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Music ensembles

Augustana has vocal and instrumental ensemble for all students. These are not limited to music majors —all students are encouraged to participate.

Ensembles are considered an important part of a student’s liberal arts education. Therefore, most of the ensembles can be taken for credit and every ensemble strives to provide the students with a high level of performance quality and exposure to the great literature for instruments and voice.

Auditions for ensembles are held at the beginning of fall term.

Augustana Choir

This highly selective mixed ensemble performs a variety of music in major concerts, special events and on tour. The choir has released a number of recordings, and performed on the commercial and public radio and network television. The Augustana Choir requires a high level of musicianship and serious time commitment. Students from any academic field may audition.  The choir rehearses daily, and gives as many as 20 performances each year. Students in choir also participate in the Handel Oratorio Society. 

The Augustana Choir tours annually across the Midwest, the nation and internationally. In 2018, the choir is touring Spain, France and Sweden. See itinerary.

Contact: Dr. Jon Hurty, director
Phone: 309-794-7233

Chamber Singers

A select small ensemble that performs primarily a cappella chamber works for madrigals to vocal jazz. Performances include a traditional Lessons and Carols program in December and a concert in the spring as well as campus and community events throughout the year. Does not meet scholarship participation requirements. 

Contact: Dr. Jon Hurty, director
Phone: 309-794-7233

Concert Band

Conductor: Dr. Tony Oliver
T/Th 5:45-7 p.m.

This band provides concert band playing experience for all interested students, and can be a credit or non-credit course. The band rehearses twice weekly and presents a concert every term.

The Augustana Concert Band was formed more than 30 years ago and his presently the largest Augustana College music ensemble. Members come from all departments of the college and many students choose Concert Band as they are able to balance their course load with the rehearsal schedule. The band also provides an opportunity for students who play in the Symphonic Band, Orchestra, or sing in one of the choirs to perform on a second instrument and to conduct.

Auditions are held each fall for both Symphonic band and Concert Band in Room 26, Bergendoff Hall of Fine Arts. Sign-up sheets for instruments and times will be posted on the door of Room 26. Students will only have to play one audition for both bands.There will be winter and spring term auditions for students who are assigned to Symphonic Band as well as those wishing to re-audition.

Students should prepare 3-5 minutes of music that will demonstrate tone quality, different styles, and technical ability. Do not hesitate to play short excerpts in different styles. Above all, choose something that you know well and feel comfortable with, no matter the level of difficulty. 

Contact: Dr. Tony Oliver, director
Phone: 309-794-8966

Concert Chorale

A mixed ensemble that performs a variety of literature from all style periods. Students will gain an understanding and appreciation of choral music through study and performance of a varied repertoire of choral literature. The group primarily will sing in on-campus concerts. Meets scholarship participation requirement.

Contact: Sonja Hurty, conductor; 309-794-7804
M 4-5 p.m.; T/Th 4:30-5:30 p.m.

Handel Oratorio Society

Since the turn of the century the Society has performed Handel's "Messiah" each Christmas. The annual spring oratorio explores the riches of the choral orchestral literature. The musicians of the Handel Oratorio Society include Quad City community members, Augustana students, Augustana Choir, Handel Oratorio Society Chamber Orchestra and invited soloists. Any Augustana students may sing with the Oratorio Society.  "Messiah" rehearsals begin on the first Monday of October. Does not meet scholarship participation requirement. 

Contact: Dr. Jon Hurty, conductor
Phone: 309-794-7233


There are three scheduled concerts a year in Centennial Hall for the Big Band. Special jazz concerts featuring nationally and internationally known musicians also are presented.

Auditions are held each fall for Jazz Band and Combos. Interested students play one audition only for both groups There is one audition each year in fall term.

Students should prepare 3-5 minutes of music that will demonstrate ability to improvise and play different jazz styles (this could include blues, rhythm changes, or any jazz standard).  Be prepared to sight read and play scales and arpeggios. Above all, choose something that you know well and feel comfortable with, no matter the level of difficulty.  Rhythm section players should be prepared to demonstrate abilities in all styles (swing, Latin, funk, jazz, waltz, etc...).

