Please check back here later in the summer for information about Fall 2018 auditions.

(See information from 2017 below to get an idea of what auditions may consist of.)

 

2017 Ensemble Audition and Music Advising Information

Sign Up Sheets

Audition sign-up sheets will be located on the table outside the Music Department Office, Music 201 during Orientation, with one exception: Sign-ups for Choral Auditions are online at https://tinyurl.com/MacChoirs2017.

Auditions take place during Orientation unless otherwise noted.

African Music Ensemble

  • Directed by Ghanaian Master Drummer, Sowah Mensah.
  • African Music Ensemble’s 40 members perform on authentic drums, flutes, xylophones, gourds, voices, and more. The group tours locally, nationally, and internationally.
  • Auditions will be held during the second week of classes, (Monday, September 11 – Monday September 18, 2017), schedule to be announced. Prior experience in African music is not required.  Audition sign-up sheets for African Music Ensemble will be posted outside the Music Department Office, M201.
  • Meets Tuesdays and Thursdays 6:45–8:15 PM in M116.
  • Contact Sowah Mensah at  for more information.

Chorale and Concert Choir, Macalester Choral Ensembles

  • Directed by Michael McGaghie.
  • The Chorale is the College’s principal large chorus. The ensemble’s repertoire includes a cappella and accompanied music from various Western and non-Western vocal traditions. Membership is open to all Macalester students.
  • The Concert Choir is the advanced, select vocal ensemble of Macalester College. The choir draws its repertoire from music of the last six centuries and tours annually through the United States or abroad. The ensemble commissions and premieres at least one new work every year. Membership is open to all Macalester students.
  • The Chorale and Concert Choir combine annually to learn a major work.
  • All students are encouraged to audition, including (and especially!) those with little choral experience.
  • Sign-ups for Choral Auditions are online at https://tinyurl.com/MacChoirs2017Audition schedule:
    • Friday Sept 1, 2017: 12:30-5:30pm, 7 – 9pm
    • Saturday Sept 2, 2017: 9:00-11:30am and 12:30-3:30pm
    • Sunday Sept 3, 2017: 10am-12pm and 1:00-4:00pm, 7 – 9pm
    • Monday Sept 4, 2017: 2:30-5:30pm, 7 – 9pm
    • Tuesday Sept 5, 2017: 11:00am-1:00pm and 4:30-6:30pm
    • **Callbacks for the Concert Choir will follow later in the week.
  • Audition Location: Hewitt Hall, M113.
  • Auditions for both choirs will consist of: vocalization (testing range, vowels, intonation, flexibility), ear exercises (pitch memory, finding notes within a chord), and a short sight-reading excerpt.  No preparation is required!
  • Weekly rehearsals, additional combined choir rehearsals will be scheduled:
    Chorale: Tuesdays 4:45–6:15 PM and Thursdays 6:30–8:00 PM in Hewitt Hall, M113.
    Concert Choir: Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays: 4:45–6:15 PM in Hewitt Hall, M113.
  • Contact Michael McGaghie at  for more information.

Orchestra

  • Conducted by Mark Mandarano.
  • Performs a wide range of orchestral literature and offers performance opportunities for student soloists in its annual Concerto/Aria Concert. The orchestra plays several campus concerts each year.
  • Audition sign-up sheets will be located on the table outside the Music Department Office, Music 201 during Orientation.
  • Auditions:
    Saturday, Sept. 2, 2017, 1:00–4:00 PM
    Sunday, Sept. 3, 2017, 10:00 AM–noon
    Tuesday, Sept 5, 2017, 10:00 AM–4:00 PM
    Thursday, Sept 7, 2017, 10:00 AM–noon and 3:00–6:00 PM
  • Audition Location: Crawford Hall, M116
  • Audition Guidelines: Any student playing an orchestral instrument is welcome to audition. It is suggested that students prepare:
    —If possible, prepare the first movement—exposition only—of a Mozart concerto or any equivalent work from the standard repertoire. If you do not have a concerto or equivalent work prepared, that is perfectly fine. Please come and play whatever you feel comfortable performing.
    —A brief contrasting piece or section, if possible.
    —Sight-reading may also be required.
  • Meets Tuesdays and Thursdays 4:45–6:15 PM in Crawford Hall, M116.
  • Contact Mark Mandarano at  for more information.

