Spring 2020

Ensembles are open to all UNC Asheville students, regardless of major!

Spring 2020 auditions will take place Thursday, Jan. 16 at 4:30 p.m. in Lipinsky 018, 033 and 044.

  1. Large Jazz Ensemble- MUSC 129.005 – Steve Alford, director
  2. X-Tet - MUSC 129.001 - William Bares, director
  3. Funk Fusion Ensemble - MUSC 129.002 - Mike Barnes, director
  4. Tango Nuevo Ensemble - MUSC 129.004 - Andy Jurik, director
  5. The New Standards Ensemble - MUSC 129.003 - Zack Page, director
  6. Contemporary Guitar Ensemble - MUSC 123.008 - Tim Doyle, director
  7. Old-Time Appalachian Stringband Ensemble 123.006 -Wayne Erbsen, director
  8. Afro-Percussion Ensembles - MUSC 123.005 - Toby King, director
  9. Bluegrass Ensemble - MUSC 123.001 - Toby King, director
  10. Studio 18 MUSC 125.001 Brent LaCasce, director

We will be holding open auditions for placement in the ensembles listed above. For specific information regarding each ensemble, please see the descriptions below. In order to audition, please sign up for a time slot on the sheets posted outside Lipinsky 018, 033, and 044.

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, ie. Straight No Chaser or Billie’s Bounce).
  2. Any standard of your choosing including the head and at least 2 choruses of improvisation. (Note: If you are interested in a particular combo, please choose a piece that demonstrates your playing in that style.)
  3. Sight reading – you may be asked to sight read a lead sheet.
  4. Scales - major scales in 12 keys, chromatic scale


  1. Display competency in a variety of styles (jazz swing, jazz ballad, funk, bossa, samba, rock). (Note: If you are interested in a particular combo, please choose a piece that demonstrates your playing in that style.)
  2. Sight reading


  • Please come to the audition with your schedule for the current semester and be prepared to accurately assess your availability for the different groups.
  • Please bring two additional copies of charts for the tunes you select for your audition.

Ensemble Descriptions and Specific Requirements

Large Jazz Ensemble: This ensemble will play traditional big band music from the 1920s, 30s and 40s to today’s contemporary works. We encourage all interested to audition for this ensemble. Please note that you do not necessarily need to improvise solos in this group. As such, classically oriented instrumentalists who want to gain a bit of jazz experience are encouraged to audition. For audition info, see general audition requirements for jazz instrumentalists, listed above, or contact Mr. Steve Alford (salford2@unca.edu ) with any questions.

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. Please contact Dr. William Bares (wbares@unca.edu) with any questions. Ideal instrumentation: jazz quintet or sextet.

Funk Fusion Ensemble: This ensemble will focus on classic Jazz Funk/Fusion repertoire from the 1970s. Contact Mike Barnes (ashevilleguitar@gmail.com) with any questions.

Tango Nuevo Ensemble: This ensemble will focus on tango nuevo, the fusion of tango, jazz, and rock developed by Argentinian composer Astor Piazzolla. There is no specific instrumentation, although the group will ideally consist of 4–6 performers. The audition for this group will specifically focus on sight-reading, although auditionees are highly encouraged (though not required) to follow the “Jazz Instrumentalists and Vocalists” guidelines as well. Please contact Andy Jurik (ajurik@unca.edu) with any questions.

The New Standards Ensemble: This ensemble will pay homage to the great American songbook standards by offering NEW standards...recent material from a variety of genres, arranged by the members of the group and presented in a smaller acoustic jazz format. The New Standards ensemble is open to all instrumentalists and vocalists. For audition info, see general audition requirements for jazz instrumentalists, listed above. Vocalists should be able to sing a chromatic scale (ascending and descending) from a variety of different starting pitches as well as sing a short melody, a capella. Please contact Mr. Zack Page (zack.page@gmail.com) with any questions.

Contemporary Guitar Ensemble (CGE): The CGE is an all steel string acoustic guitar ensemble. We focus 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. We will perform several times throughout the semester, including a reprise of our ​360 degree show, Music In Surround ​concert, Live at Lunch performance, and our final performance as a part of the Department of Music end of semester showcase.  Rehearsals are Monday at 7 p.m. and Thursdays at 7 a.m. (Sonic Meditation). Contact Tim Doyle (tdoyle@unca.edu) with questions.

Old-Time Appalachian Stringband Ensemble: A performance course for instrumentalists and vocalists emphasizing the old-time Appalachian stringband traditions. Contact Wayne Erbsen (werbsen@unca.edu) with any questions.

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. Please contact Dr. Toby King (jking6@unca.edu) with any questions.

Bluegrass Ensemble: Prepare two contrasting songs from either the bluegrass repertoire, or a related tradition (folk, old-time, Celtic, blues, Texas swing, etc.), and perform them to the best of your ability. In this ensemble, all vocalists must also play an instrument, and all instrumentalists should be prepared to sing. Each musician should be prepared to play one or more of the following six instruments: fiddle (violin), flat-top acoustic guitar, flat-backed mandolin, 5-string banjo (three-finger style, with picks), bass, or Dobro. Please contact Dr. Toby King ( jking6@unca.edu ) with any questions.

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. Please contact Brent LaCasce (blacasce@unca.edu) with any questions

The following ensembles don’t require an audition – just register for the class.

  • Wind Ensemble (MUSC 121)
  • University Chorale (MUSC 113)
  • Camerata 123.004

The following ensembles require individually scheduled auditions: