Music Ensembles of the ABAC Music Program
The ABAC Concert Band provides students the opportunity to perform in a large ensemble setting. Open to both music majors and non-majors, the 90-plus member group is comprised students from a wide variety of disciplines at ABAC. The ensemble performs the best of new and standard wind literature, and various collegiate and high school directors regularly guest-conduct the group. In recent years, the growing popularity of the ensemble on campus has necessitated that the Concert Band hold two different concerts each semester to accommodate the demand for seats.
The ABAC Jazz Ensemble is composed of 17-20 musicians and selected by audition. The group has embarked on three European tours, performing at the Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland, the North Sea Jazz Festival in Rotterdam and the opening of the Tour de France in London. In the US, the group has performed for the opening of the Olympic Games, the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, the Cocoa Beach Jazz Festival and two World’s Fairs. Every year, the ensemble embarks on a regional tour, performing at high schools in the area and culminating in a performance at a major jazz festival such as the Lakeside Jazz Festival or the Pensacola Jazz Festival. The Jazz Ensemble also sponsors a yearly jazz festival featuring a well-known performing artist, often backed by the Abraham Baldwin Jazz Ensemble. Past festivals have showcased such jazz greats as Nat Adderley, Bobby Shew, Victor Goines, Bill Watrous and Kevin Mahogany, as well as the ensembles of Branford Marsalis, Steve Turre, Joe Lovano, Maynard Ferguson and Count Basie to name a few.
The ABAC Concert Choir, a group ranging from 70 to 80 singers, is ABAC’s largest and oldest choral organization, enjoying a reputation of excellence for more, than 40 years. The Concert Choir, open to all students who enjoy singing with a choir, performs a variety of choral literature from the “Messiah” to “Porgy and Bess” to more contemporary selections.
The ABAC Chamber Singers is a group of 35-45 singers, selected by audition, who perform acapella choral literature from the Renaissance period to more contemporary selections. Members are selected from within the concert choir and frequently perform for campus activities as well as other community functions. The ensemble performed with the ABAC Jazz Choir in the spring of 2008 at the Cathedral of St. Francis of Assisi, the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, and the World Trade Center Site in New York City. The ABAC Chamber Singers were also invited by Dr. Paul Neal to perform Faure’s Requiem with his choirs from VSU at Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Hall.
Under the direction of Dr. Susan Roe, the ABAC Jazz Choir is an audition-only group comprised of the top 15-20 vocalists from the ABAC Concert Choir. The group performs a variety of music from the earliest roots of jazz to pieces from present-day composers. Each year the Jazz Choir participates with the Jazz Ensemble in the ABAC Jazz Festival on campus. Regionally, the Jazz Choir has performed at the Epcot Center and the Pensacola Jazz Festival, among others. In January of 2011 the ABAC Jazz Choir was selected by audition to sing at St. Francis Cathedral in New York City. The ensemble has also performed at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine as well as the site of the former World Trade Center Towers. Each year, the ABAC Jazz Choir travels with the Jazz Ensemble to perform at the Lakeside Jazz Festival in Port Orange, Florida.
In addition to the large ensembles listed above, the Music Program also offers a variety of small ensemble performance opportunities including Jazz Combo, Woodwind Ensemble, Brass Quintet, Clarinet Trio, and “The Thundering Herd” Pep Band, among others.