Department of Music


Festivals and Events

The Department of Music hosts festivals and events that provide musical opportunities for our students and the local community. Hundreds of high school students perform alongside university ensembles in various choral and band festivals. Numerous professional guest artists are brought to campus to interact with our students in intimate and hands-on settings. 

Day of Percussion


Saturday, Dec. 1, 2018

A free day of enrichment, performance and education 9:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Dec. 1 the Day of Percussion features drum set artist/multi-instrumentalist Nate Wood, who will present his uncanny ability to play drum set, bass, keyboards and sing - all at the same time!

Participants will be on stage throughout the symposium learning and applying Wood’s methods. The day will conclude with refreshments and a public performance by Wood.

Guest Artist

Nate Wood is a Grammy-nominated drummer/multi-instrumentalist and mastering engineer based in New York City. He is a founding member of the Grammy-nominated quintet Kneebody.

Kneebody released its self-titled debut album in 2005 on trumpeter Dave Douglas’s label Greenleaf Music. In 2007, Kneebody released “Low Electrical Worker” on Colortone Media. They completed an album of arrangements of Charles Ives compositions with singer Theo Bleckmann and released the recording “12 Songs of Charles Ives” which was nominated “Best Classical Crossover Album” Grammy Award (2009, Winter and Winter).

Kneebody’s latest record “The Line” was released on Concord Records in 2013.

Wood has also performed or recorded with many notable artists including Taylor Hawkins and the Coattail Riders, Dave Grohl, Brian May and Roger Taylor (Queen), Chris Squire (Yes), Elliot Easton (The Cars), Chaka Khan, Wayne Krantz, Billy Childs, Tigran Hamasyan, Donny McCaslin, Sting and many others. Nate is endorsed by Gretsch Drums, Istanbul Agop Cymbals, Promark Sticks, Remo Drumheads, Drum Workshop Hardware, D’Addario Strings, Aguilar Amplification and Moollon instruments.



9:30 a.m. Registration in the lobby of the Performing Arts Center (PAC) Recital Hall
10 a.m. Participant Group Improvisation/Recording Session
Animated Graphic Score Notation by Leafcutter John
Noon Lunch provided
1 p.m. "Discovering the Crazy World of Nate Wood," featuring Nate Wood, drummer/multi-instrumentalist
3 p.m. Refreshments
3:30 p.m.  Nate Wood performance, Recital Hall, Performing Arts Center


Terry Vermillion
Percussion Studies

The Big Sing

The Big Sing Festival is Friday, Feb. 28, 2020. In its 12th year, the festival teams high school singers with the St. Cloud State Concert Choir. 

This year's guest conductor is celebrated composer and conductor, Sydney Guillaume

Bring up to 16 students to participate. The registration deadline is Friday, Feb.  7.


  • Honor choir participants will be responsible for obtaining and learning this music before the festival day, as rehearsal time is limited. Please bring all music in a black 3-ring binder or black choir folder to be used during the performance.
  • Big Sing 2020 Music                       

Concert Dress

  • Black pants, The Big Sing T-shirt (provided upon arrival), black shoes, black socks, and a black belt. The t-shirts will be distributed during registration on the day of The Big Sing. Please wear your concert dress (black pants, belts, socks and shoes) upon arrival at St. Cloud State. This will minimize the changing time for all choir participants. There will be an opportunity to change into the t-shirts before the performance.
  • If choir directors would like a shirt, they can purchase one on their registration form for $10. 

Private Lesson Opportunity

  • Students will have the opportunity to study privately with a voice faculty member from SCSU.
  • Selected solos (art song, folksong, etc.) from the master class may be chosen to perform at the Big Sing Finale performance! 


  • $30 per student
  • Each student will receive a free SCSU Big Sing t-shirt and lunch at Garvey Commons.
  • Registration is due on Friday, Feb. 7. 

Professional Development Sessions for Teachers

Transforming the Cultural Traditions of Haiti - Sydney Guillaume

Honor Choir Schedule

8:30 – 9:30 a.m.

9:30 – 9:45 a.m.

9:45 - 10:30 a.m.

10:30 – noon

Noon – 1 p.m.

1 – 4:30 p.m.

5 p.m.

Registration (Ritsche Auditorium Lobby)


Rehearsal with Sydney Guillaume

Sectionals/Optional lessons with voice faculty

Lunch and Solo Auditions


Big Sing Finale 

Directors’ Schedule

8:30 – 9:30 a.m.

11 - 11:50 a.m.

Noon – 1 p.m.

1 – 1:50 p.m.

2 – 4:30 p.m.

5 p.m.


Directors' Workshop 


Directors' Workshop 


Finale performance

Springfest High School Honor Band

Director's Invitation Packet

Nominate Students Online

High school musicians from across Minnesota are participating in a festival April 14, 2020 at St. Cloud State.

Directors may nominate their most outstanding musicians to rehearse and perform with St. Cloud State faculty and guest clinicians.


We are pleased to welcome the following guest clinicians to St. Cloud State for this year's event.

Nominate Students

To form two festival bands, students will be selected based on the directors' recommendations and instrumentation needs. Nominations are accepted through Feb. 21. After Feb. 21, email Catharine Bushman about possible openings.

  • Directors nominate outstanding students who would benefit from this experience
  • Nominations are unlimited
  • Schools may register two seniors free of charge
  • Encourage string bass students and piano students to participate
  • Directors will be notified about student selection about Feb. 26
  • The $30 fee, which includes lunch, dinner and a Marchfest T-shirt, is due at registration April 14

Early Registration Bonus

Directors who nominate students before Feb. 21 participate in a drawings which may include gift cards or other items!


The festival includes full-ensemble rehearsals with expert clinicians, master classes with St. Cloud State faculty, performances by St. Cloud State ensembles, scholarship auditions and performances by the clinic bands.


