New Musical Experiences for Non-Majors

While non-music majors have had the option to participate in the Ithaca College Campus Band for about 10 years, last fall their options expanded to include a new Campus Choral Ensemble and a campuswide orchestra, called the Sinfonietta.

The Campus Choral Ensemble is directed by music education associate professor Jennifer Haywood. Haywood said, “The Campus Choral Ensemble’s first semester exceeded many expectations. The ensemble included over 80 musicians from throughout the campus community with varying previous musical experiences, and they all gave tremendous focus and great communication. It was an incredible joy to mentor this newest ‘everyone’s welcome,’ cross-curricular, inclusive ensemble.”
Their successful inaugural concert included music from Ghana, jazz, and a song in Yiddish, among other music. Associate professor of music education Baruch Whitehead sang as a volunteer community member with the ensemble throughout his fall sabbatical and also joined the choir, mentoring the percussion sounds of Ghana in the piece “Ghana Alleluia.”

The Sinfonietta, which actually began informally the year before, is led by the graduate students in orchestral conducting under the supervision of Jeffery Meyer. Its 60 or so members tackle such repertoire as Schubert’s “Unfinished” Symphony, Grieg’s Peer Gynt Suite, and Wagner’s Tannhauser Overture. Most of the members are non-music majors, with a handful of music majors playing a secondary instrument. Jesse Livingston, M.M. ’10, one of the conductors, appreciates working with an ensemble that “isn’t stressed out about music making; they do the best they can and have a good time doing it. It’s also great to work with such a diverse group from an eclectic range of majors.”

Originally published in Soundings, Volume 11, Number 1, Spring 2010: New Musical Experiences for Non-Majors.