The Setnor School of Music offers a variety of choral and instrumental ensembles open to students of all majors across Syracuse University and the neighboring SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry. Some ensembles require an audition, while others are open to all.
Instrumental Ensembles Link
The Setnor School of Music’s instrumental ensembles range from small chamber ensembles to the 200-member Pride of the Orange Marching Band. Select an ensemble from the list below to learn more.
Chamber ensembles are organized each semester to rehearse and perform literature for a variety of instrumental combinations. Contact the faculty member listed below to learn more.
The Contemporary Music Ensemble is a collection of smaller ensembles assembled each semester to perform the music of our time, with programs drawing from American and international repertoires.
The Syracuse University Symphony Orchestra (SUSO) offers a unique experience in music making at the highest level. While symphony orchestras are associated in the popular imagination with music that is old and “classic,” our orchestra is committed to stylistic diversity, with a repertoire that spans four centuries.
The orchestra prides itself on unique programming and exposing its audiences and players to a wide array of styles, genres, and time periods. It routinely pairs works of Beethoven or Brahms alongside 20th-century masterworks. The SUSO regularly collaborates with Setnor faculty members to present concerto repertoire, opera arias, or orchestral songs of Strauss and Wolf. The orchestra does regular readings of student-composed orchestral works so that composition students have recordings of their large works. Members of SUSO also play for Setnor's Opera Workshop production every January.
The orchestra is directed by James R. Tapia, director of orchestral activities at the Setnor School of Music.
James R. Tapia
The SU Wind Ensemble is the premiere concert wind organization at Syracuse University. The Wind Ensemble has performed at major conferences and has featured guest conductors and soloists from around the world. Recent guest conductors include Miguel Etchegoncelay (France), Laura Cmet (Argentina), Shanti Simon, and Paula Crider. Over the past several decades, the SU Wind Ensemble has produced a series of recordings that are distributed internationally on the Mark Recording label. The Wind Ensemble performs the highest-quality music for winds from the past 450 years, from chamber wind music to large works for wind ensemble. The ensemble is committed to performing the music of underrepresented composers, and remains an active commissioning organization, having been involved in the commissioning of dozens of new works for the wind ensemble medium. In 2023, the SU Wind Ensemble will tour the United Kingdom in a series of performances honoring those lost in the 1988 attack on Pan Am Flight 103, a tragedy in which 35 Syracuse University students lost their lives. The Wind Ensemble will perform concerts in London, England and Lockerbie, Scotland during the tour.
The Syracuse University “Pride of the Orange” Marching Band performs for all home football games in the 50,000-seat JMA Wireless Dome on the SU campus. “New York’s College Band” is made up of 170 members representing over 80 different majors and includes students from SU, SUNY-ESF, Le Moyne College, and the Onondaga Community College. “The Pride” has performed at a Super Bowl, the Heisman trophy Gala, and numerous Bowl Games, most recently in 2018 at the Camping World Bowl in Orlando, FL. The University Pep Band: the Sour Sitrus Society is made up largely of members from the SUMB with additional students joining us to perform at SU Volleyball and Basketball games. This group has also performed around the country in conjunction with the ACC Basketball Tournaments and the NCAA Basketball Tournaments. No audition is required to join our Athletic Bands. To learn more, visit our website at: band.vpa.syr.edu
The Sour Sitrus Society is the spark behind the nationally recognized Syracuse University men’s and women’s basketball teams, women’s volleyball, and a variety of other events in support of Syracuse University.
The band performs at home games and travels with the basketball teams for ACC playoff and NCAA tournament games. The group is open to all student musicians campus wide.
The Concert Band is a non-audition concert ensemble open to both music majors and non-majors. It offers an opportunity to perform outstanding large-band works.
The Concert Band rehearses on Wednesday evenings during the spring semester and provides an excellent opportunity for Syracuse University Marching Band members to make music in a concert setting. The band performs in Crouse College’s Setnor Auditorium at the end of the spring semester.
