Our premiere wind band is comprised of exceptional students including majors and non-majors alike. Repertoire is hand selected to highlight the strengths of the ensemble as well as challenge the musicality of the participants. Rehearsals are held on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays during the Spring semester of the Academic Year. Acceptance is through scheduled auditions, yet all are encouraged to apply.
Our secondary wind band included majors and non-majors as well. The group is open to accelerated high school students as well as enthusiastic community members. This group gives our Music Education majors an opportunity to develop their secondary instrument skills, gives high school students additional performance experiences, offers prolonged music making in community members, and contributes to the sense of citizenship in the Alliance community. Repertoire is hand selected to expand the musicianship of participating members. Rehearsals are held on Wednesday nights during the Spring semester of the Academic Year. There are no auditions, but previous music experience is required.
Purple Raider Marching Band
The Mount Union Purple Raider Marching Band is one of the most visible music groups on campus. Comprised of music majors, music minors, and students from every discipline on campus, the band performs at every home game during the football season. The band also performs as guests for high school band shows across Northeast Ohio and beyond. Matching the superior nature of the Mount Union football team, the Purple Raider Marching band performs a spirit-filled pregame show and exciting halftime show at every game. We also cheer on our team during the game with exciting music from the stands. For more information about the band, or to schedule a visit, please don’t hesitate to contact Jeff Neitzke, director of bands.
Raider Steel Band
The Raider Steel Band is one of many ensembles that sets us apart from other schools. Embracing the traditions of Trinidad and Tobago, the Raider Steel Band provides a World Music outlet for any student on campus. Whether you have been a part of a high school steel band, a community group, or have no steel pan experience, we have a place for you in the band. The Raider Steel Band performs a concert each semester, and also travels to locations on and off campus for special events and collaborations with other steel bands. For more information about the Raider Steel Band, or to schedule a visit, please don’t hesitate to contact Jeff Neitzke, director of bands.
A Brief History of the steel pan
The steel pan was invented in the early 20th century in Trinidad, the southern-most Caribbean island. In order to provide cheap labor for the sugar cane fields, colonizing governments brought West-African people to the island during the slave trade. The African people brought with them their culture, including their music. Once slavery was abolished in the late 1800’s, the ruling British government banned the use of drums because they feared an uprising. Not wanting to abandon their identity, the Trinidadian people turned to found objects such as stalks of bamboo, glass bottles, and tin cans to create their music. It was soon discovered that dents on the tin cans could create different pitches, so melodies started to emerge. After World War II, there was a surge of oil barrels on the island, and the use of dented pitches was transferred to these much larger and sturdier barrels. Thus, the steel pan was born.
The UMU Jazz Ensemble is an audition group that provides an opportunity for students to rehearse and perform typical jazz music, as well as get instructed on the art of improvisation. The unique “one to a part” nature of the jazz big band allows the members to experience a more intimate type of ensemble. The music performed will vary in style, including: swing, funk, rock, ballads, and Latin/Caribbean. The group meets once a week, and performs at least one concert each semester, paired with our jazz combo. It is open to all students by audition.
The Mount Union Jazz Combo is a small-scale group, consisting of a rhythm section and one or more melody voices. It is an opportunity for students to further explore improvisation, as well as small ensemble communication. In addition, students will learn to read from lead sheets, a skeleton representation of the music, which encourages students to arrange the music in creative ways. Open to all students, it provides a great entry point to the jazz band, as well as a way for seasoned players to hone their craft.
Lessons and Other Ensembles
There are several ways for students to continue their passion for instrumental music at the University of Mount Union, regardless of major. Any student may sign up for private lessons with one of our experienced applied music faculty. We also offer an array of small chamber ensembles that highlight the unique characteristics of the instrumental music family of instruments. These include:
- Flute Choir
- Clarinet Ensemble
- Saxophone Ensemble
- Woodwind Ensemble
- Trumpet Ensemble
- Trombone Ensemble
- Brass Ensemble
- Guitar Ensemble
- Percussion Ensemble
For more information on these ensembles, contact the University of Mount Union’s Department of Performing Arts at (330) 823-2180.