Sessions for directors will include topics such as rehearsal strategies, score-study tips, programming concepts and assessment strategies. Marchfest guest clinicians will provide a session to directors. The director schedule mirrors the student schedule, making it easy for a director to participate.


The culminating activity for students, directors and the public is a concert 5:30 p.m. Tuesday in Ritsche Auditorium. Tickets at the door will be $5 for adults and $3 for students and seniors.


7:30 a.m. Registration in the lobby of the Performing Arts Center (PAC) 
8:30 a.m. Rehearsals in PAC Center Stage and PAC 113
10 a.m. Sectionals for Red Band
Session 1 for directors
11:30 a.m. Lunch provided in Garvey Commons
12:45 p.m. Sectionals for Black Band
Session 2 for directors
3 p.m. St. Cloud State Wind Ensemble Concert
3:30 p.m. Sound checks in Ritsche and music vendor break
5:30 p.m. Finale Concert: Marchfest Festival Bands


Catharine Bushman
Wind Ensemble / Music Education

Brass Day

Saturday, March 30, 2019

A day of scheduled events to engage area brass students in a day of musical enrichment. Activities include clinics and masterclasses with Dr. Jonathan Brandt (trumpet) and Dr. Lauren Husting (trombone).

Ensemble performances will feature faculty ensembles, Brass Choir and guest artists.

Concerts and masterclasses are open to family, friends and the general public.

Brass events in Ritsche Auditorium, Stewart Hall

9 a.m. – Opening concert featuring Jonathan Brandt and Lauren Husting, assisted by the brass faculty and Brass Choir.

11 a.m. – Masterclass 1

2 p.m. – Masterclass 2

5 p.m. – Brass Choir concert featuring student participants, brass faculty and guest artists

For more information

Charles Wazanowski 


Athena Music & Leadership Camp

St. Cloud State is pleased to present the Athena Music & Leadership Camp July 5-9, 2020.

Named after the Greek goddess of the Arts and Wisdom, Athena Camp is a five-day residential summer camp for middle and high school female musicians in band and orchestra. The mission of the camp is to:

  • To provide a comprehensive, five-day, intensive study for female middle and high school level musicians, taught by successful female professional music educators​​​

  • To develop and encourage musical excellence through performance fundamentals, theoretical understanding, and music appreciation in a stimulating learning environment

  • To offer insights to the music profession and advance knowledge and awareness of future opportunities in music and music education

For more information and to register, visit Athena Music & Leadership Camp.


Music Major for a Day

music major for a day

Thursday, Oct. 17, 2019

Meet instructors. Experience classes. Check out classrooms. Get to know students.

Music Major for a Day is an opportunity for high school students to attend classes, rehearsals and lectures in the Department of Music. Check in begins at 8:15 am. Students may customize their experience by choosing from a variety of options. Private lessons may be available with our outstanding faculty. The event is free, but space is limited, so register early.

More information on HuskiesConnect

Any high school student can attend. This event is held in conjunction with Discover Red & Black Days.

For more information


Phone: (320) 308-3223

Creative Arts Series

Creative Arts SeriesThe Creative Art Series is enhancing student learning and broadening public perspectives through art, music, film and theater.

Each visiting artist in this School of the Arts series offers a master class workshop for students and presents a free public performance to open the experience to members of the public.

The series also includes celebrated events by St. Cloud State students and faculty.

Percussion Studies Guest Artist Series

percussion The David Swenson Memorial Foundation Guest Artists Series enriches the Percussion Studies curriculum by bringing professional percussion artists for public performances and student workshops.

Recent artists include: Loop 2.4.1, percussion duo; Brad Dutz and Chris Wabish, percussion duo; Tatsuya Nakatani, improvisational percussionist; and Nathaniel Bartlett, marimba and live electronics.

Choral Connections

This annual choral concert is typically the last Monday of October in Ritsche Auditorium

It features performances by Concert Choir, Chamber Singers, Sauk Rapids-Rice High School Concert Choir, Apollo High School Concert Choir, Cathedral High School Concert Choir, Tech High School Concert Choir, St. John’s Preparatory School Concert Choir, Sartell High School Concert Choir, Holdingford High School Concert Choir and the Youth Chorale of Central Minnesota.

Music at St. Mary's

st. mary'sThis annual event offers the finest choral repertoire, ranging from exciting new works to beloved choral classics.

The 2018 concert will feature performances by the Concert Choir, Chamber Choir, Women's Choir and Men's Choir at the Cathedral of St. Mary in St. Cloud. 

Her Story, Her Song

Her Story"Her Story, Her Song" gives performers and audience members an opportunity to explore an aspect of life from the feminine perspective.

Student participants seek a community connection to help increase awareness of community support systems for women and children.

Read more about Her Story, Her Song.

MN Made

MN MadeCelebrate Minnesota's handmade electronic music with music, robots and a robot concert.

Students and community members learn how to build musical robots, compose music for the robots and present a robot concert. Participants learn the history of mixing electricity, instrument building and automatons.

"New Music, New Media" Guest Artist Series

composition and new media

Each year, the Music Department brings in guest composers, performers and scholars to work with students and to share their talents with the community.

Recent artists include Trevor Wishart, 8-channel electroacoustic opera; Anne Le Berge, flute and interactive electronics; Keith Kirchoff, the electroacoustic piano; Pat O’Keefe, clarinet and interactive electronics; Ben Levy, Ligeti’s electronic music; Per Bloland, interactive electromagnetic piano; Tim Kaiser, weirdo music; Troy Rogers, musical automaton; Brett Wartchow, electronic music controllers; Zeitgeist, new music ensemble; and the Bay Players Experimental Music Collective.