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. 

Music Major for a Day

music major for a day

Thursday, Oct. 18, 2018

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 9:00 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.

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

For more information


Phone: (320) 308-3223

Brass Day

Saturday, Dec. 1, 2018

A day of scheduled events to engage area brass students in a day of musical enrichment. Activities include clinics and masterclasses with guest artists (TBA).

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 1

2 p.m. – Masterclass 2

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

For more information



Marchfest High School Honor Band

High school musicians from across Minnesota are participating in a festival March 19, 2019 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

  • To be announced!

Nominate Students

To form two festival bands, students will be selected based on the directors' recommendations and instrumentation needs. Nominations are accepted through Feb. 8. After Feb. 8, 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. 18
  • The $30 fee, which includes lunch, dinner and a Marchfest T-shirt, is due at registration March 19

Early Registration Bonus

Directors who nominate students before Feb. 8 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 p.m. Friday 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 & Music Vendor Break
5:30 p.m. Finale Concert: Marchfest Festival Bands


Catharine Bushman
Wind Ensemble / Music Education

Athena Music & Leadership Camp

St. Cloud State is pleased to present the Athena Music & Leadership Camp July 7-11, 2019.

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.


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.

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.

The Big Sing

The Big Sing Festival is Jan. 26, 2019. In its 11th year, the festival teams high school singers with the St. Cloud State Concert Choir. 

This year's guest conductor is celebrated composer and conductor, Timothy C. Takach. The festival choir will be directed by Takach and Dr. Matthew Ferrell, St. Cloud State director of choral activities. 

Bring up to 16 students to participate. The registration deadline is Friday, Jan. 11.


  • 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 2019 Music                       
    • To be determined 

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, Jan. 11

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. Takach and Dr. Ferrell

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

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.