Student Ensembles

Music: For Academic Credit, Fun, or Both

For many students, the chance to pursue a passion for music is what makes WPI so attractive. Here, you can choose a major concentration in music, a music minor, or join one of our many ensembles; some of which offer academic credit. WPI’s music ensembles tour extensively and have received international recognition.

For more information regarding the groups listed below, including whether or not academic credit is available, please contact the appropriate faculty member.

African Percussion and Dance Ensemble

Richard G. Falco, director of jazz studies, rfalco@wpi.edu

Master drummer Mohamed Kalifa Kamara directs this drum-and-dance troupe that features music from the countries of West Africa. Weekly rehearsals explore the performance practices embedded in traditional and cultural settings. Performances include on- and off-campus ethnic festivals, television appearances, educational programs, and formal concerts with professional guest artists.

Choral Music Association

John F. Delorey, director of choral music, jfd@wpi.edu. Learn more...

Alden Voices, the women’s chorus at WPI, was founded in 1978. The chorus performs selections from the vast literature available for treble voice, from Renaissance motets to Broadway standards. Alden Voices maintains an active performance schedule, including appearances at local venues such as Mechanics Hall, Tuckerman Hall, and the Worcester Art Museum. Alden Voices has performed in New York City, Montreal, Washington, DC, Hawaii, and Puerto Rico. Learn more...

Simple Harmonic Motion and The Technichords, the men’s and women’s a cappella groups, are composed of singers selected from the Men’s Glee Club and Alden Voices. The co-ed a cappella group Audiophiles is the newest addition to the choral program and is made up of members of the WPI Festival Chorus. Much of its music is arranged by ensemble members who perform at on- and off-campus functions. Each group is directed by a senior member and advised by the director of choral music. Learn more about the Technicords and the Audiophiles...

Vocal Performance Lab is a select group of singers who audition for a spot in the ensemble. Singers will explore the rigors and rewards of performance practice from medieval music to extended vocal techniques. This group performs two concerts annually and provides the voices for the Virtual Choir, a tempo and nuance-sensitive technology developed by Fred Bianchi, director of computer music research.

WPI Festival Chorus is composed of the Glee Club, Alden Voices, and 20 additional members of the WPI Community. Twice each academic year, these 100 voices perform some of the larger works of the choral repertoire with full orchestra.

WPI Men’s Glee Club is 50 voices strong and performs from a repertoire of extensive arrangements for this unique choral tradition, including works of Mozart, Schubert, and Stravinsky. Started in 1874, the Glee Club is the oldest student organization on campus and traditionally performs with Alden Voices, as well as the choruses of such women’s colleges as Smith, Wellesley, and Mount Holyoke. Performances are also conducted with area orchestras, including the Concord Symphony and New England Philharmonic. The Glee Club tours domestically and internationally. Past tours include New York City, Montreal, Greece, Ireland, Italy, and Spain. Learn more...

Symphonic Association

Douglas G. Weeks, administrator of applied music, dweeks@wpi.edu. Learn more...

Medwin Honors String Quartet is an ensemble, selected by audition, from members of the Medwin String Ensemble. Created to provide additional chamber music performing opportunities, the quartet awards scholarships to its members. Lynne Canavan, coach.

Medwin String Ensemble performs from a large repertoire of chamber music for strings. It forms the string section of the WPI Orchestra. The ensemble tours overseas and is frequently requested to perform at university functions. Douglas G. Weeks, director.

WPI Brass Ensemble specializes in the performance of the great antiphonal music of the Gabrielis, as well as contemporary compositions for large brass organizations. In addition to touring in Europe, the Brass Ensemble has performed at the National Cathedral in Washington, DC, St. Paul’s Cathedral in Worcester, St. Columbkille’s in Brighton, Mechanics Hall in Worcester, and numerous other venues. Douglas G. Weeks, director.

WPI Concert Band is the largest wind organization on campus and is open to all wind and percussion players. It presents at least three major concerts on campus each year and often performs with other colleges and on overseas tours. Douglas G. Weeks, director.

WPI Orchestra performs many orchestral works, including symphonies of Brahms and Beethoven, and Saint-Saëns’ Carnival of the Animals. Composed of all members of the Medwin String Ensemble as well as wind and percussion players, the orchestra performs frequently on campus and has toured in Europe. Douglas G. Weeks, director; Lynne Canavan, assistant director.

WPI Percussion Ensemble is the newest instrumental group and rehearses a variety of music weekly. The ensemble performs one major concert per year. Pieter Struyk, coach.

WPI Wind Ensemble (by audition only) is composed of select members of the Concert Band and is designed to rehearse and perform challenging works for wind band.

JazzGroup

Richard G. Falco, director of jazz studies, rfalco@wpi.edu

Three award-winning jazz groups maintain an active schedule during the academic year, performing in concerts and at festivals, on live television and radio broadcasts, through recordings, and with other US colleges.

WPI Jazz Ensemble consists of nine musicians and performs music specifically composed for small jazz combos, with a heavy emphasis on improvisation.

WPI Jazz Workshop offers an exploration of jazz language in an informal class setting. Open to all students interested in jazz, the organization performs two major concerts a year.

WPI Stage Band is the largest ensemble at WPI, with 18–24 members. It performs contemporary big band and Latin literature. The Stage Band and the Jazz Ensemble have performed internationally in concert tours every two years. Performance have brought them to Belgium, Luxembourg, Austria, Canada, Czech Republic, Egypt, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Poland, Romania, and Spain. In France they were featured in a special broadcast on National Public Radio entitled “A Tout Jazz.” Two tours in Russia featured performances at the Palace of Culture in Moscow and Mali Hall in St. Petersburg, by special invitation of the St. Petersburg Jazz Society.