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. 

Marchfest High School Honor Band

High school musicians from across Minnesota are participating in a festival March 20 at St. Cloud State.

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

Guest Directors

  • Alfred Watkins, director of bands (retired), Lassiter High School, Marietta, Georgia
  • Andrew Nelson, director of bands, Milaca High School, Milaca, Minnesota

Nominate Students

To form two festival bands, students will be selected based on the directors' recommendations and instrumentation needs. Nominations are accepted through Feb. 9. After Feb. 9, 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. 14
  • The $30 fee, which includes lunch, dinner and a Marchfest T-shirt, is due at registration March 20

Early Registration Bonus

Directors who nominate students before Feb. 9 participate in a drawing for $75 gift cards from Eckroth Music, Groth Music and Schmitt Music.


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 p.m. Friday in Ritsche Auditorium. Tickets at the door will be $5 for adults and $3 for students and seniors.


8 a.m. Registration in the lobby of the Performing Arts Center (PAC) 
9 a.m. Rehearsals in PAC Center Stage and PAC 113
10 a.m. Session 1 for directors
10:45 a.m. Sectionals for Red Band
Session 2 for directors
11:30 a.m. Lunch provided in Garvey Commons
12:45 p.m. Sectionals for Black Band
3:00 p.m. St. Cloud State Wind Ensemble Concert
3:30 p.m. Rehearsal
4:30 p.m. Break with snack provided
5 p.m. Finale Concert: Marchfest Festival Bands


Catharine Bushman
Wind Ensemble / Music Education

Music Major for a Day

music major for a day

Thursday, Oct. 19, 2017

Learn about the life of a music major 9 a.m.- 4:45 p.m.

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

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

Brass & Woodwind Day

Saturday, Dec. 2, 2017

A day of scheduled events to engage area brass and woodwind students in a day of musical enrichment. Activities include clinics and masterclasses with guest artists Eric High (bass and contrabass trombone), Caroline Lemen (horn), Jonathan Holden (clarinet) and Marissa Olin (flute).

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 solos by Eric High and Caroline Lemen, assisted by the brass faculty and Brass Choir.

11 a.m. – Masterclass with Caroline Lemen.

2 p.m. – Masterclass with Eric High.

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


Woodwind events in Ruth Gant Recital Hall, Performing Arts Center: 

9 a.m. – Opening concert with faculty and students.

2 p.m. – Masterclass and performance by the Holden/Olin Duo.

5 p.m. – Woodwind Area Concert featuring student participants, woodwind faculty, guest artists and St. Cloud State students.

For more information

Mark Breckenridge

Melissa Krause

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.

Day of Percussion

Day of PercussionThe Day of Percussion brings nationally recognized performing artists and teachers to St. Cloud State for a day of performances, clinics and workshops.

Recent artists include: John Wooten, marching percussion; Gordy Knutson, drum set; Leigh Howard Stevens, marimba; Paul Wertico, drum set; Nancy Zeltsman, marimba; David Friedman, vibraphone; and Brad Dutz, world percussion.

SCSU 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, and the Youth Chorale of Central Minnesota.

The Big Sing

Click Here to Register for the 2018 Big Sing Festival


The 2018 Big Sing Festival is Jan. 27, 2018. In its 10th year, the festival teams high school singers with the St. Cloud State University Concert Choir. This year's guest conductor is celebrated composer and conductor, Jake Runestad. The festival choir will be directed by Runestad and  Dr. Matthew Ferrell, St. Cloud State director of choral activities. 

Please bring up to 16 students to participate. The registration deadline is Friday, Jan. 12.




Click Here to Register for the 2018 Big Sing Festival 


  • 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 2018 Music                       
  1. Let Everything That Hath Breath, Jeffery Ames, Earth Songs, $2.25
  2. Good Night, My Love, Jake Runestad, JR Music, $2.25
  3. Please Stay, Jake Runestad, JR Music, $2.50
  4. Nyon Nyon, Jake Runestad, JR Music, $2.25

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, January 12th

Click Here to Register for the 2018 Big Sing Festival

Professional Development Sessions for Teachers

More information coming soon!


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 Mr. Runestad and Dr. Ferrell

Sectionals/Optional lessons with voice faculty

Lunch and Solo Auditions


Big Sing Finale 

Directors’ Schedule

8:30 – 9:30 a.m.

10 – 10:50 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 


Directors' Workshop 


Finale performance

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 2016 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.