Music, Theatre and Dance

Contact Information

At Commonwealth University, the campuses of Mansfield, Bloomsburg and Lock Haven have a rich tradition of nurturing talented and skilled artists and teachers. Whether you are interested in a career on the stage, in the classroom or in a recording studio, our department educates, develops, and equips students for exciting and rewarding careers and offers endless opportunities to foster your artistic spirit.

Department Information

The Department of Music, Theatre, and Dance is part of the College of Arts, Humanities, Education, and Social Sciences

Majors

UNDERGRADUATE

Minors

Follow your degree roadmap with Degree Works, our easy-to-use degree audit tool that allows students to track how they are progressing through their academic journey. Students should also follow their program's degree map which outlines a path through their enrolled academic program.

Faculty and Staff

Leadership & Support

Faculty

BLOOMSBURG CAMPUS
LOCK HAVEN CAMPUS
MANSFIELD CAMPUS

Leadership & Support

Faculty

BLOOMSBURG CAMPUS

Music Program Auditions

Passionate and talented musicians are invited to audition for a place in our esteemed music programs.

We are excited to hear from talented musicians like you! Auditions are a vital part of our application process for incoming music students. A successful audition showcases your musical skills and helps us determine your fit within our vibrant music community.

Learn more about Music Program Auditions

Student Resources

At Commonwealth University, we offer a range of academic support services to help you succeed. From tutoring and writing centers to workshops and advisors, we're here to empower your academic journey.

Career planning can help you explore interests, discover strengths, and craft a roadmap to academic and career success. Our services assist students with gaining real-world experience through internships, volunteer work, and networking events to help you turn your dream job into reality!

Student Theatre Ensemble

Honor Societies

Ensembles

Instrumental Ensembles

Community Orchestra

Under the direction of Dr. David Tedford, The Symphony Orchestra is open to anyone with previous orchestral experience, and includes students, faculty, staff, and area musicians. An audition at the beginning of the semester is used to place musicians in appropriate seats within the orchestra.

Performances are held on the Bloomsburg campus each semester. The repertoire ranges is quite extensive and ranges from classical to popular and represents some of the finest orchestral compositions from all major musical periods, including numerous world premieres! Performances include classical Fall and Spring concerts, educational concerts for area school children, and the annual Aria-Concerto Competition Concert. The repertoire selected is designed to prepare each member of the orchestra for future opportunities in the orchestral field, as well as to create an enjoyable experience for the ensemble members and the audience members.

Select notable repertoire of the past seasons has been Beethoven’s 5th Symphony, Dvorak’s Violin Concerto, Rachmaninoff’s 2nd Piano Concerto, Brahms’ Schicksalslied with Bloomsburg choirs, Jupiter from The Planets, Hanson’s 2nd Symphony "The Romantic", Mendelssohn’s 5th Symphony, Saint-Saens’ 2nd Piano Concerto, and premieres by Brandon Rolle - "Focus Breathing" and Ric Del Nero - "Strange and Charm."

For more information, please contact David Tedford at dtedford@commonwealthu.edu

Concert Band

Contact Dr. Stephen Clickard for more information on Concert Band.

Guitar Ensemble

Under the direction of Dr. Matthew Slotkin, the Bloomsburg Guitar Ensemble is one of our newest ensembles, providing advanced experiences in many styles and genres of literature written for guitar.

The ensemble performs a number of concerts and other appearances each semester. Auditions are required.

Jazz Ensemble

Under the direction of Dr. Stephen Clickard, The Jazz Ensemble is comprised of musicians utilizing the now standard instrumentation of five saxes, five trumpets, five trombones, and rhythm section.

The ensemble plays music which spans from the 1930s to the present from many of the great bands in jazz. It's emphasis is on the post-swing modern jazz era. This includes works from many of jazz's greatest composers.  The ensemble has performed with many of jazz’s greatest performers, including: Dave Liebman, The New York Voices, Hilton Ruiz, Dave Valentin and T.S. Monk.

The band has finished its first European Tour, which included performances at the legendary Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland and the Umbria Jazz Festival in Perugia, Italy.

The University Jazz Ensemble is an auditioned group. Auditions are held at the beginning of each semester.

Marching Band

Under the direction of Dr. Gifford Howarth, The Huskies Marching Band invites any student with previous instrumental band experience to be a member. We are a field-parade unit of instrumentalists, silk flags, and twirlers. Our selections include both contemporary, popular, and march favorites. We are active in the fall semester. A band camp is held prior to the beginning of the fall semester.