Augustana Jazz Combos

Conductors: Joseph Ott and James Dreier
Wednesdays 7-8 p.m.

There are usually no less than two combos each term.  We have a "Jazz Soiree" the final week of each term, featuring all of the jazz combos.

Jazz Minor

Augustana offers a Jazz Minor. Required courses include Jazz History, Jazz Improvisation, Topics in Jazz Styles and Analysis, we well as Jazz Ensemble/Jazz Combo and applied lessons.

Contact: Joseph Ott, director of Jazz Bands
Phone: 309-794-7183

Jenny Lind

The Jenny Lind Vocal Ensemble is a select women’s ensemble for the singer who wishes to develop advanced skills. Performances include traditional concerts on campus each term along with a variety of campus and community activities.

Contact: Dr. Michael Zemek, director
Phone: 309-794-7656

Opera @ Augustana

Opera@Augustana provides opportunities for singers to explore some of the lighter operatic repertoire. Students who enjoy the combination of singing and acting are encouraged to audition early in the fall term. Students have the opportunity to take an active role behind the scenes as well as performing, by helping with set, costumes, lights, publicity and marketing and serving as assistants to the director.

Opera@Augustana auditions are held throughout the year for specific productions. Students are asked to perform an aria or song of their choice, usually from memory. An accompanist is provided. Sometimes simple choreography and/or reading of lines is included in the auditions, if the opera calls for it.  For more information, contact Dr. John Pfautz.

Opera@Augustana performs two or three times a year.

Dr. Michelle Crouch, director, 309-794-7239
Dr. John Pfautz, 309-794-7344

Pep Band

A fun-loving group of instrumentalists who show their school spirit by playing at football and basketball games. Open for anyone who wants to come have fun playing his or her instrument. 

Contact: James Lambrecht, Director of Bands
Phone: 309-794-7424

Percussion Ensemble

The Augustana Percussion Ensemble is a chamber group and performs music specifically written for the percussion ensemble from 1930 to the present, along with various transcriptions and arrangements of music never imagined for percussion.

Concerts present a diverse mix of musical styles — from light to serious to “out there” — and participants play traditional and non-traditional percussion instruments of all kinds.

The group serves as place of additional training for the percussionists in Augustana's large ensembles and as a percussive outlet to anyone on campus interested in percussion or percussion music.

The large percussion ensemble is open to any student without audition, and auditioned groups are selected from the larger group to play advanced literature as their desires or abilities allow. The large group rehearses an average of one hour per week and performs two major concerts per year.

The ensemble performs two large concerts on campus during the year, one in January, and one in April or May. In addition, it sometimes presents small outreach concerts to the community.

Director: Dr. Tony Oliver, assistant professor of music, 309-794-8966
Bergendoff Hall of Fine Arts, Room 14A
(Dr. Oliver's profile)


Augustana offers instruction in piano as either private, one-on-one lessons, or as a group in Class Piano. Students interested in piano should speak with the piano area coordinator, Dr. Mary Neil.

Private lessons are available for 1 credit (half-hour lessons weekly) or 2 credits (one hour lesson weekly) from all piano faculty members. Private lessons normally are reserved for students who already have piano skills. First-year students choosing private piano lessons should register for MULS-PN-100. They will then be assigned to a specific studio by the second day of classes.

Class piano instruction is designed for students with no prior piano instruction or with limited skills. The class, for up to 15 students in a group format, is taught by Dr. Robert Elfline, and is offered for 1 credit. Class Piano presents a range of introductory skills to students, with emphasis on keyboard competency for those in the Musicianship (MUSC-111) course sequence.  Students interested in Class Piano should register MUSC-102-01.

Many opportunities for student piano accompanists are available, from studio lessons to choirs. Accompanying may qualify for campus work-study compensation, or for an hourly wage through the music department. To audition, contact Dr. Mary Neil.