Choral Ensembles Link
The Setnor School of Music’s choral ensembles are open to every student regardless of major. The select choirs include University Singers, Oratorio Society, and Hendricks Chapel Choir. Participation in Crouse Chorale and Concert Choir does not require an audition; however, students must attend an audition for voice screening (for placement only). Select an ensemble from below to learn more.
The Setnor School of Music’s choral activities area offers a varied slate of choirs open to all students and conducted by outstanding faculty.
Choral singing has a rich tradition at Syracuse University, and our mission is to continually grow the standard of excellence that has been so clearly established throughout the history of the Setnor School. We strive to provide outstanding choral ensemble experiences to all SU students, preparing them for a lifelong contribution to the choral world community.
Each of our choral ensembles offers singers, both graduate and undergraduate, an opportunity for training, musical exploration, and personal growth in all aspects of the choral art regardless of the student’s major. Additionally, we seek to teach all singers the fundamental elements of music and collaboration. In our choirs you will sing the great choral orchestral works with professional orchestra, reach the highest levels of precision and expression in a variety of genres and styles, perform with students from diverse majors and all colleges of SU, perform diverse styles of vocal jazz of today and yesterday, and tour the world.
The choral activities area also supports the activities of many student-led vocal groups and sponsors the student chapter of the American Choral Directors Association.
The audition serves as an opportunity for experienced faculty to guide students in selecting the choral ensemble that fits them best. While not every ensemble requires an audition, we strongly encourage anyone interested in singing in one of our choirs to complete an audition.
Auditions are held at the beginning of every semester. They are held in Room 302 Crouse College and last about eight minutes. No preparation is necessary. The audition consists of vocalization (listening to your tone and determining your vocal range), tonal memory exercises, and sight-singing. There will also be time to answer any questions you may have about the different choirs we offer.
To schedule an audition, or for questions about choral singing at SU, contact the choral activities area at 315.443.4106 or . Please note that Orange Collective and Orange Syndicate (vocal jazz), Black Celestial Choral Ensemble, and all student a cappella groups hold their own auditions. Contact the individual organization directly to learn about their audition process and to schedule an audition.
The Syracuse University Singers is the flagship choral ensemble of the Setnor School of Music. They have performed at three Eastern Region conferences of the American Choral Directors Association including 2020 in Rochester, New York and for the National Conference of the National Collegiate Choral Organization in Baton Rouge, Louisiana in 2017. In May 2015, University Singers won the Grand Prix de Ville de Tours in the Florilège Vocal de Tours, an international competition in Tours, France. The choir competed as a Finalist in the European Grand Prix for Choral Singing held in Varna, Bulgaria in May 2016. Additionally, the ensemble has toured throughout the Eastern United States and Canada. University Singers is comprised of 32-40 undergraduate and graduate students from a variety of disciplines and regularly performs with professional orchestras in Syracuse, New York. Recent masterworks include the Requiems by Brahms, Fauré, and Verdi, Beethoven’s 9th Symphony, Mahler’s 2nd Symphony and Haydn’s The Creation. The choir’s first CD, Mysteries and Wonders, is available on ITunes and Amazon.com.
- 2020: Rochester, Eastern Region American Choral Directors Association Conference
- 2019: Boston
- 2017-18: Louisiana, National Collegiate Choral Organization National Conference
- 2017: New York City
- 2016: Bulgaria, European Grand Prix for Choral Singing, and New York City
- 2015: France, Florilége Vocal de Tours
- 2014: Baltimore, Eastern Region American Choral Directors Conference
- 2013: Chicago
- 2012: Toronto
- 2011: Boston
- 2010: Philadelphia, Eastern Region American Choral Directors Conference
- 2009: Washington, DC
- 2008: Hartford, CT, Eastern Region American Choral Directors Conference
- 2006: Buffalo, Niagara Falls
Founded in 1975, the Syracuse University Oratorio Society is a mixed vocal ensemble comprised of Syracuse University students and community members that regularly collaborates with Symphoria, Central New York’s professional orchestra, to perform choral-orchestral masterworks.
