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h > ACADEMICS & DEGREE PROGRAMS > Academic Departments & Programs > Art, Music & Theatre > Music & Music Education > About our Music Program > Ensembles

Music & Music Ed: Ensembles

AMT student music ensembles provide critical educational and outreach services to Armstrong students and to our community.

Armstrong students realize the opportunity to rehearse and perform with peers, providing creative outlets for musically inclined individuals and contributing to each student's well-rounded development of thinking, learning, communication, social, and performance training skills. Primarily featuring music majors, all AMT music ensembles welcome Armstrong students from any degree program.

As an additional bonus, the public concert performance of each ensemble gives Armstrong students, the Armstrong community, and Savannah art enthusiasts tremendous accessibility to quality, live-stage performances right here on our beautiful campus.

Armstrong University Chorale

The University Chorale is one of two performing vocal ensembles at Armstrong State University. The Chorale is comprised of 50-70 singers representative of the diverse number of majors at the university and open to any student at Armstrong without audition.

In recent years, University Chorale repertoire has included such works as Gloria by John Rutter, Magnificat (BWV 243) by J.S. Bach, Requiem by G. Faure, both Missa Brevis and Requiem by W.A. Mozart, and Five Mystical Songs by R. Vaughan Williams, performed with the former Savannah Symphony. They have also toured in Alabama, Tennessee, Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina. The University Chorale is under the direction of Dr. Robert Harris.

For more information or how to join contact:

Dr. Robert Harris
Office: Fine Arts Hall 122
robert.harris@armstrong.edu
912.344.2935

Armstrong University Singers

The University Singers chamber ensemble is a select group of 16-20 musicians chosen by audition. Recent repertoire for this ensemble includes Christ lag in Todesbanden (BWV 4) and Weinachtsoratorium (BWV 248) by J.S. Bach, and the Mid-Winter Songs by Morten Lauridsen. In the past the ensemble has performed for the Georgia Music Educators Conference, and has twice made concert tours of Europe. In Spring 2001, the choir debuted at Carnegie Hall in New York City.

The ensemble is under the direction of Robert Harris, D.M.A., director of choral activities.

For more information or how to join contact:

Dr. Robert Harris
Office: Fine Arts Hall 122
robert.harris@armstrong.edu
912.344.2935

Wind Ensemble

The Armstrong Wind Ensemble is the premier instrumental performing ensemble on the campus and is quickly establishing a reputation for exceptional performances of traditional and contemporary wind literature. Membership is by audition and open to any student attending the university. This group is an ideal vehicle for the serious instrumental musician. Together with annual concert tours, the Wind Ensemble performs an average of four to five concerts a year in the beautiful 1,000-seat Fine Arts Auditorium.

The Band Program is also host to the annual WinterFest Honor Band Festival in December and is host for all GMEA District Festivals and Clinics. The ensemble performs the finest in new and standard wind band repertoire and serves as a pedagogical lab ensemble for Armstrong's music education majors. The wind ensemble is under the direction of Mark B. Johnson.

For more information or how to join contact:

Mr. Mark Johnson
Office: Fine Arts Hall 124
mark.johnson@armstrong.edu
912.344.2682

Percussion Ensemble

This small ensemble is made up of percussion majors, percussion minors, and other students from Armstrong State University. The ensemble performs music written and arranged specifically for percussion instruments. They perform two concerts a year in the Fine Arts auditorium. The group is directed by Dr. Stephen Primatic.

For more information or how to join contact:

Dr. Stephen Primatic
Office: Fine Arts Hall 108
stephen.primatic@armstrong.edu
912.344.2826

Jazz Ensemble

The Armstrong Jazz Ensemble is recognized for its performance of a wide range of jazz repertoire, and has featured a variety of national and regional guest artists. In addition, such notable performers as Marcus Roberts, Bob Berg, the Count Basie Orchestra, Maynard Ferguson, The Airmen of Note and the Army Jazz Ambassadors appear on campus. Savannah, home to the Savannah Jazz Festival and the Savannah Music Festival, offers many professional performing opportunities for qualified students. The Jazz Ensemble presents several formal concerts each year in the Armstrong Auditorium, and additional informal performances around the coastal region. Membership is open to all university students.