Contacts: Dr. Mary Neil, 309-794-7264; and Dr. Robert Elfline, 309-794-7523

Symphonic Band

Since its inception in 1874, the Augustana Symphonic Band has performed music of the highest artistic quality written for the wind band. Graduates may be found in the most prestigious professional and community ensembles as well as graduate programs. Membership in the Symphonic Band provides an opportunity for the most dedicated wind musicians to continue their musical growth in a challenging, yet supportive environment. 

Since the early 1880s, annual tours have taken the Symphonic Band into 32 states for appearances in a variety of settings, including Orchestra Hall in Chicago; Town Hall in New York City; Joslyn Art Museum, Omaha Nebraska; Crouse Auditorium on the Syracuse University Campus, New York; the Ford Theatre of the Honeywell Center, Wabash, Indiana; and numerous high schools, grade schools, and churches.

The annual concert tours typically alternate between regional and national itineraries. Outside the Midwest, the Symphonic Band tours on both coasts and internationally to the United Kingdom, Italy and most recently, Japan. In 2018, the Symphonic Band will tour southern California

The Symphonic Band rehearses three to five days per week and gives 20 performances. 

Auditions are held each fall for both Symphonic Band and Concert Band in Room 26, Bergendoff Fine Arts Building. Sign-up sheets for specific instruments and times will be posted on the door of Room 26.  Interested students will only have to play one audition for both bands. There will be winter and spring term auditions for students who are assigned to Symphonic Band as well as those wishing to re-audition. 

Students should prepare 3-5 minutes of music that will demonstrate tone quality, different styles and technical ability. Do not hesitate to play short excerpts in different styles. Above all, choose something that you know well and feel comfortable with, no matter the level of difficulty.

Contact: James Lambrecht, Director of Bands
Phone: 309-794-7424 

Symphony Orchestra

The Augustana Symphony Orchestra is a full-size symphonic orchestra of about 85 members that has an active and diverse performing schedule.

The purpose of the orchestra is to provide a positive musical and social experience to all who are interested while producing music at the highest level possible. Rehearsals are upbeat and fun, and the repertoire is varied and challenging. In addition, the ASO aspires to offer a friendly artistic environment that cultivates participation in and advocacy for music. The ASO typically performs one major program each trimester, and participates in Christmas at Augustana in December and the Augustana Music Festival in May. 

Auditions are held each fall during the first week of classes. Students who audition should prepare a piece of their choosing, and be prepared to sight-read from the standard repertory.

Daniel Chetel, 309-794-7410, Director of Orchestral Activities
Susan Stone, 309-794-7411, Violin 
Deborah Dakin, 309-794-8253, Viola/Violin 
Dortha DeWit, 309-794-8967, Violin 
Janina Ehrlich, 309-794-7299, Cello 
Patricia Silva, 309-794-8253, Double Bass 
Erin Freund, 309-794-8298, Harp

Nick Zoulek 

Shockingly Modern Saxophone Festival Sept. 14-15

The Shockingly Modern Saxophone Festival Sept. 14-15 at Augustana will include masterclasses, workshops, discussions and recitals. 

Augustana alumnus Matt Robinson

Robinson '01 plays tribute to Paul Simon

Matt Robinson '01 and his band will perform Paul Simon's “Graceland” album Thursday in Davenport. The Chicago musician graduated in finance but left accounting to spend full-time on his music.

'Big River'

Mississippi Bend Players kick off with 'Big River'

The Mississippi Bend Players, led by Broadway director and Augustana alumnus Phil McKinley, will kick off their second season with the musical "Big River: Adventures of Huckleberry Finn."

Music Department Open House

New students interested in music at Augustana are invited to the annual Music Department Open House during Welcome Week.

Guest artist: Kim Rooney Hagelstein

Augustana's Dr. Robert Elfline, piano, will perform with guest artist Dr. Kim Rooney Hagelstein, French horn