College of Charleston ensembles range in size from chamber music duos and trios to the 100-voice College of Charleston Gospel Choir and in scope from the intimacy of Charleston Pro Musica early music performances to fully-staged productions of the College of Charleston Opera. On-campus performances take place throughout the year, and many of the ensembles make regional as well as national and international tours.
The College of Charleston Concert Choir is one of the nation’s finest collegiate choral ensembles. Conducted by Dr. Robert Taylor, its membership represents a wide range of the student population at the College of Charleston. Over the past decade, the Concert Choir has been one of the most decorated collegiate choirs in the nation: appearing in national choral conventions three times, and regional conventions twice. The Concert Choir also regularly performs with the Charleston Symphony Orchestra, and the Hilton Head Symphony Orchestra, and has participated in performances of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, Brahm’s Ein Deutches Requiem, Bizet’s Carmen, and many others.
The College of Charleston Madrigal Singers is a 16-voice auditioned ensemble made up of students from the College of Charleston Concert Choir that specializes in chamber music ranging from the Renaissance to the present. Led by Dr. Robert Taylor, the Madrigal Singers are perhaps best known for their annual Yuletide Madrigal Feast in historic Randolph Hall. Their made-for-TV Yuletide Madrigal Feast special is aired annually on SCETV. The Madrigal Singers are also annually featured on the Early Music Series and the Young Artists at the College of Charleston Series in Charleston’s Piccolo Spoleto Festival. They have also frequently performed and toured with Steve Rosenberg and Charleston Pro Musica, and they function as the community outreach arm of the choral program, frequently performing for various civic functions and charitable organizations.
University Chorus is a non-auditioned choir. The choir has been created to expand the musical offerings to college students. The repertoire ranges from the Renaissance period to contemporary composers from around the world.
The College of Charleston Gospel Choir, comprised of 150 voices, has toured across the southeastern United States, the Virgin Islands, and portions of Europe. They are the National Collegiate Gospel Choir Southeast Award winners. The Choir is noted for their spellbound, spirited performances, along with serving as the opening act for gospel legends such as Kirk Franklin and Darius Brooks.
College of Charleston Opera
Opera workshop is offered by the Department of Music at the College of Charleston to music majors and non-majors. It is designed to develop the singer's awareness of his/her potential not only as a singer/actor, but also to introduce and acquaint the student to the various styles of opera. It also stresses the importance of working as an ensemble. In addition to regular bi-weekly class meetings, students are afforded private coaching in preparation of their roles or their ensemble music.
The Charleston Pro Musica is the early music ensemble based at the College of Charleston. This ensemble is comprised of students and faculty from the department. Each summer the Pro Musica takes part in a concert tour of France. The group is also resident ensemble at the Piccolo Spoleto Festival. Last year SCETV produced a film of the group's tour of Europe and released a CD of this concert.
The College of Charleston Pep Band is one of the Department's most visible outreaches to the community, performing for audiences of more than 3,000 people during home basketball games. The band is made up of students, both music majors and non-music majors, who are looking for a fun way to use the playing skills they developed in high school or on their own. The emphasis is on having fun and generating lots of excitement for the home team, and band members also receive a scholarship and college credit.
The Jazz Combos at the College of Charleston are the centerpiece of the jazz experience at the College. Unlike other institutions where the emphasis is on larger ensembles, the five jazz combos at the College, each with its own instructor, provide the student with a more individual and personal learning experience, with opportunities for players of all levels. These groups also perform outside of the College during many of the various music festivals held in Charleston throughout the year. Individualized instruction by some of the best players in the field, combined with plenty of performance opportunities make the jazz experience at the College a complete musical experience.
The College of Charleston Chamber Orchestra is a small orchestra consisting primarily of music students from the College. Some of the students in the orchestra are not music majors, but are experienced players who perform in the group in order to stay active as musicians.
Chamber Music Ensembles offer students a variety of combinations to perform the standard chamber literature, including string quartets, piano trios, duo sonatas. The ensembles are coached by members of the piano and string faculties.
The College of Charleston Flute Ensemble was formed in 1999 as a flute quintet and has grown to become a popular larger ensemble for flutists at the College. Made up of both music and non-music majors and of academic faculty, the ensemble fulfills its purpose of providing an educational environment in which flute students of all levels of ability can share ideas, repertoire and encouragement to grow individually in their playing abilities, to become more confident and to develop facility in the other instruments of the flute family.
The College of Charleston Wind Ensemble is an auditioned ensemble open to all students on campus. The group rehearses weekly and performs 2-3 times per year. Repertoire includes a wide variety of classic wind band literature.