Mac Jazz Big Band

  • Directed by Joan Griffith.
  • Mac Jazz is an 18-piece big band which performs and records classic and contemporary big band jazz.
  • MacJazz performs every year at the Twin Cities Small College Jazz Festival as well as at local Twin Cities jazz venues. Past guests with MacJazz have included Maria Schneider, Uri Caine and local vocalists Debbie Duncan and Connie Evingson. MacJazz often features new compositions by past and present members.
  • Audition sign-up sheets will be located on the table outside the Music Department Office, Music 201 during Orientation.
  • Auditions:
    Sunday, September 2, 2017, 10am – 2pm
  • Audition Location: Joan Griffith’s office, M109
  • Audition Guidelines: Students should prepare a melody they know, play a 2-octave major scale of their choice, be ready to sight read. If you can improvise, please be ready to demonstrate that skill.
  • Meets Mondays and Wednesdays 4:45–6:15 PM in Crawford Hall, M116.
  • Contact Joan Griffith at  for more information. Please note that Joan Griffith will have limited access to email during the summer months.

Pipe Band

  • Directed by Pipe Major Michael Breidenbach and Drum Sgt. Catherine Bishop.
  • The Pipe Band has been a part of Macalester for over 50 years by performing at most major events including Commencement and special convocations, plus competitions at Scottish Highland games throughout the United States and Canada.
  • All students, faculty, and staff at Macalester may take bagpipe lessons at no charge.
  • No auditions are required for Pipe Band.
  • Meets Wednesdays 6:30–10:00 PM in Crawford Hall, M116.
  • Contact Michael Breidenbach at  for more information.

Jazz and Popular Music Combos

  • Directed by Peter Hennig
  • Jazz and Popular Music Combos are forums for students to receive coaching in the performance of standards and/or original music.  Students also receive feedback on improvisation development, group interactivity, and stage presence.
  • The combos present two concerts each year.
  • Auditions may be done in person on Friday, September 1, 2017, 6 – 8:00pm, or via video. Video auditions are to be sent to on or before August 31, 2017. Expect a reply from director Peter Hennig by Sept 2nd.
  • Audition location (if in person): Music 121
  • Audition sign-up sheets will be located on the table outside the Music Department Office, Music 201 during Orientation.
    Audition guidelines (for both video and in-person auditions):

    • Vocalists:
      -Sing a one octave major scale (any key) ascending and descending
      -Sing a one octave minor scale (any key) ascending and descending
      -Sing excerpts from 2 of your favorite pieces. They should stylistically contrast from one another. You can choose to perform these with accompaniment (piano, guitar, band, backing track, etc…) or a cappella. If you are submitting a video, the excerpts should be between 30-60 seconds.
    • Instrumentalists:
      -Play a two octave major scale (any key) ascending and descending
      -Play a two octave minor scale (any key) ascending and descending
      -Perform excerpts from 2 of your favorite pieces. They should stylistically contrast from one another. You can choose to perform these with accompaniment or solo. If you are submitting a video, the excerpts should be between 30-60 seconds.
    • Drummers/Percussionists:
      -Play 3 out of these 5 rudiments:
      1.Single stroke roll
      2.Double stroke roll
      3.Single Paradiddle
      4.Flam (right & left handed)
      5.Drag (right & left handed)
    • -Demonstrate 3 different grooves (stylistically) on the drum set. These can vary between: Rock, Funk, Jazz, Latin, Hip-Hop, Country, etc. If you are submitting a video, please keep each demonstration under 20 seconds, please.
    • Additional Notes:
      -Make sure you are practiced and warmed up before you start recording.
      -Make sure that you and your instrument can be seen and heard clearly.
      -Although the footage should be clear visually and audibly, there is no need to be concerned with the production beyond those points. Any smart phone that is capable of recording video and audio will work.
      -Attach the video(s) in an e-mail to with a short paragraph about your musical background and your goals as a musician.
      -Remember to relax, focus on a good performance, and have fun!
  • Meets Mondays 7 – 9 PM in M113 and other spaces as needed
  • Contact Peter Hennig at  for more information.