Percussion Ensemble

Under the direction of Dr. Gifford Howarth, the Bloomsburg Percussion Ensemble is one of our newest ensembles, providing advanced experiences in many styles and genre of percussion literature.

Wind Ensemble

Under the direction of Dr. Stephen Clickard, the Bloomsburg wind ensemble is our newest ensemble, providing advanced experiences in wind band repertoire. Auditions are required.

Vocal Ensembles

Chamber Singers

The Chamber Singers is a select vocal group of 16 members; the singers perform a variety of music suitable for a small ensemble.

In addition to standard repertoire, they prepare selections from other entertainment sources, such as musicals and popular song literature. The group performs for high schools, conventions, club meetings, television, radio, and campus concerts.

They have toured London, Scotland, Amsterdam, Brussels, Paris, and Japan.

Membership is determined by audition. Students participating must also carry a high academic average in addition to being outstanding singers and actors.

Questions? Give the music office a call at 570-389-4284!

Concert Choir

Under the direction of Dr. Alan Baker, the CU Bloomsburg Concert Choir is a mixed-voice ensemble of 40-50 voices. Auditioned annually from across the University's 63 undergraduate and 18 graduate degree programs, the Concert Choir performs a wide variety of repertoire, ranging from classical art music of all periods to folksongs, spirituals and gospel selections. The ensemble gives both mid- and end-of semester concerts, and provides, as well, performances for University, church, and community events across the academic year. The Concert Choir also collaborates regularly with both the NEPA Philharmonic and the Choral Society of Northeast Pennsylvania in larger choral/orchestral masterworks, including recent performances of Orff’s Carmina Burana, Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, and the Requiems of Brahms and Mozart.

Choir officers also plan a number of social events for members throughout the year, including an on-campus fall retreat, and the ensemble often travels at close of spring semester; recent tours destinations have included Chicago, Charleston SC, Toronto, Boston, and Quebec. The Concert Choir is accompanied by Harry Martenas, who is also recognized as one of the region's finest performers in both jazz and gospel styles.

Husky Singers

Under the direction of Dr. Alan Baker, the Husky Singers are the Bloomsburg male vocal ensemble. With a repertoire ranging from art music to doo-wop, barbershop, and pop-arrangements, the group’s performances also incorporate comic sketches and humor in the great American Glee Club tradition.  Big personalities are not only welcome, but showcased!

The Husky Singers are non-auditioned, meaning that if you simply have a love of male-choir singing, you are welcome to join. In addition to 3-4 campus concerts per year, the ensemble also provides performances for University, church, and community events across the academic year, regularly taking their act "on the road."

Women's Choral Ensemble

Under the direction of Dr. Amelia Garbisch, the Women's Choral Ensemble repertoire spans time and style from ancient to contemporary, popular to serious. 3-4 campus concerts are performed each year, as well as high school and community programs. A tour often highlights the spring activities. Membership is open to all female students.

Theatre Ensembles

BU Players

The Bloomsburg University Players is an organization dedicated to promoting interest in the dramatic arts and gives its members the opportunity to gain experience through participation in any or all aspects of theatre.

University Bands

Concert Wind Ensemble

The Mansfield 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 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. Most recently, the ensemble had two recordings deemed to be eligible for 2014 Grammy Nominations in seven categories. These included Malachi: A Celebration of a Special Life and Critical Speed: The Music of Greg Danner. Additional recordings by the ensemble include Ecstatic Vision, Concord, Music from the Endless Mountains, Strike Up the Bands, This Could be the Start of Something Big, Tenebrae (Dark Hours), Sun and Shade, and Resonance. Membership is not limited to music majors, but an audition is required. The ensemble is involved in commissioning and premiering works of fine composers such as Michael Colgrass, David Maslanka, David R. Gillingham, John Stevens, Mike Mowers, Carolyn Bremer, the ensemble's director- Adam F. Brennan, and others. Students interested in this ensemble should contact Dr. Adam F. Brennan at the start of each semester via e-mail at abrennan@mansfield.edu.

Mansfield Jazz Ensemble

The Mansfield 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 Mansfield Jazz Festival, as well as having other guest soloists perform with the band. The list of visiting jazz artists reads like a "Who's Who" in jazz and includes Wayne Bergeron, the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra, Tom Harrell, DIVA, Tim Hagans, Chris Potter, Denis DiBlasio, George Rabbai, Alan Broadbent, Phil Woods, Chris Vadala, Kenny Warner, the Airmen of Note, Ingrid Jensen, Bob Mintzer, Jiggs Whigham, Randy Brecker, Bill Watrous, Carl Allen, John Riley, DIVA, Ryan Kisor, Michael Davis, the Commodores, Jim Snidero, Clay Jenkins, Phil Woods and many, many others!

