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College of Arts and Sciences

Ensembles

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Brass Ensemble

Randall Tinnin, director

The UNF Brass Ensemble performs music for brass spanning the 17th through 21st centuries. This dynamic group of undergraduate music students performed in a master class at the Juilliard School and has appeared locally at the Church of the Good Shepherd, Riverside Presbyterian Church, St. Paul's United Methodist Church, Unitarian Universalist Church of Jacksonville, Mandarin, Nease, Lake Brantley, and Winter Springs High Schools and LaVilla School of the Arts. The ensemble was featured in the Riverside Fine Arts Project Listen series and the Lake Eden Arts Festival in Ashville, NC.

Former members have been accepted to and offered scholarships to DePaul (Chicago), University of Miami, UCLA, University of Illinois, University of Florida, University of Central Florida, SUNY Purchase (New York), and Queen's College (NYC), and have been winners and finalists in national and international solo competitions.

Contact Randall Tinnin at (904) 620-3844 for more information.

Choral Ensembles

Dr. Cara Tasher, Director of Choral Studies

Choral music is a tradition that fosters community-building, cooperation, harmony and personal satisfaction among participants of diverse backgrounds and skills, with the human voice being the common denominator. 

The University of North Florida choral department is led by Dr. Cara Tasher, Director of Choral Studies since 2006.

The program offers four ensembles to qualified students, staff, faculty and community members. Each ensemble provides singers with training to improve sight-reading and vocal skills as well as the opportunity to study voice privately. 

Sachiko Frampton, Collaborative Keyboard Artist

Sachiko Frampton started her career as a professional collaborative pianist soon after she began studying at the high school division of Musashino Academia Musicae, a conservatory in Tokyo, Japan. She studied piano under Yoko Minagawa and Takashi Kawasaki, and collaborative piano under Penka Badev. Until she moved to the United States with her family, she performed numerous recitals as a collaborative pianist and played for many master classes and competitions. She also traveled throughout the nation as a pianist with the percussion ensemble Group Woods for performance and outreach program.

Before she moved to Jacksonville in 2012, she worked in Arizona as a collaborative pianist for Grand Canyon University, high schools in the greater Phoenix area and for the State Convention of Choral Directors of Arizona. Here in Jacksonville, she holds the position of collaborative pianist for the Jacksonville Children’s Chorus and has traveled extensively for performances in Europe with the chorus. She most recently joined University of North Florida school of music as a staff pianist for voice studios.

Chamber Singers, Chorale, 5 o'clock Singing Ospreys and Osprey Treble Chorus offer diverse musical selections, remarkable student conductor opportunities and include the highest percentage of non-music majors. On occasion, student-led a cappella groups emerge from within. Placement in an ensemble entails a short voice placement.

Highlights of the choral calendar include the September Peace Concert, Jacksonville SINGS! High School Honor Invitational, Osprey Choral Showcases, Handel’s Messiah, Sing into Spring and the Spring Choral Masterwork. Recent masterworks performed by UNF ensembles include Beethoven Missa Solemnis and Walton’s Belshazzar’s Feast with the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra and Bach St. John’s Passion, Cantata 140 Wachet Auf, Motet Jesu meine Freude, Brahms Requiem, Mozart Requiem and Orff Carmina Burana in collaboration with the UNF Orchestra, Lawson Ensemble and other talented forces. In recent years, UNF singers have worked with Simon Carrington, Chanticleer, Simon Halsey, Joey Martin, Gene Peterson, Eugene Rogers, and Sandra Snow. In the coming year, choristers will work with Eric Whitacre and Bob Chilcott, adding to an already impressive list of internationally acclaimed guest conductors and clinicians.

The ensembles have performed with the Yuval Ron Ensemble, at the 2013 State American Choral Director’s Association (ACDA) conference, the 2014 Southern Division ACDA Convention, with the Royal Philharmonic in 2009, and frequently with the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra. Aside from regional performances, the UNF choral groups have visited Italy, Portugal and South Africa during international performance tours.

In all of their endeavors, members of the choral ensembles work to deeply understand the music they sing and the cultures from which it comes. Singers perform with the highest artistic standards and find tremendous joy in making the music come alive.