The Jazz Ensemble is directed by Dr. Randall Reese.

For more information or how to join contact:

Dr. Randall Reese
Office: Fine Arts Hall 128
randall.reese@armstrong.edu
912.344.2832

Jazz Combo

One or more Jazz Combos are offered each semester, providing students the opportunity to develop the collaborative and improvisational skills required for small group playing. Instrumentation and repertoire varies each semester. Dr. Randall Reese directs the Jazz Combos.

For more information or how to join contact:

Dr. Randall Reese
Office: Fine Arts Hall 128
randall.reese@armstrong.edu
912.344.2832

Savannah Winds

The Savannah Winds is a community wind symphony serving the Coastal Empire and is comprised of musicians from the greater Savannah area. The organization is presented by Armstrong State University's Department of Art, Music & Theatre. The role of the ensemble is to enhance the cultural climate and appreciation of music in the Coastal Empire by performing public concerts at a high artistic level, to provide a nurturing musical environment to talented young musicians in the company of mature and accomplished musicians, and to identify and support scholarship recipients for advanced musical training at Armstrong State University.

Formal concerts are held at Armstrong State University several times a year, including the annual “Ed and Friends” Pops Concert and the ever popular Patriotic Concert held on or around the fourth of July. In addition, Savannah Winds performs at venues outside Armstrong within the Coastal Empire. While Mark Johnson is the principal conductor, the band also uses guest conductors and offers the opportunity for students to hone their conducting skills.

For more information or how to join contact:

Mr. Mark B. Johnson
Office: Fine Arts Hall 124
mark.johnson@armstrong.edu
912.344.2682

Armstrong Youth Orchestra

The GOAL of the Armstrong Youth Orchestra Program is to offer serious music students the opportunity to play in an accomplished orchestra while developing their musical skills. We strive to teach them constructive study, rehearsal, and performance habits in a joyful, rewarding, and cooperative atmosphere.

All of our students gain the valuable experience of working with Savannah's best professional orchestra musicians and teachers. Professional orchestra string and wind instructors provide several weeks of sectional rehearsals where each instrumental group receives specialized instruction.

The Armstrong Youth Orchestra (AYO)

This is the most advanced ensemble and is a full-scale symphonic orchestra for which Armstrong music students may participate for course credit. Many members in this group come from the Savannah-Chatham County High Schools, as well as neighboring counties. This orchestra has the opportunity to flourish under the direction of one of the most respected conductors in the tri-state area, Neil Casey. Maestro Casey is the assistant conductor of the Augusta Symphony and also on the conducting staff at the University of South Carolina. He was the first conductor of the Greater Augusta Youth Orchestra and has worked with many student and professional orchestras throughout the southeast.

Atlantic Chamber Orchestra (ACO)

This is the intermediate-level ensemble and is a full symphonic orchestra (strings plus all woodwinds, brass, and percussion), and what Armstrong believes to be the only full orchestral ensemble at this age level in the state. Emily Calhoun, Orchestra Director at Savannah Arts Academy, and Lorraine Jones, flute instructor at Armstrong and Executive Director of the AYO program, are the co-directors of the ACO.

Debut Strings and the Lyric Strings Ensembles (DSE and LSE I, II)

These are our beginning-level string orchestra groups that introduce many young musicians to the world of ensemble playing, particularly for those students whose school does not maintain an orchestra.

Debut Strings is for the beginning string student. Rehearsals will cover note reading, identifying rhythms, and playing simple orchestra pieces together as an orchestra.

Lyric Strings I is for beginning string students who already read notes and rhythms and who are ready for the full string orchestra experience. The pieces that LSE I practice are in first position.

Lyric Strings II is for the string student that is able to handle more intricate rhythms and notes. Lyric Strings II is meant to challenge the string student who wants to move on to playing with a full symphony orchestra. Some shifting to third position may be required and the music that this group plays will definitely need to be practiced at home and worked on with a private teacher.