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Academics

String Ensembles

The String Orchestra

The String Orchestra is the principal performing ensemble for string players at Otterbein University. In addition to the string majors, the ensemble includes many students from across campus. This ensemble provides students the opportunity to explore the standard string orchestra repertoire, but programming includes many styles. Recent performances have included jazz and fiddle styles, Baroque performance practice and outstanding works from the 20th and 21st centuries. The string orchestra performs at least once each term and is directed by Dr. Jim Bates.

The Westerville Symphony

The Westerville Symphony at Otterbein University offers students a symphonic orchestral performing experience. In this unique ensemble students perform alonside professional and semi-professional players from the region. The Westerville Symphony presents a Masterworks series, featuring the core classical and romantic orchestral repertoire, as well as Young Peoples Concerts and Pops programs. All string majors participate in this ensemble, and wind, brass and percussion students also have the opportunity to participate. The Westerville Symphony is directed by Peter Stafford Wilson.

Chamber Music

Chamber music is a vital part of the musical development of string players and all string majors and many non-majors participate in Chamber Music each quarter. Students typically perform the masterworks of the string quartet literature, but also perform string quintet and piano/string chamber literature. Student chamber ensembles meet twice each week. The weekly coaching by a member of the string faculty is reinforced through a self-directed rehearsal. The chamber ensembles perform publicly at least once each term. Chamber Music is coached by the Otterbein University string faculty and directed by Dr. Jim Bates.

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 Jazz Ensemble
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. The Jazz Ensemble is directed by Jay Miglia.

Jazz Combos
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 Combos are directed by Chris Berg and Karl Wohlwend.

Jazz Guitar Ensemble
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 Guitar Ensemble is directed by Chris Berg.

The Anticipations
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 quarter 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. The Anticipations is directed by Eric Van Wagner.

Opus One
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. Opus One is directed by Dr. Gayle Walker.

Early Music Ensemble

This ensemble provides students the opportunity to perform music composed during the Medieval, Renaissance and early Baroque periods. Students interested in this performing experience perform using period instruments, such as the recorder, krumhorn and lute, and utilize techniques based on Historically Informed Performance (HIP). String players utilize baroque bows to create performances inspired by authentic practices. The Early Music Ensemble performs each quarter and frequently collaborates with other student ensembles and faculty performers. The Early Music Ensemble is directed by Dr. Jim Bates.

Musical Theatre and Opera Pit Orchestras

Musical Theatre is an exciting part of the Otterbein culture. Each year Opera Theatre and Musical Theatere present productions utilizing student musicians in the theater pit. The range of styles runs from Mozart to rock and jazz depending on the production. This performance opportunity prepares players to meet the demands encountered by contemporary music professionals. The pit orchestras are directed by Dennis Davenport and Jim Bates.

/ Department of Music

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

Elizabeth Doyle
Arts Counselor
102 W. College Ave, Westerville
p/ 614.823.1219 or
1.800.488.8144
e/ edoyle@otterbein.edu

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