Giving

With a gift to the UNF Choral Music program, you amplify student success! Your tax-deductible contribution creates opportunities for students, faculty and staff to pursue excellence in all they do. Thank you for making a difference!

5 o'clock Singing Ospreys

Tommy Shapard, conductor

The 5 o'clock Singing Ospreys is open to faculty, staff, and students of all majors and performs one to three concerts per semester. This emerging and growing ensemble of basses and tenors rehearses once a week. Time is devoted to exercising healthy vocal technique; rehearsing diverse repertoire selections ranging from a cappella to accompanied works; gaining a full understanding of what it means to be a professional choral musician; and, finding community on campus with others who have a passion for singing. Student leadership opportunities within the ensemble are a bonus for future educators as a training ground in the choral art. The 5OCS rehearses Mondays from 5:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. in the Fine Arts Center, Building 45, Room 1404.

For more information, contact Tommy Shapard at n00973151@unf.edu

Chamber Singers

The Chamber Singers are the most select choral ensemble at UNF and serve as the primary fundraising and touring ensemble and typically perform ten to twenty concerts throughout the academic year. This versatile group was spotlighted on the world stage as they sang the national anthem to open the 2012 Florida Republican Debate, broadcast live on CNN-HD to over 5 million people. Their repertoire covers a wide range of styles, from Monteverdi to Whitacre to Britten, and also spans the genres of world music and vocal jazz. The UNF Chamber Singers and the “President’s Own” are available for bookings through the conductor. Chamber Singers rehearse Tuesdays and Thursdays 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. and a 30-minute sectional each week in the Fine Arts Center, Building 45, Room 1404. Admission to those who bring a high level of excellence and enthusiasm to both solo and choral music performance follows a rigorous audition process that is held prior to each academic year. Watch the UNF Chamber Singers open the 2012 CNN Presidential Debate on Youtube.

The group’s conductor, Dr. Cara Tasher, a member of the University of North Florida faculty since 2006, has garnered experience as singer, chorus master and/or conductor with the Atlanta Symphony Chorus, Chicago Symphony Chorus, Conspirare, Glen Ellyn Children’s Chorus, Mexico City’s Opera de Bellas Artes, Portugal’s Vocalizze Festival, Trinity Choir-Wall Street, Xavier University, the Young People’s Chorus of New York City, and has also prepared choruses for Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra, the Royal Philharmonic and most recently, Josh Groban. She has performed and recorded with conductors Claudio Abbado, Daniel Barenboim, Christoph Eschenbach, James Levine, Robert Shaw, and Sir Georg Solti. Proficient in several languages, Tasher’s concerts, workshops, and guest performing engagements as both a singer and a conductor have brought her to over twenty countries. She studied at University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, University of Texas at Austin, La Sorbonne, and Northwestern University where she received several honors and awards. Dr. Tasher is active within the national and global community through ACDA, IFCM and NATS. She was awarded the 2010 Outstanding Undergraduate Teaching Award at the University of North Florida, co-presented with Dr. James Hall in Korea at the World Symposium of Choral Music in 2014 and won the University Outstanding International Leadership Award in 2016. Contact Dr. Cara Tasher at (904) 620-3839 or Cara.Tasher@unf.edu for more information.

May 2015 "come by here" 

Recorded live on-site in the superb acoustics at Jacksonville Beach’s finest acoustic St. Paul’s by-the-Sea, this mostly a cappella CD represents diverse time periods, languages and styles allowing the artistry of the ensemble to shine through in a wide variety of works by Portuguese composers Manuel Cardoso (1566–1650) and Eurico Carrapatoso (b. 1962), as well as John Duggan (b. 1968), Blake Henson (b. 1983), Jón Leifs (1899–1968), Claudio Monteverdi (1567–1643), Giovanni Palestrina (1525–1594), Pärt Uusberg (b. 1986) and traditional American songs. James Hall, faculty tenor soloist; Nick Curry, faculty cello soloist; Yukino Miyake, collaborative artist; UNF Chamber Singers, Cara Tasher, conductor.