The Mansfield Brass Band

The Mansfield 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 Brass Band 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. The Brass Band joined the North American Brass Band Association in 2014, and participated in the North American Brass Band Championships for the first time in March, 2015, finishing second in the 3rd section.

The band rehearses only once per week and puts on a concert at the end of each semester. The Brass Band is regularly invited to perform at local community events. As well, the ensemble performs each year at the music department's "Prism" concert in the fall semester, serves as the ceremonial ensemble at December graduation exercises, and participates in the Mansfield Conducting Symposium each spring. Membership is open to all Mansfield 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. Perhaps most notable of the concerts by this group is the student conductor's competition concert held in mid February. Up to six undergraduate and graduate students are chosen by audition to rehearse and conduct the Symphonic Band in preparation for this concert.

The Spirit and the Pride of Pennsylvania Marching Band

The Spirit & The Pride of Pennsylvania! 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 abrennan@mansfield.edu. Be sure to visit the Music Department Student Resources Website and complete the band registration form.

Choral Ensembles

The Mansfield Concert Choir

The Mansfield Concert Choir of Mansfield, Pennsylvania, 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.

In 2012, the women of the Concert Choir provided the nuns' choruses for the "Sound of Music" Gala Concert in Carnegie Hall. On the international stage, the choir has won top prizes in international competitions including nine gold medals and four gold certificates. In 2014, they gave their debut performance in Carnegie Hall as a part of the Performing Arts Educators 8th-Annual Invitational and returned to this renowned stage in 2017 & 2019 for PAE performances. In April of 2018, the choir performed the choruses in Carnegie Hall's Gala Concert of Bernstein's Candide garnering a "superb" review in the New York Times. The Concert Choir has performed in eighteen countries during their eight European Tours, and the group has produced twenty-one CD recordings on the Mark Custom Recording Label. The singers are frequently praised for the emotional spectrum in their performances, their diverse vocal color, and their varied repertoire.

The Mansfield 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. Large scale performances with orchestra and professional soloists include Handel's Messiah, Vivaldi's Gloria, Orff 's Carmina Burana, Haydn's Creation and Mass in Time of War, Mendelssohn's Elijah, Vaughan Williams' Dona nobis pacem, Mozart's Mass in C Minor, Bach's Mass in B Minor, Honegger's King David, Jenkins' The Armed Man: A Mass of Peace, and the Requiems by Brahms, Fauré, Mozart, Rutter, and Verdi. The chorus has also presented Dan Forrest's Requiem for the Living, the High Lonesome Bluegrass Mass by Sharp and Ramsey, and Annelies by James Whitbourn.

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 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. The group is directed by Dr. Sheryl Monkelien.

The Chamber Singers

A highly select vocal ensemble of 12-20 voices established for the study and performance of repertoire from the vocal chamber idiom. Literature includes madrigals & motets from the 16th and 17th centuries, Bach cantatas, part-songs of the 18th and 19th centuries, and contemporary selections. The ensemble performs both on and off campus. An audition is required for membership. The group is directed by Dr. Peggy Dettwiler.

Orchestra and String Ensembles

Symphony Orchestra

The Mansfield Symphony Orchestra open to anyone with previous 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. Orchestra performances are held on the Mansfield campus each semester the MUSO repertoire list is quite extensive and represents some of the finest orchestral compositions from all major musical periods and many of the world's greatest composers. The literature selected is designed to prepare each member of the orchestra for further opportunities in the orchestral music field whether that be as a performer in a professional ensemble, as a leader in the classroom, or in anticipation of advanced study at the graduate level.

Opera & Musical Theatre

Mansfield has a rich history of high quality stage productions that are both educational and entertaining. The Music Department currently produces one full opera every fall and one full stage musical every spring.

Recent operas have included The Magic Flute, The Crucible, Die Fledermaus, The Tenderland and Pirates of Penzance. Recent musicals have included West Side Story, Chicago, Les Miserables, Kiss Me Kate and Phantom of the Opera.

Auditions are held the semester before each production and are open to all Mansfield students.  Prior stage experience is encouraged but is not required. There are also many opportunities to work back stage in the areas of set construction, lighting, sound, props and box office.

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Illustration of Mountain

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