University of Regina ensemble options

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Is this the jazz band or saxophones and the other guys? Sarah Nakonechny

Get the scoop on campus choirs and bands this fall

Music is an art form that is very important for lots of people, especially those who have been trained in it. Musicians spend years of their lives learning their instruments and working on their craft. For musicians, there are opportunities at the University of Regina (U of R) for them to continue playing their instruments, whether they are in the music program or not. 

The U of R offers concert band, wind ensemble, university orchestra, jazz band, new music ensemble, and saxophone ensemble for those who play corresponding instruments, and concert choir and chamber singers for vocalists. All require auditions except for concert choir, concert band, and the saxophone ensemble. 

I was a member of the concert choir in fall 2021. As an education student not involved in any music programs, I was still able to be a part of the choir. I did choir in high school, but it was a very small choir. The concert choir at the U of R was much bigger. It was fun to be able to perform with such talented singers and in such a large group. I was unable to continue in choir past fall 2021 because of other time commitments, but it was a great experience and I encourage any singers to take part. 

When it came to auditioning for concert choir, it wasn’t really an audition, it was a placement test to see which section you would be a part of. It was still nerve-wracking to pick a song to sing and which part of the song. What you choose to sing for your placement test can change what range you thought you were a part of, or land you somewhere you didn’t expect to be. I’m a tenor, but I sang a soprano song because I had never sung tenor in a choir before and was nervous. Choosing the soprano song got me placed as a soprano. 

Signing up for concert choir was relatively easy. The U of R’s choral activities Facebook page posts frequently in the lead-up to the beginning of the choir season. They will post a link to the Google form for you to fill out to sign up while also having all the other relevant information. Concert choir singers can choose whatever song they want for their placement while chamber singers have a set song they audition with that is stated as a part of the form. 

I was able to speak with a member of both the concert choir and chamber singers about her time in choir and her audition preparation process. This fall will be her third year in the U of R choirs. When I asked why she enjoys choir, she said “I enjoy choir because it is my element. It’s the one stable thing I’ve had in my life since I was a child. It gives me such a good feeling; I don’t think I can quite find the words to describe it.” 

When preparing for auditions like the chamber singers set song, this student says she “prepare[s] for auditioning by using my sight singing textbook from first year ear training. It’s really helpful and I would recommend all music students use it!”

Both concert choir and chamber singers are helmed by Dr. Melissa Morgan, the Music Arts and Performance (MAP) Departments Assistant Professor of Choral Music. From my experience, Dr. Morgan is incredibly talented, incredibly passionate, and overall, a great conductor. 

If you’re a musician, try out one of U of R’s music ensembles. If you’re not a musician, go to one of their concerts. Supporting the arts is important and concerts are often free with a U of R student ID. 

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