The album is now available on iTunes. To order a physical copy of “come by here” send a check made out to the University of North Florida for $20 ($15.00 + $5.00 S&H) to Dr. Cara Tasher, UNF School of Music, 1 UNF Drive, Jacksonville, FL 32224.

May 2011 “when i sing

The twelve selections included on the UNF Chamber Singers premiere disc represent an impressive span of time periods and styles. Also recorded at St. Paul’s by-the-Sea, this mostly a cappella album includes works by Josquin de Prez (c. 1450/1455–1521), Imant Raminsh (b. 1943), James Taylor (b. 1948), as well as two contemporary songs from UNF faculty composers Gary Smart and Peter Mathews (retired). Nick Curry, cello soloist; Jon Easter, collaborative keyboard artist; UNF Chamber Singers; Cara Tasher, conductor.

To book the Chamber Singers, for more information or to contribute to student choral scholarships, please contact Cara.Tasher@unf.edu or visit her studio in the Fine Arts Center, Building 45, Room 2009. To schedule an audition, e-mail chorus@unf.edu.

Osprey Treble Chorus

Holly Hammond, graduate student conductor

The Osprey Treble Chorus is open to faculty, staff, and students of all majors with soprano and alto voices. They perform up to three concerts per semester both on campus as well as within the local Jacksonville community. Repertoire feature diverse musical selections including both a cappella and accompanied works from the Renaissance to the 21st Century. Student leadership opportunities are abound in this fun and engaging ensemble. The Osprey Treble Chorus rehearses Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 1:00 p.m. to 2:20 p.m. in the Fine Arts Center, Building 45, Room 1404.

For more information, contact Professor Holly Hammond at chorus@unf.edu.

Concert Band

Erin Bodnar, conductor

The UNF Concert Band provides performance opportunities for a diverse ensemble of musicians including students with majors other than music, music performance and education majors, and community members not otherwise affiliated with the university. Rehearsing one evening per week, the band is challenged to prepare a final concert, which serves as a culminating presentation for the semester. This ensemble’s mission is to explore and perform quality wind/band literature while building basic concepts of musical expression and performance among the members of the ensemble.

Contact Erin Bodnar at (904) 620-3832 for more information.

Drumline

Robert Tobias, coordinator

The Drumline is one of the many ensembles affiliated with the School of Music. It consists of students from across the university and is open to both music majors and percussionists who desire to continue performing throughout college. The Drumline maintains a visible performance schedule on and off campus, including sporting events, commencement, TV appearances, recruitment tours, and performances in conjunction with the percussion studio.

The Drumline is coordinated by a graduate teaching assistant from the percussion department. Auditions are held at the beginning of the fall and spring semesters for the academic school year and are open to all enrolled UNF students.

For more information about the Drumline, including auditions and inquiries about booking for events, email drumline.unf@gmail.com or visit us on Facebook or Instagram.

For more information about the Percussion area see the percussion ensemble below or visit us on Facebook.

Audition Requirements

Students interested in auditioning will be asked to play on a variety of drums, so please be sure to review all parts as members are assigned to the Drumline as needed. 

Escape Ten

About the Group

Escape Ten is a percussion duo formed by Dr. Andrea Venet (Assistant Professor, University of North Florida) and Dr. Annie Stevens (Assistant Professor, Virginia Tech). Their inaugural performance endeavor was a three-week cross-country tour where the drove from Virginia to LA performing in 10 cities across the country. Their name Escape Ten originates from their trademark road trip style performance tours in a Ford Escape, with many miles traveled on the I-10.

Remaining passionate about exploring all genres and expressing these creatively through the world of percussion, much of their repertoire includes innovative arrangements and compositions commissioned exclusively by the duo. Their first album, Colours of a Groove, was released in 2014. They tour extensively as Malletech artists, are passionate educators, and have their own publication series through KPP.

Recent commissions include three world premieres by Aurél Hollo, Joe Locke, and Michael Burritt at the 2016 Percussive Arts Society International Convention. In addition, they gave the world premiere of 2300 Degrees by Ivan Trevino in Atlanta’s Spivey Hall in 2015, and their wind ensemble arrangement of Séjourné’s Double

Concerto at VMEA in 2014.

