Department of Music
Chamber ensembles at FSU come in many forms. Students participate in chamber choir, brass ensembles, woodwind ensembles, guitar ensemble and digital piano ensembles. The music faculty are available and willing to coach ensembles in all vocal and instrumental areas.
With over 70 years of performances, the Fairmont State Bands are among the most visible performing ensembles on campus. Membership in the bands is open to students who play a band instrument or have the necessary skills to participate in one of the auxiliary units such as flags or rifles. The Marching Band performs at all home football games during the fall semester and at various marching band activities such as parades and festivals. The Wind Ensemble is open to all students who can play a band instrument. Students are presented with the opportunity to study and perform a wide variety of band literature. The Jazz Ensemble is open by audition to advanced instrumental students. It is designed to give students an opportunity to rehearse and perform big band jazz and jazz-rock literature under faculty direction. The Fairmont State Bands have traveled across the East Coast and as far south as Walt Disney World and Bermuda. In the spring of 2008, the band traveled to the Bahamas. They perform on tour every two years, and in the future, expect to return to Europe, Mexico and Australia/New Zealand. They have produced compact disc recordings in recent years and plan to record more in the future. Alumni who have participated in the band have gone on to have successful careers in music education as well as a variety of occupations all across the United States.
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Singing in a choir at FSU is an opportunity for students of all majors and degree programs. Three choirs perform music ranging from Renaissance madrigals to symphonic masterworks to contemporary pieces from cultures around the world. Collegiate Singers is open to all students of the university without audition. Previous experience in high school, church or community choirs is desirable but not required. The repertoire includes accompanied and a cappella music in many styles and languages. The Chamber Choir is a small, select mixed ensemble which holds auditions at the beginning of every semester. All students with excellent choral experience and music reading ability are welcome to audition. A larger repertoire of challenging music and more foreign language performance is expected in the Chamber Choir. The University-Community Chorus is organized for special occasion concerts. The Collegiate Singers and Chamber Choir are joined by volunteer singers from the greater Fairmont area to perform large works with orchestra such as Handel’s “Messiah,” the Mozart “Requiem” and John Rutter’s “Magnificat,” to name just a few. FSU choirs sing one or more concerts each semester. In addition to campus events, the choirs have toured throughout West Virginia, Illinois, Ohio, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New York and Canada, performing for high schools and churches. Recent tour engagements include Toronto in 2007, sharing a concert with the Upper Canada Choristers, and at New York City’s Carnegie Hall in 2003, singing Beethoven’s “Mass in C.”
Department of Music faculty members mentor students on research projects based on their individual areas of interest. For example, a music education major recently completed a Summer Undergraduate Research Experience with a faculty mentor. The research team analyzed the content of fourth grade general music series textbooks from throughout the twentieth century and noted changes in content over time. They will present their research at the West Virginia Music Educators Association conference and publish the results in the Notes a Tempo journal. Faculty members welcome the opportunity to discuss potential topics of undergraduate research with interested students.