Chamber Music Ensembles

  • Coordinated by Mark Mandarano.
  • The Chamber Music program at Macalester offers an opportunity to explore and perform repertoire for small ensembles. All instrumentalists and vocalists are eligible to participate and entrance is by audition. Students who are accepted into Chamber Music are placed in chamber ensembles and over the course of the semester immerse themselves in learning a challenging and varied repertoire.
  • Rehearsal times are arranged based on schedule availability and individual practice is required.
  • Ensembles receive weekly coaching from department faculty or professional studio instructors and there is least one performance required for this class for each semester of study.
  • Possible chamber ensembles include, but are not limited to: string quartet, woodwind quintet, brass sextet, trombone choir, piano trio, flute choir and clarinet choir.
  • Auditions:
    Saturday, Sept. 2, 2017, 1:00–4:00 PM
    Sunday, Sept. 3, 2017, 10:00 AM–noon
    Tuesday, Sept 5, 2017, 10:00 AM–4:00 PM
    Thursday, Sept 7, 2017, 10:00 AM–noon and 3:00–6:00 PM
  • Audition Location: Crawford Hall, M116.
  • Rehearsals TBA, depending on the schedules of participants.
  • Contact Mark Mandarano at  for more information.

Early Music Ensemble

  • Directed by Cléa Galhano.
  • Vocalists and instrumentalists of all abilities who are interested in historical performance are invited to join the Macalester Early Music Ensemble. The group focuses on Renaissance and Baroque repertory.
  • No auditions are required.
  • Participant sign-up sheet will be located outside the Music Department Office, M201. You may attend the first class even if you did not sign up beforehand.
  • Attend the first rehearsal on Wednesday, September 6 in M121. Bring your instruments.
  • Performance: 1 concert each semester.
  • Meets Wednesdays 7:00 – 8:30 PM in M121.
  • Contact Cléa Galhano at  for more information.

Wind Ensemble

  • Directed by Shelley Hanson.
  • The Wind Ensemble provides an opportunity for Macalester students to rehearse and perform the concert literature for winds and percussion. The Wind Ensemble is open to all Macalester students at all levels of ability.
  • No auditions are required. To join, all you need to do is show up at the first rehearsal.
  • If a player would like to play the “First Part,” they can arrange to audition for the director.
  • Students who play the following instruments are welcome to join the band: flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, saxophone, horn, trumpet, trombone, baritone/euphonium, tuba, timpani and percussion.
  • There will be one major performance per semester, with various smaller performances as the opportunities arise.
  • Meets Mondays 7:15–8:45 PM in Crawford Hall (M116). Bring your instruments to the first rehearsal on September 11, 2017, or if you need to borrow a Macalester instrument, please contact Director of Instrumental Activities Mark Mandarano at
  • Contact Shelley Hanson at for more information.

Asian Music Ensemble

  • Directed by Chuen-Fung Wong
  • The Asian Music Ensemble performs traditional and modern music from East and Central Asia.
  • Core instruments include a variety of plucked lutes and zithers, bowed fiddles, bamboo/reed flutes, hammered dulcimer, and percussion from Chinese music and traditions across the Silk Road.
  • Meets Fridays 4:45 – 6:15 in M228
  • Contact Chuen-Fung Wong at  for more information and to schedule an audition.

Advising Information

Majoring or Minoring in Music

Please contact Music Department chair Chuen-Fung Wong at

Piano Students

If you’d like to learn more about the piano program at Macalester, professor Mark Mazullo is available by appointment. 

Additional Information

Practice Rooms

Practice rooms are available for audition preparation (during Orientation, 7am – 10pm), and they are located in the southwest corner of the first and second floors of the Music Department in Janet Wallace Fine Arts Center. There is no charge, and they are first-come, first served.

Borrowing Instruments

If you need to borrow an instrument for auditions, please be in touch with the Director of Instrumental Activities Mark Mandarano at to make arrangements. If possible, please contact him in advance of your arrival on campus.

Instrument Lockers

Lockers are assigned beginning the first day of classes. During Orientation, with rare exception for very large instruments such as upright basses and tubas, first-year students will need to keep their instruments in their dorm rooms.

LOCKER ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS

  • Any Macalester student registered for studio instruction/private lessons, or
  • Any Macalester student enrolled in a Music Department Ensemble.

HOW TO RESERVE A LOCKER (BEGINNING THE FIRST DAY OF CLASSES)

  1. A one-time, fully-refundable deposit of $30 is required to reserve an instrument locker.
  2. Students must meet eligibility requirements.
  3. Go to Student Accounts in 77 Mac, 102, and let them know you would like to use a Music Department instrument locker.  Hours: 8:00 AM – noon, and 1:00 – 4:00, Monday – Friday.
  4. Student Accounts will collect the one-time, fully-refundable, $30 deposit (paid in cash or check), and will give you a receipt.
  5. Bring the receipt to the Music Department office (M201), and you will be assigned a locker. Office hours are 9am – 4:30pm Monday – Friday.

General Assistance

For general assistance, please go to the Music Department Office (M201) or contact Music Department Coordinator Rachel Hest