In addition to regular appearances at percussion festivals and universities across the country, Escape Ten has been featured artists at the Barnes Foundation, Leigh Howard Stevens ​Summer ​Marimba Seminar, Rhea Miller Concert series, Musica Viva Concert Series, McCormick Marimba Festival, Interlochen, International Trombone Festival, ​VMEA, ​and at the Virginia Humanities Conference at Roanoke College.

In addition to being active members of PAS, Escape Ten proudly endorses Malletech, DREAM Cymbals, and Remo drumheads.


For more information, visit www.EscapeTen.com.

Facebook: @EscapeX

Twitter: @EscapeXPercussion

Jazz Ensembles

Jazz Ensemble 1

J.B. Scott, director

The University of North Florida Jazz Ensemble 1, led by director J.B. Scott, is the flagship ensemble of the prestigious University of North Florida Jazz Studies Program. Thanks to the visionary leadership of Rich Matteson in 1986, UNF's Jazz Ensemble 1 has enjoyed the reputation of being one of the finest collegiate jazz ensembles worldwide. That the majority of the group members of UNF JE 1 are undergraduates makes this achievement that much more impressive.

Jazz Ensemble 1 has won numerous group and individual awards and has been consistently recognized by such publications as Cadence, Jazz Times, Jazz Educators Journal, and DownBeat Magazine for its improvisational prowess and precision ensemble playing. JE 1 was the first collegiate winner of the prestigious Monterey Next Generation Festival in California. The band has consistently been invited to perform at prestigious stages in both the U.S, Europe, and Asia, for the former International Association of Jazz Educators Conferences in Atlanta, Boston, Miami, and New Orleans, for Jazz Educators Network Conferences, for the prestigious Midwest Band and Orchestra Clinic in Chicago, and for jazz festivals including the Montreux Jazz Festival, the North Sea Jazz Festival, the Monterey Jazz Festival, the Suncoast Jazz Festival, the Mobile Jazz Festival, and annually at the Savannah Jazz Festival and the Jacksonville Jazz Festival.

A special component of the UNF Jazz Studies Program is the Great American Jazz Series, which regularly brings in stellar jazz artists as residents. This series, along with other opportunities, has enabled Jazz Ensemble 1 to perform in concert with 100's of esteemed artists, including Herbie Hancock, Tito Puente, The Count Basie Orchestra, Joe Henderson, Pat Metheny, Michael Brecker, Diane Schuur, Dave Brubeck, Joe Williams, Ernie Watts, Dianne Reeves, the Air Force Airmen of Note, Louie Bellson, Dr. Billy Taylor, Maria Schneider, Slide Hampton, Claudio Roditi, Bill Watrous, the Stan Kenton Legacy Orchestra, Arturo Sandoval, Jimmy Heath, Jon Faddis and the Dizzie Gillespie Allstars, Nicolas Payton, Kevin Mahogany, Wynton Marsalis, the Navy Commodores, Christine and Ingrid Jensen, Branford Marsalis, Ed Calle, Kurt Elling, Doc Severinsen, Carmen Bradford, Christian McBride, Michael Mossman, Luis Bonilla, Ignacio Berroa, Allen Vizutti, Richard Stoltzman, Roy Haynes, Marcus Roberts, Terry Gibbs, Joe Lovano, Billy Higgins, Benny Green, Clark Terry, Jimmy Cobb, the Heath Brothers, Billy Taylor, Eddie Daniels, Cassandra Wilson, Jeff Hamilton, Randy Brecker, Joshua Breakstone, Mulgrew Miller, Steve Davis, John Lee, Conrad Harwig, Russell Malone, John and Jeff Clayton, Bella Fleck and the Flecktones, Dave Holland, Cyrus Chestnut, John Pizzarelli,Jack Petersen and many others.

Contact J.B. Scott, coordinator of Jazz Studies, the Great American Jazz Series and director of JE1, at (904) 620-3847 for more information.

