Fall 2020

REGISTRATION - Please do not register for Jazz Vocal Ensemble (JVE) or Jazz Vocal Repertory Ensemble (JVRE) until auditions have been completed and membership determined.

ABOUT THE GROUPS. All Ithaca College students regardless of major are eligible to audition for placement into one of the Jazz Vocal Ensembles. Please note that everyone who is interested (even those who have previously been in the group) must audition each year.

NEW PLAN FOR FALL 2020. Due to the recent switch to all online instruction for Fall Semester 2020, the design and goals for both groups has changed, which affects the audition process somewhat. (See AUDITION below.)

Ensemble goals and activities—rather than the more typical “rehearse charts for a concert” plan as in past semesters, weekly meetings will focus more on developing improvisation skills (scales, solfege, scat syllables, strategies, exercises, application, and so forth) in as real-time manner that synchronous Zoom sessions can allow.

End-of-semester recording—ideally, I plan to record virtually a chart or two that allows everyone a chance to apply the improv skills learned as well as create music together in some fashion.

GROUP DESIGN and FOCUS. Below find the traditional designs of each group along with an update of how Fall 2020 online instruction will change content and goals.

Jazz Vocal Ensemble (JVE) will be limited to 14-18 select singers and specialize primarily in advanced repertoire (levels IV-VI). Rehearsals occur TR 6:05–7:55pm for a total of 4 hours per week. Attendance at every rehearsal is expected.

Jazz Vocal Repertory Ensemble (JVRE) will focus on more foundational jazz choir repertoire (levels I-IV, higher as appropriate) and be open to any student who can qualify by audition. Membership is flexible, not limited to a set number. Rehearsals occur MW 6:00–6:50 for a total of 2 hours per week. Attendance at every rehearsal is expected.

NEW for Fall 2020

         • The skill level and repertoire focus of each group remains the same

JVRE is a great fit for singers new to Vocal Jazz Ensemble singing; we’ll cover the basics of jazz ensemble singing (e.g., how to swing, how to shape vowels and consonants, etc.) along with beginning stages of vocal improvisation (scales, syllables, strategies).

JVE requires previous experience in vocal jazz singing such that activities of a more advanced level will not present great challenge; thus, audition standards for JVE are higher than for JVRE; if you’re unsure if you’re ready or not, please contact the Director.

The Ithaca College Jazz Vocal Ensembles are looking for singers! Auditions for both ensembles will be held on Tuesday and Wednesday, September 8–9 over Zoom. 10-minute audition slots will begin at 6:00 PM both evenings (Tuesday, Wednesday). (If demand is higher than expected, additional times later in the week MAY become available at the discretion of the Director.)

► FIRST, all students wishing to audition should sign up online via the School of Music Ensemble sigh-up page.


► SECOND, to obtain the required audition materials and other information about the audition process, read carefully the page below and download the appropriate document(s). Please contact Dr. White if you have any additional questions about what is required or any other aspect about the two ensembles.

► THIRD, be sure to complete the audition data sheet and send it to me via email prior to the audition time.

► AT THE AUDITION. The audition will last no longer than 10 minutes. Please be warmed up & ready before your audition time. Join the waiting room at least 10-15 minute before your time and wait for me to let you in. You should be prepared to do the following at the audition:

1. Sing a song of your choosing that you know well (a jazz standard preferred but not required). If you have nothing to sing, be prepared to sing "America, the Beautiful" and experiment with different styles (e.g., swing, bossa, etc.). If you have trouble choosing a song, below find three suggestions (PDF lead sheets) from which you may choose (see also DOCUMENTS on the left margin of this page).

"Almost Like Being in Love" by Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Lowe
"Blue Skies" by Irving Berlin
"Time After Time" by Sammy Kahn and Jule Styne;

2. Blues Chorus excerpt (see PDF). Pick any passage within any of these four excerpts and prepare to sing with jazz scat syllables. (If in doubt of what to use, choose “Bah” and “Dah,” nice open-vowel sounds that suggest a trumpet or trombone.) Swing the 8th note. LENGTH is whatever you can master in the given time remaining (but please do at least 12 measures, which is one pass through a set of Blues chord changes). And, yes, sing a cappella.


3. Sing a one octave chromatic scale up & down, starting note of your choice. Use of solfege is highly encouraged (but not necessary).

4. Sing a few call-and response patterns (actually, call-and-repeat or call-and mimic) with Prof. White.
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► RESULTS. Membership (audition results) will be announced by Thursday afternoon, September 10, outside Dr. White's studio. (Be sure to give me your email address.) You may also contact Dr. White directly at jwhite@ithaca.edu to obtain audition results

Rhythm section players for Fall 2020 are welcome to join our sessions for vocal improv, etc., but are encouraged to join Mike Titlebaum’s Jazz Ensemble class(es) designed primarily for instrumentalists.

If Jazz Vocal Ensemble (JVE) is not their not the required major ensemble, a music major may register for 0.0, 0.5 or 1.0 credit, which would count toward music electives. For either JVE or Jazz Vocal Repertory Ensemble (JVRE), non-Music majors may take the ensemble for the same amount and it would count as liberal arts credit. Jazz-studies-and-vocal-majors may use Jazz Vocal Ensemble (JVE) as the major ensemble (in which case, registration would be for 1.0 credit).

If you have questions please email me at jwhite@ithaca.edu.
I look forward to hearing (from) you!
Dr. John White


file-outline JV(R) E Audition Data Sheet - jvre-audition-data-sheet-fall-2020.pdf (170.1 KB)
file-outline JV(R)E Audition Data Sheet - .word version - jvre-audition-data-sheet-fall-2020-1.docx (19.95 KB)