Music ensembles recruit students for fall semester

Music ensembles recruit students

Senior members of the woodwind ensembles were recognized by directors Chris Ritter and Suzanne Thierry during their concert. The smaller groups allow for students to form close and meaningful relationships with the directors of their ensembles.

The many Shippensburg University musical ensembles are beginning rehearsals this week and are looking for new members to fill their ranks.

The groups, conducted by members of the SU faculty, include brass, string and woodwind ensembles, the marching band, and the orchestra. Involvement includes an ability to work with instrumental specialists as well as the possibility to go on tour this semester.

Though some groups may require an audition for specific parts, others may not, according to Professor Trever Famulare, director of bands and chair of music & theatre arts. 

Famulare is the director of the SU Brass Ensemble. The brass ensemble meets on Monday and Wednesday, from 3:30–5:30 p.m. in the Performing Arts Center (PAC) Room 225. The brass ensemble is an all-brass group that goes on short tours to Pennsylvania cities. Though the ensemble does not have any audition requirements, students should also contact Famulare for more information. 

Famulare says the ensembles provide a great opportunity to continue musical skills from high school to college.

Famulare also directs the SU Marching Band (SUMB). Even though the marching band season is well-underway, students interested in getting involved this semester should contact Famulare  for more information. 

The flute choir, directed by Suzanne Thierry, begins rehearsal on Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. in PAC Room 235. The choir enables students to improve their playing skills as well as perform challenging, diverse and engaging literature, according to Thierry. 

There are no auditions to join the group, but students must have some experience playing the flute to join. 

“Rehearsals are very relaxed, and through the process of making music and students working together, tremendous camaraderie develops,” Thierry said. 

Students interested in joining the flute choir should contact Thierry at for more information. 

Chris Ritter is the director of the saxophone and clarinet choirs, which are both woodwind ensembles. The saxophone choir meets at 6:30–7:45 p.m. in PAC Room 225 on Wednesdays, while the clarinet choir meets afterward from 8–9:15 p.m.

Ritter welcomes all to the first rehearsals Wednesday as well as dedicated students who play a secondary instrument. He also encourages those who do not have instruments to not be discouraged, as the university loans instruments out to students. 

“I strongly encourage all woodwind players at Ship to join our groups; even SUMB members,” Ritter said. “Our schedule does not interfere with marching rehearsals and provides a classical, chamber literature compliment to the top-notch marching experience that many students enjoy.

“All of our small ensemble offerings (flute, clarinet, saxophone, brass, strings) are important to the growth of independent musicianship,” he said. “These groups are directed by specialists that help improve instrument-specific techniques and expose musicians to a wide range of literature. Our small ensemble students are often better prepared for concert band, wind ensemble, jazz ensemble, and orchestra.”

The saxophone and clarinet choirs will perform together with the flute choir on Sunday, Nov. 11, at 3 p.m. in the Old Main Chapel.

The SU Community Orchestra and string ensemble are directed by Mark Hartman. Hartman would like interested students to contact him at so that he can arrange a time to hear them play. 

“All string players will be accepted and the audition is simply so I can ascertain where each student will be the most comfortable,” Hartman said in reference to placement in the orchestra or string ensemble. 

The string ensemble rehearses on Tuesdays from 6:30–9:15 p.m. in the PAC, while the orchestra rehearses from 7–9:15 p.m. on Thursdays. 

The string ensemble concert will be on Sunday, Nov. 4, at 3 p.m. in Old Main Chapel. The orchestra will have its concert in the Luhrs Performing Arts Center on Sunday Nov. 18 at 3 p.m.

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