CU-Mansfield Music Ensembles

Arts, Culture and Performance

Mansfield has a rich tradition of the performing and visual arts. The Music Department produces dozens of recitals and concerts every year. Some of our most popular events are out annual PRISM concert, our annual holiday concert, our opera production every fall, our musical production every spring and our major choral works concert every April.

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Music Ensembles

All ensembles are open to all Commonwealth University-Mansfield students regardless of major area of study or class standing. Auditions for select ensembles are held during the first days of class each semester. Click the menus below to learn more about these outstanding ensembles!

Concert Wind Ensemble 

Concert Wind Ensemble is a select group of approximately 48 woodwind, brass, and percussion players who perform the most outstanding wind-band literature under the direction of Director of Bands, Dr. Adam F. Brennan. One of the oldest wind ensemble's in the country, the MU Concert Wind Ensemble performs four to five times annually on and off campus. Each year in the Fall semester the ensemble tours over a three day period and also performs at regional conventions and special events. In addition, the Concert Wind Ensemble records and produces a compact disc of select literature each year. Students interested in this ensemble should contact Dr. Adam F. Brennan at the start of each semester via e-mail at

Jazz Ensemble

The Jazz Ensemble is a select group of 16-18 students. This award winning band appears at major festivals, conferences and conventions. In addition, they make annual tours throughout the region. The Jazz Ensemble also hosts the annual MU Jazz Festival, as well as having other guest soloists perform with the band.

The Brass Band

The Brass Band, made up of 27-29 musicians, performs everything from polkas and marches to more contemporary, advanced selections on traditional British brass band instruments - cornets/flugelhorn, alto horns, baritones, euphoniums, trombones, E-flat & B-flat tubas, and percussion. The MUBB also places a focus on performing historical American brass band repertoire from the late 19th century. This ensemble provides students an excellent opportunity to perform on brass band instruments, as well as the valuable experience of performing a genre of literature that would otherwise be unavailable. Membership is open to all MU students by audition

Symphonic Band

The Symphonic Band is under the direction of Dr. Nathan Rinnert, Assistant Director of Bands. This ensemble meets in the Spring semester and is open to all interested students. This 75+ member ensemble performs standard literature for symphonic bands. Auditions are held at the beginning of the semester to determine seating and part assignments. The Symphonic Band is involved in two to three concerts each Spring. Up to six undergraduate and graduate students are chosen by audition to rehearse and conduct the Symphonic Band in preparation for this concert.

Marching Band

The Spirit & The Pride of Pennsylvania! CU-Mansfield Marching Band is under the direction of Dr. Adam F. Brennan, Director of Bands and Dr. Nathan Rinnert, Assistant Director of Bands. The Spirit & The Pride consists of approximately 100 brass, wind, percussion and auxiliary members. Membership is open to all interested undergraduate and graduate students and auditions are for seating purposes only. Any student who wishes to be part of the band will be accepted. All we ask that all members maintain a positive attitude and desire to be a contributor to the group and understand that we will seat you wherever your skill set is best suited for your success and the success of the group.

All music is written specifically for The Spirit & The Pride by Director of Bands Dr. Adam F. Brennan, and all drill is written by Assistant Director of Bands Dr. Nathan Rinnert. All band members attend a band camp prior to the start of school. Members who reside on campus are able to access their residence hall housing.

Students interested in this ensemble should contact Dr. Adam F. Brennan at the start of each semester via e-mail at Be sure to visit the music department Student Resources Website and complete the band registration form.

Concert Choir

Concert Choir of is the premier touring ensemble of the university presenting some of the finest talent from the American Northeast. While the majority of the singers are undergraduate music majors, membership is open to all students at the university through an audition process. Under the direction of Peggy Dettwiler, the group has achieved an impressive reputation of excellence, having been chosen for more than twenty years to perform at conventions or festivals around the world including numerous conventions of the American Choral Directors Association, the National Collegiate Choral Organization, and the National Association for Music Educators. 

