improvisation. This ensemble will highlight through performance many of the influences and traditions that bluegrass comprises, including ballads, breakdowns, “brother duets,” gospel quartets, Irish-style medleys, “modal” instrumentals, “old time” country, popular song, and rhythm and blues, among many possible others. Though experienced players will have plenty of opportunities to improvise, participants need not have played bluegrass before. The ensemble should include fiddle, 5-string banjo, steel string acoustic guitar, mandolin, resophonic guitar (Dobro®), upright (double) bass. Audition requirements: please perform two contrasting songs from a ‘roots” genre (folk, blues, country, roots-rock, Celtic, Tejano…), on an appropriate instrument (see above). At least one of the two should feature your voice. Contact Dr. Toby King jking6@unca.edu.

Contemporary Guitar Ensemble: The CGE focuses on music from contemporary composers who have written for the guitar or for guitar ensemble, including compositions by CGE members themselves. This group also engages in improvisation and approaches that facilitate spontaneous composition. 

CGE members are expected to have access to a steel string acoustic guitar. On occasion, we play electric guitars, but having access to one is not mandatory. Regarding performances, this Fall 2020, we will be focusing more on composition and preparing music for the Spring 2021 semester. We would ask those who can commit to both semesters to plan to do so, so they can participate in our performances in the spring. We will also be releasing some virtual content during the semester in lieu of live performances. Contact Tim Doyle tdoyle@unca.edu.

Afro-Percussion Ensemble: This ensemble explores the melodies, rhythms and textures of African and African derived musical practices. Ensembles will include traditional and contemporary instrumentation. Experience in African-related performance traditions is desirable, but not required. For auditions, please prepare a piece on your primary instrument that demonstrates notable polyrhythm, cross-rhythms, compound meter, and/or syncopation. Contact Dr. Toby King jking6@unca.edu.

Old-Time Appalachian Stringband Ensemble: "Old-time" is a genre of eastern North American folk music, with roots in the musical cultures of the British Isles, Continental Europe, and Western Africa.  Originally based on social dance traditions, Old-Time is a groove-based and group-oriented performance tradition that generates a hypnotic and infectious rhythmic effect.  It is performed almost exclusively on string instruments, primarily fiddles, guitars and banjos, though there are exciting exceptions. We will learn one or two new tunes every week, generating a repertoire which will partially overlap with the material covered by the bluegrass ensemble in the Spring. Audition requirements: please perform two contrasting songs from a ‘roots” genre (folk, blues, country, roots-rock, Celtic, Tejano…), on an appropriate instrument (see above).  At least one of the two should feature your voice. Contact Wayne Erbsen werbsen@unca.edu.

Songwriters Ensemble: The students in this ensemble will perform each other’s original songs. The songs can be written in, or influenced by, any music genre. Songwriters will explore notation styles and rehearsal practices that best suit the music, the instrumentation and the players. Singers, spoken word artists and rappers are welcome. Instrumentation will be based on what the students in the course can play. Acoustic, electric and electronic instruments, as well as MIDI controllers are welcome. The course will culminate with a public concert featuring songs by each of the ensemble members. Contact Carolina Perez cperez4@unca.edu. Songwriters Ensemble Audition Requirements: 

  1. Submit a recording (30-seconds minimum) of an original song. Rough sketches recorded on a smart phone will suffice. Production value and performance will not be judged. If lyrics are a work-in-progress, humming the melody will do.
  2. Submit a recording (30-seconds minimum) of you playing your primary instrument (or singing, if voice is your primary instrument). Choose any piece you feel you can perform well.

NOTE: Although the quality of the recordings will not be judged, make sure they are clear (not distorted or too distant or cutting in-and-out).

  1. Provide written answers (email to cperez4@unca.edu) to the following questions:
  • List all the instruments that you play and at what level (beginner, intermediate, advanced).
  • Would you like to sing in this ensemble? You don’t have to be a trained vocalist to sing in this ensemble.
  • Have you written or co-written songs before? Approximately how many?
  • What music genre(s) do you like the most?
  • Which musical artists have influenced you the most?
  • Have you performed with an ensemble or a band before? If so, what type of ensemble/band?

Studio 18: Studio 18 is a competitive vocal jazz ensemble whose members are advanced, skilled singers. The group performs in a variety of jazz styles at performances held on campus and in the Asheville community as part of the professional music environment. Contact Brent LaCasce blacasce@unca.edu.

Percussion Ensemble: Performance course emphasizing percussion literature of all styles. Contact Matthew Richmond mrichmon@unca.edu.

X-Tet: This flagship ensemble will perform several concerts and functions at UNCA and in the greater WNC area. Members of this group receive a scholarship for their participation in the group. See general audition requirements for instrumentalists, listed above. Contact Justin Ray jray3@unca.edu.

Funk Fusion Ensemble: This Ensemble will focus on the classic Jazz Fusion repertoire from the 70’s and beyond. Jazz Fusion is a musical style that combines Jazz with many other genres of music. Fusion draws from musical styles such as Funk, Rock, Indian, Classical, Blues, Country, Soul, RnB, World, and many other genres. Fusion combines all styles of music into a melting pot of musical expression. Improvisation is a big part of this style and ensemble members should have a basic grasp of chart reading, chord/scale relationships and be familiar with odd time signatures. This Ensemble will combine acoustic and electronic instruments and will feature 4-6 performers. The core rhythm section instruments needed for this ensemble are Guitar, Bass, Keyboards, and Drums. Contact Mike Barnes mbarnes@unca.edu.

Horace Silver Ensemble: The Horace Silver Ensemble will explore the feel-good, funky and soulful sounds of the Hard Bop Grandpop, Horace Silver. Open to all instrumentalists and singers.  In addition to the jazz ensemble audition requirements, interested students should be able to play the melody to one of Silver's compositions, such as "The Jody Grind", "Song for My Father" or "Senor Blues"..  Drummers and other rhythm section members should be able to competently perform the grooves associated with those compositions.  Music for these tunes can be provided if necessary.  Contact Zack Page zpage@unca.edu.

Others Ensemble: Multi-lateral ear-training combined with an introduction to multi-media and beginning performance skills on the three main rhythm section instruments. Only offered in the Fall, this ensemble is highly recommended for those pursuing the BFA. You will be required to purchase a practice pad and drum sticks, and it is recommended that you own or have access to a fretless electric bass, though there will be instruments available to practice on. Recommended co- or pre-requisites: MUSC 130, 131. Contact Steve Alford salford2@unca.edu.