The Oratorio Society has been directed by John Warren, associate professor of music and director of choral activities, since 2011.
The Oratorio Society accepts new members by audition. The choir rehearses from late August through April on Monday evenings from 7-9:30 p.m. and presents four or five concerts during the season.
Auditions for community members are held in late August at Crouse College. Students may audition at the start of each semester. Singers are asked to vocalize, sight-sing, and perform aural tests. The duration of the audition is approximately eight minutes. Current community members are re-auditioned every three years.
Founded in 1929, the Hendricks Chapel Choir is one of the great musical traditions of Syracuse University.
Directed by Professor José “Peppie” Calvar and accompanied by University Organist Anne Laver, the Hendricks Chapel Choir is an auditioned mixed ensemble representing many of the colleges and majors available at Syracuse University and the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry. One of five all-student choirs within the Setnor School of Music, the Hendricks Chapel Choir rehearses once weekly on Thursday evenings, meets for sectional rehearsals for an additional hour per week, and is the featured ensemble at weekly Dean’s Convocation at Hendricks Chapel on Sundays at 7p.m. The choir performs as the featured ensemble at Holidays at Hendricks, which hosts a live audience of more than 1,000 and is broadcast via public television stations throughout upstate New York.
Over the past ten years, the Hendricks Chapel Choir has traveled to Germany; Poland; Argentina; Chile; Uruguay; China; and Washington, D.C. The choir performs a wide variety of music from diverse historical, cultural, and stylistic origins. Past and present members of the Hendricks Chapel Choir embody the best parts of Syracuse University: our students’ desire to serve one another, their University, their community, and their world.
Opera Workshop offers you the opportunity to learn the craft of the singing actor in a “learn by doing” setting. It produces one complete opera annually, fully staged with orchestra, in Crouse College’s Setnor Auditorium. An additional project of scenes and arias takes place in the spring semester.
Opera Workshop is open to all Syracuse University students by audition. The main stage projects are produced under the name of the Syracuse University Opera Theatre and are among the highlights of the Setnor performing season. Care is taken to select repertoire that is suitable for young voices and to present it in an acoustically safe environment. All works are performed in English; reduced orchestrations are used whenever appropriate. The emphasis is on giving the greatest number of qualified students the chance to perform complete roles that are appropriate for their individual stage of development, and casts invariably feature undergraduates in major roles. Ensemble acting is stressed over elaborate production values.
Opera Workshop enjoys a close relationship with the Syracuse Opera, and many of its students are engaged to sing in the chorus. Several outstanding undergraduates have made their professional debuts with the company in supporting roles. Students have been invited to observe rehearsals as members of a “shadow cast,” and recent years have seen master classes with former artistic director Richard McKee, musical director Douglas Kinney Frost, and conductor John DiCostanzo as part of the spring semester curriculum.
Setnor Sonority is a choir for tenors and basses of any gender that offers a singing experience to students and staff from every area of Syracuse University life.
Directed by Professor José “Peppie” Calvar, Setnor Sonority performs at least two major concerts each academic year, as well as several collaborative performances including Holidays at Hendricks, the Spring Choral Collage, and the Family Weekend Choral Sampler among others. The repertoire consists of music from diverse historical, cultural, and stylistic origins.
The ensemble is a non-auditioned choir for any student regardless of major who loves to sing.
Jazz and Commercial Music Ensembles Link
The Setnor School of Music offers several instrumental jazz, funk, and rock combos. Contact the faculty member listed below to learn more.
- Jazz Funk Ensemble
- The Jazz Funk Ensemble is a performance-based group participating in learning and recreating a repertoire of the rich legacy of jazz-funk music. Students learn aspects of tight groove-oriented ensemble playing with a focus on improvisation skills as impacted by a number of legendary fusion, rhythm & blues, funk, and soul artists. As a commercial music enterprise, students in the ensemble can participate in the operations of the group through marketing, promoting, and booking professional performance opportunities in/around the campus community and the greater Syracuse area. For more information, contact Dr. Theresa Chen.
