The Department of Music at Minnesota State University, Mankato is a small but mighty force. Packed with 14 different ensembles, the department puts on one to two shows almost every week for the entire semester.
These ensembles represent a huge variety of styles, from the Community Orchestra to the three different jazz bands to the acapella group Maverick Vocal Precision. Every music student is in an ensemble and most are in two or three. They also take private lessons on their primary instruments to hone and perfect their skills.
Dr. Joseph Rogers, director of the Community Orchestra, transformed the University’s orchestra by adding community members, quadrupling the size and creating a unique way to experience orchestral music.
The jazz bands have a very different feel. Directed by David Schmalenberger, the Jazz Mavericks play everything from classic to contemporary jazz, and even some pop tunes. Vocalists also have many options. The University Choral Groups are three ensembles. The Concert Choir and Chamber Singers are directed by Dr. David Dickau while the University Choral is directed by Rodney Urtel.
For more contemporary vocalists, there are two acapella groups: Maverick Fusion and Maverick Vocal Precision, both directed by Dr. Stephanie Thorpe and Dr. Douglas Snapp.
“Maverick Vocal Precision and Maverick Fusion vocal ensembles feature a cappella stylings of vocal groups such as Pentatonix, Rockapella, and Backtrack,” says Performance Series director Dale Haefner in a press release.
There are many other incredibly talented ensembles in the department including the percussion ensemble, the wind ensemble, the concert band and the Maverick Machine Athletic Band. These groups work hard, rehearsing countless hours every week, to bring the joy of live music to the University. The concert season has already begun with the jazz bands playing Tuesday night. On Oct. 11, the Contemporary Vocal Groups will perform at 7:30 p.m. in the Halling Recital Hall in the Earley Center for Performing Arts. Following that, the University Community Orchestra will perform on Oct. 16, the Concert Band on Oct. 21 and there will be a songwriting showcase featuring singer-songwriters who are students at the University.
Tickets for University ensemble performances are $7 at the door for students and $9 for general admission. Discount tickets are available online for University students. Advance purchases are encouraged. Tickets can be bought at www.mnsu.edu/music.
For more information, call the Performance Series office, (507) 389-5549.