 Festival Chorus

The Festival Chorus is a mixed chorus of about 75 voices, which is open to all university students as well as community singers. The group rehearses three hours a week and performs a wide variety of choral styles in the fall semester and major choral works during the spring semester. Members of the group also join with the Concert Choir to form separate women's and men's choruses in the fall semester. The Festival Chorus has produced numerous CDs and cassette recordings. Students must vocalize for placement into the soprano, alto, tenor, or bass sections.

The Mansfieldians

A highly select ensemble of 8 to 12 singers, which specializes in vocal jazz. The Mansfieldians tour with the CU-Mansfield Jazz Ensemble each year and perform on and off-campus. In 2008, the Mansfieldians won the Championship in the Vocal Jazz Category at the World Choir Games in Graz, Austria. The group rehearses three hours a week and makes frequent guest appearances on behalf of the university. An audition is required for membership.

Symphony Orchestra

The Symphony Orchestra - Dr. Jeffrey Jacobsen, Artistic Director and Conductor - is one of the premier performing ensembles at Mansfield. The ensemble, open to anyone with previous advanced orchestral experience, is comprised of students from the music department and other departments throughout the university as well as community members. An audition process at the beginning of each semester is used to place musicians in appropriate seats within the orchestra.

String Project @ Mansfield University

The String Project @ Mansfield University was created in 2010 by Dr. Jeffrey Jacobsen. The purpose of the String Project is to give community members an opportunity to learn to play string instruments (violin, viola, and cello) while giving music majors studying string education an opportunity to learn to teach under the supervision of an experienced educator; Dr. Jacobsen serves as the Master Teacher for the experience. 

The String Project @ Mansfield University currently has nearly 20 students of all ages and utilizes the talents of as many as 8 CU-Mansfield students as instructors and mentors. Group lessons are held on Saturday mornings and individual lessons are by arrangement with the student instructors. The String Project is sponsored by the university and costs are kept to a minimum, typically running $60 per semester for the group experience. Each semester the String Project holds a recital featuring the community students accompanied by the student instructors.

Audition Essentials

Audition dates for 2024-2025 are:

  • October 14
  • January 25
  • February 17
  • March 8

Other days/times, by appointment, 570-662-4710 or 

More information to come!

Register for an audition here

We are delighted that you may be interested in auditioning for our music programs at Commonwealth University-Mansfield. Our undergraduate enrollment is approximately 125 students, with a freshmen class of about 40 students. Admission to our music degree programs is highly competitive, therefore it is essential that you be well prepared for your audition. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact us at (570) 662-4710 or email the Music Department Chair, Dr. Nathan Rinnert, at

In addition to successful completion of an audition, prospective music majors must apply to CU-Mansfield through the Admissions Office. Acceptance at CU-Mansfield is granted on a modified rolling admission plan. Early application is recommended for maximum enrollment opportunity. Register for an audition.

Students wishing to minor in music or participate in ensembles may also audition for possible scholarships.

Those seeking acceptance into music major degree programs do have the option of performing video or Zoom auditions. Register for an audition and a representative will make contact to coordinate.

Auditions include the following components:

  • Principal Instrument/Voice
  • Piano Placement Examination
  • Music Theory Examination
  • Aural Skills Evaluation

Principal Performing Area - Instrumental

Prepare two or three pieces in contrasting style that best show your technical and musical potential. Performing from memory is recommended, but only required for piano performance majors. Scales, arpeggios, and sight reading are requested at the audition in all studios. Percussionists should prepare in three areas, including snare drum or multi-percussion, mallet percussion, and timpani. Drum set is not required, but may be heard if time allows. Accompanists are not needed for instrumental auditions. Please note that audition expectations are higher for performance majors than for the other non-performance degree programs. Students are accepted at CU-Mansfield in the following performing areas: piano, violin, viola, violoncello, bass, guitar, flute, oboe, bassoon, clarinet, saxophone, trumpet or cornet, french horn, trombone, baritone or euphonium, tuba, and percussion.

Principal Performing Area - Voice

Prepare two pieces in contrasting style that best demonstrate your musical and technical potential. Vocalists may bring an accompanist, but this is not required as our staff will gladly serve as your accompanist. Vocalists are encouraged to sing one song in a foreign language (required of performance majors). NOTE: Vocal performance majors are required to sing three songs from memory, in at least two languages, and the overall expectations of the audition are quite high.

