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Jazz and Alternative Styles

Whether you wish to simply play in a jazz group or you seek a complete jazz education, those participating in jazz and contemporary music at Otterbein enjoy a wide array of ensembles and a full compliment of courses to support their interests. Jazz area ensembles are among the most visible in the music department, as each performs regularly at venues on and off campus.

Participation in ensembles and most courses are open to all Otterbein students regardless of major. More serious students may be interested in one of our Bachelor of Arts degrees with emphasis in Jazz Studies, Music Business or Audio Production. Whatever your level of interest, at Otterbein you can study with dedicated educators who are also accomplished professional musicians.

The Columbus area offers a very active and diverse live music scene from which students derive nearly endless opportunities to attend jazz and contemporary music performances. The abundance of music venues in the area often allows many of our students to book their own professional engagements as well.

The Jazz Ensemble

Director: Jay Miglia

The Jazz Ensemble is the flagship group of the instrumental jazz area. This group concentrates on big band compositions and arrangements from the past 70 years, with an emphasis on more current music and historically significant pieces. Instrumentation may vary, but holds closely to the typical big band coterie of around 20 musicians. The goals of this ensemble are to learn important repertoire and performance practice from stylistic innovators in the genre, develop one-on-a-part section blend, swing feel and ensemble precision, and increase improvisation skills.

Jazz Combos

Directors: Chris Berg and Karl Wohlwend

Jazz was first played in small combos and this kind of ensemble remains the crucible in which artists prepare themselves. The instrumentation of these groups is very flexible to allow maximum participation by any interested student. The goals of each combo are to learn tunes from the standard jazz canon and elsewhere, improve understanding of form and chord-scale reading, build improvisation skills and a precise, unified ensemble sound. Otterbein usually carries two jazz combos, both of which are free to explore diverse jazz styles and adapt any music into their format.

Jazz Guitar Ensemble

Director: Chris Berg

The Guitar Ensemble explores the art of the small guitar ensemble in a contemporary jazz and multi-idiom context including part-reading, jazz phrasing, accompaniment, arranging/composition, and improvisation. Prior experience with the guitar and some note reading ability are required. A recent smaple of repertoire includes compositions by Sting, Frank Zappa, Freddie Hubbard, Dizzy Gillespie, and various jazz standards.

The Anticipations

Director: Karl Wohlwend

The Anticipations was created as an outlet for Otterbein students who are interested in popular music. Over the course of each year, the group cover a variety of styles and many opportunities for students to get involved at their comfort level, or stretch beyond it if they choose. Members can opt to step out front as the lead singer, take a supportive role with simple keyboard or percussion parts, or take a technical role. It all comes together to provide a great experience in an actual working band. The group performs at least once each semester and produces a CD each year in conjunction with our Audio Production students. The Anticipations is open to any student currently enrolled at Otterbein University, regardless of major.

Opus One

Director: Dr. Gayle Walker

Opus One is a 16-voice jazz ensemble that performs a wide variety of music, including unaccompanied multi-part pieces. Opus One has a busy performance schedule, and is one of the featured ensembles each February for "Music and Romance," a performance in an off-campus venue that also serves as a fundraiser for student touring.

/ Department of Music

Dennis Davenport
Battelle Fine Arts Center
p/ 614.823.3138
e/ ddavenport@otterbein.edu

Nicholas Ross
Associate Chair
Battelle Fine Arts Center
p/ 614.823.1020
e/ nross@otterbein.edu

Conni Birri

Operations Manager
Battelle Fine Arts Center
p/ 614.823.1508
e/ cbirri@otterbein.edu

Claire Brock
Program Manager
Battelle Fine Arts Center
p/ 614.823.1504
e/ cbrock@otterbein.edu

Jennifer Markovich
Arts Counselor
102 W. College Ave, Westerville
p/ 614.823.1219 or
e/ jmarkovich@otterbein.edu

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Otterbein University is a Corporate Partner of the Ohio MEA.