Jazz Ensemble 2

Dennis Marks, director

Dennis Marks, Assistant Professor of Jazz Bass, is the conductor of this elite jazz band at the University of North Florida. JE 2’s performance repertoire is quite varied. The material chosen comes from all idioms of big band jazz, including swing, bop, funk, and fusion. This ensemble consistently enjoys the presence of high-quality players, enabling a wide variety of sound colors and textures to be realized. JE 2 has played several important venues over the last few years and has the honor of being the opening act for the featured spring artist in the Great American Jazz Series. Most players that have played in this band have advanced on to JE 1.

Contact Dennis Marks at (904) 620-3843 for more information.

Jazz Ensemble 3

Marc Dickman, director

Dr. Marc Dickman directs this wonderful ensemble, which plays 4 to 5 gigs a semester. UNF’s JE 3 has performed at many venues and jazz festivals in Florida and Georgia. Recent engagements include UNF's Great American Jazz Series, the Intercollegiate Jazz Festival, the Lakeside Jazz Festival in Daytona Beach, the Jazz Festival at the Kravis center in West Palm Beach, the Bella Sera Jazz Weekend in Jekyll Island, and the Amelia Island Jazz Festival.

Contact Marc Dickman at (904) 620-3841 for more information.

The Lawson Ensemble

The Lawson Ensemble was formed in 2015 as a result of group members’ desire to consistently perform chamber music with a level of excellence and commitment and to share the results with the Jacksonville and regional community.  Founding members are violinist Aurica Duca, violinist/violist Clinton Dewing and cellist Nick Curry. The group is in residence at the University of North Florida (UNF) in Jacksonville and performs regularly on the UNF campus, in Jacksonville and around the region. In the summer of 2016, the group joined the San Marco Chamber Music Society (SMCMS), touring and playing concerts in England and touring Germany in the summer of 2018. Additionally, the group has recorded for Albany Records.

Aurica and Clinton are husband and wife and are both full-time members of the Jacksonville Symphony. Nick is the Associate Professor of Cello at UNF, where he teaches. His wife, Cara Tasher, is the Director of Choral Activities at UNF. The trio has been playing together for several years but a generous donation to the UNF music department allowed them to form an official ensemble and invite other gifted musicians to play with them for select programs. Nick, Clinton and Aurica believe in the enduring power of chamber music, the necessity for all music students to have a chamber experience, and the need for audiences to feel the immediacy, intimacy and beauty of the best chamber works.  

For more information, visit www.lawsonensemble.com.

Opera

The UNF Opera Ensemble was established in 2007. Comprised and cast entirely from undergraduate voice majors, the UNF Opera Ensemble focuses on skill development, stagecraft, and theatrical experience through production and performance of complete operatic works suitable for student voices. UNF Opera Ensemble also engages in community outreach, student recruitment, and promotion of operatic arts through production of special concerts, educational programs, and school performances.

Past productions include Dido & Aeneas (Henry Purcell) as the first complete opera performed at UNF, Amahl and the Night Visitors (Gian-Carlo Menotti), Suor Angelica (Giacomo Puccini), Hansel and Gretel (Engelbert Humperdink - school show and complete opera), The Consul (Gian Carlo Menotti) as well as Magic Flute, Marriage of Figaro and Cosi Fan Tutte (Mozart), all productions have been received with great response from the audience and strong critical acclaim. 

Opera Study Abroad Summer Opera Program in Czech Republic

UNF Opera Summer Program in Czech Republic was established by Dr. Krzysztof Biernacki in collaboration with University of North Florida, University of British Columbia, Canada, and European Music Academy in Teplice, Czech Republic as a summer opera program for UNF and UBC students. European Music Academy is a 4-6 week long summer opera program offering students and emerging professionals the opportunity to gain European experience by performing complete operatic works in professional operatic environment under the instruction of international faculty. The program involves study and performance of at least two full operas in established European opera theatres with professional orchestras (North Czech Philharmonic and Usti nad Labem City Opera Orchestra), as well as masterclasses, individual coachings, and open air orchestra concerts. Past productions include six complete performances of Mozart’s Magic Flute (2010) at the Estates Theater in Prague and City Opera Theater in Teplice, accompanied by North Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, four performances of Marriage of Figaro (2011) at the City Opera Theater in Teplice, as well as six performances of Cosi Fan Tutte (2012) at the Karlovy Vary Opera, City Opera theater in Teplice, and Konopistie Castle open-air stage. Scheduled production for summer 2013 include Bizet’s Carmen as well as Janacek’s Cunning Little Vixen accompanied by North Czech Philharmonic Orchestra – Dr. Krzysztof Biernacki – Stage Director & Program Coordinator.