- Citrus Punch (Rock Ensemble)
- This lab-oriented ensemble provides students with opportunities to learn how to transcribe and perform their individual parts for the presentation of the group’s selected literature. The ensemble’s instrumental and vocal musicians perform a wide variety of classic, modern, and current rock styles in concert each semester. For more information, contact Professor Rick Balestra.
- Jazz Guitar Ensemble
- The Jazz Guitar Ensemble concentrates on the musical performance of traditional jazz standards, fusion, gypsy, and beyond. Within a flexible group setting, this ensemble performs selections with instrumentation from a duo up to eight guitarists with full rhythm section. For more information, contact Professor Rick Balestra.
- Orange Juice:
- Orange Juice is an advanced jazz combo featuring instrumental and vocal performers in a select ensemble setting. The ensemble performs regularly in concerts on campus as well as university and community events. For more Information, contact John Coggiola.
The Morton Schiff Jazz Ensemble and its related jazz ensembles provide both music majors and non-music majors the opportunity to perform traditional, modern, jazz, pop, and contemporary compositions throughout the year.
The ensembles are designed to give students the opportunity to learn to play lead parts, section work, and to improvise solos. Composers performed include Thad Jones, Toshiko Akiyoski, Duke Ellington, Henry Mancini, Charlie Parker, and Count Basie.
The ensembles perform a series of concerts in Shemin Auditorium, located in Shaffer Art Building. The ensembles have hosted the International Association of Jazz Educators (New York State) Jazz Festival and participated in the New York State Inter-Collegiate Jazz Festival. They participate in a number of concerts and festivals each year and have performed with such jazz artists as Dizzy Gillespie, Marshall McDonald, Rob McConnell, Nick Brignola, Marvin Stamm, and Freddy Hubbard.
Auditions for the jazz ensembles take place during the first week of school.
This large vocal jazz ensemble with twelve voices and rhythm section perform multi-part song arrangements within the broad spectrum of the jazz idiom gaining exposure to a variety of styles and repertoire. For more information, contact John Coggiola.
This select eight-voice vocal ensemble performs multi-part acapella arrangements covering a variety of jazz and commercial music styles. For more information, contact John Coggiola.
Orange Unified is a select vocal ensemble that brings together solo singers with a rhythm section to perform music in the jazz genre. Weekly rehearsals provide opportunities to learn, shape, and arrange repertoire for the band based on each singer’s musical vision. This developmental process allows for a better understanding of jazz music, it's form, harmony, and rhythmic feels. As vocalists learn band-leading best practices, instrumentalists learn accompanying skills, new repertoire, and how to better support a vocalist in a small band setting. The ensemble offers public performances and end of the semester recording projects. For more information, contact Professor Marianne Solivan.
Samba Laranja is Syracuse University’s Brazilian Music Ensemble. The ensemble combines voice and percussion to perform several styles of Brazilian music, with an emphasis on samba (from Rio de Janeiro’s Carnaval); samba-reggae (from Salvador, Bahia); forró (from Brazil’s northeast); bossa nova; the music of Capoeira; and MPB (Brazilian popular music).
This is a non-auditioned group opened to any Syracuse University student. Samba Laranja sings in English and Portugese and has recorded several albums available from the SU Bookstore.
The Syracuse All Steel Percussion Orchestra (SASPO) plays a wide variety of music, from jazz to classical, calypso to soca and rock to hip-hop. The band’s name is an homage to TASPO, a pioneering band from Trinidad that helped lead the development of this dynamic ensemble.
The Two O'Clock Jazz Ensemble engages in the survey and analysis of traditional and contemporary jazz compositions at the beginner/intermediate levels through the application of specific rehearsal/performance techniques appropriate for jazz music. Requirements for enrollment include music reading skills and intermediate-level instrumental technique. No audition is required.
This introductory ensemble provides opportunities for developing the rehearsal and performing basics needed to be successful in a working jazz combo. Students learn how to improvise on one’s principal instrument in a relaxed manner in a friendly and supportive environment. For more information, contact Professor Josh Dekaney.