Principal Performing Area - Guitar

Prospective guitar students should prepare two contrasting selections and must audition on a classical (nylon) string guitar.

Piano Placement Examination

Prospective students with one or more years of recent piano study are encouraged to take the piano placement exam. Please be prepared to perform a piano piece that demonstrates your level of skill. Also be prepared to play scales, arpeggios, cadences, and sight read an easy selection.

Music Theory Examination

This diagnostic test helps us determine your music theory background and aids in your placement in theory courses. It includes the following components:

  • Key signatures
  • Intervals, chords, and scales
  • Simple Roman numeral analysis
  • Recognition of rhythmic patterns and time signatures
  • Ability to write a simple melody from memory

Aural Skills Evaluation

Prospective students will be evaluated for aural skills (ear training) aptitude. In addition, students will be asked to sing a simple folk song, carol, hymn, or patriotic song to demonstration effective vocal intonation.

Letter of Recommendation

The music department suggests that all applicants have a minimum of two letters of recommendation. Recommendations may also be brought to the audition in sealed envelopes with the author's signature across the seal.

CU-Mansfield Music Department - Attn. Audition Committee
Butler Music Center
18 Campus View Drive
Commonwealth University-Mansfield
Mansfield PA 16933

Register for an audition here

CU-Mansfield's Music Department welcomes transfer applications for students interested in any of our degree programs. You must be accepted by both the university and the music department to gain admission to any music program. Be aware that 50% of your major requirements must come from CU-Mansfield in order to graduate with a degree from CU-Mansfield.

Undergraduate general education credits will be evaluated by the University Transfer Office in Admissions. Music transfer courses are evaluated by the chair of the music department at both the undergraduate and graduate level. At the graduate level, only 6 graduate credits may be accepted in transfer.

All transfer credits in music must have earned a grade of C or better and come from an accredited NASM institution. Transfer credits in studio lessons will be awarded based on the level of performance demonstrated at the audition. Some music courses may be accepted in degree areas, elective areas, or they may not be accepted at all.

We recommend all transfer students apply to CU-Mansfield prior to their music audition and send transcripts to both the music department and the university for evaluation in advance of their live audition.

All other aspects of the audition are the same for transfer students. Please refer to audition requirements for further information.

Primary Instrument/Voice
Students are admitted to the Department of Music with the understanding that they will be given private studio instruction on one principal performance medium. While many students may have ability on more than one instrument, it is imperative that they develop excellence on one primary medium. It is our strongest recommendation that students audition on just one instrument, placing their best effort into one area where their passion is best exemplified.

Recorded Auditions
When distance prohibits a live audition, a recorded audition is acceptable. In this situation, the recording must be unedited and include a minimum of two works of contrasting style and several examples of major and minor scales. Students must complete the sight reading, music theory, and aural skills portions of the audition process via Zoom and correspondence with the music department office. For additional information contact the Music Department chairperson.

Personal Interview
If you wish to speak with the department chairperson or a designee at the audition please request this before the audition and we will schedule this for you. Although considerable information will be shared at the general department meeting and with the auditioning faculty, we are happy to speak with you personally should the need arise.

Audition Results Notification
Prospective students who audition in November or December will be notified concerning their audition status by January 31. Students who audition in January, February, or March will be notified of their audition status by March 31. Any student who auditions after March 31 will be contacted within 2 weeks of their audition. Official notice concerning the status of the application will also be sent to the Admissions Office.

Rolling Admissions Policy
Rolling admissions is a term used to indicate that new student enrollment is based largely upon seating availability. Essentially, we have a limited capacity in our various music programs. The limits are by studio, as well as degree. As students complete or leave our program, they create an open seat. Each year we anticipate student graduation and plan for the total number of students we can accept for the following year. We target enrollment for every studio.

Illustration of Mountain

Leadership and Support

David Tedford

David Tedford

  • Chair of the Department of Music, Theatre and Dance / Assistant Professor
  • Bloomsburg
Nathan Rinnert

Nathan Rinnert

  • Music Education Coordinator - Mansfield, Professor
  • Mansfield

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