Sample Videos

Orchestra

Simon Shiao, conductor

The University of North Florida Orchestra is comprised of University students and outstanding community musicians selected through an annual audition process. The orchestra performs four concerts a year, covering a wide-ranging symphonic genre from Baroque to present-day compositions. The UNF Orchestra has been invited to perform at the Florida Orchestra Association's fall conference and the Music Educator's State Conference. A strong advocate for education, outreach and music of today, the UNF Orchestra has performed for 12,000 school-aged students in Duval, St. Johns, Clay and Brevard counties and have premiered works by Piotr Szewczyk, Gary Smart, Conor Brown and Courtney Bryan.

Audition Requirements for Fall 2022 Orchestra Seating Auditions

You will need your UNF credentials (N-number and password) to access the material below.

Contact Simon Shiao at simon.shiao@unf.edu for more information.

Musescore is a free professional notation software accessible with NVDA and with JAWS with additional script installation. If you need additional assistance with the music linked above, you can download Musescore, open the sheet music and use their screen reader to read the sheet music. View Musescore's accesibility handbook and guides.

Percussion Ensemble

Andrea Venet, director

The University of North Florida Percussion Ensemble, directed by Dr. Andrea Venet, performs a varied spectrum of repertoire that includes contemporary chamber music, new compositions, commissions, modern arrangements, world music, and consistently gives world premieres of new works. The ensemble took second place in the Chamber Percussion Competition at the 2019 Percussive Arts Society International (PASIC), competing against 18 recognized programs from around the country. As active performers on and off-campus, the ensemble regularly collaborates with other UNF ensembles and has an extensive presence within the School of Music. The percussion ensemble, made up of graduate and undergraduate percussion majors, focuses on chamber music performance and regularly hosts world-renowned guest artists every year, including Michael Burritt, Escape Ten, The Big Trouble, Line Upon Line and Valerie Naranjo. 

Like the beats, feel the groove? Consider supporting UNF Percussion students with a gift of any size. 

Give Online: https://give.unf.edu/percussion

Contact Andrea Venet at andrea.venet@unf.edu for more information.

Wind Symphony

Erin Bodnar, conductor

The UNF Wind Symphony is composed of approximately 45 of the most outstanding woodwind, brass, and percussion players at the University of North Florida. Dedicated to promoting and performing the finest in traditional and contemporary wind literature, this ensemble has firmly established a reputation for musical excellence. Members of the Wind Symphony enjoy opportunities to perform with nationally renowned guest artists, as well as premiering new works for winds by leading composers.

The Wind Symphony maintains an active schedule including three or more concerts per semester, regional and international tours, and regular appearances at state, regional and international music events. Past performances include the World Association of Symphonic Bands and Ensembles Conference in Buñol, Spain (2019), College Band Directors National Association Southern Division Conference (2014), Alice Tully Hall, Lincoln Center (2011), Carnegie Hall (2008), and the FMEA State Conference (2007). In May 2022, the UNF Wind Symphony recorded its first album which will be released in December 2022.

The Wind Symphony is open by audition to all UNF students. If you have any questions, please contact Dr. Erin Bodnar at erin.bodnar@unf.edu.

UNF Wind Symphony and Orchestra Auditions for Fall 2022  

Auditions will be held Friday August 19 and Saturday August 20. Schedule to be announced later in the summer.

Audition Requirements for Fall 2022 

You will need your UNF credentials (N-number and password) to access the material below.

Musescore is a free professional notation software accessible with NVDA and with JAWS with additional script installation. If you need additional assistance with the music linked above, you can download Musescore, open the sheet music and use their screen reader to read the sheet music. Musescore has an accessibility handbook and guides for screen reader here: Musescore Accessibility.

The Wind Symphony is open by audition to all UNF students. If you have any questions, please contact Dr. Erin Bodnar at erin.bodnar@unf.edu.