Queen's University

Jazz Ensemble [MUSC 112, 212, 312, 412]

Jazz Ensemble MUSC 112, 212, 312, 412/1.5


Director, Greg Runions

The Dan School Jazz Ensemble has provided an outlet for students from all faculties to create and perform music from the jazz and big band repertoire.  Since it’s inception student musicians who have an interest in jazz and popular music have been able to come together to collaborate and create inspiring performances of classic and modern big band music. Recent performances have included works by big band masters Quincy Jones, Count Basie, Thad Jones, Duke Ellington, Billie Strayhorn, Sammy Nestico, Artie Shaw, Benny Goodman, and Nelson Riddle.  The band has also performed works by many current exponents of big band composition. They have recently performed the music of Bob Mintzer, Maria Schneider, Bill Holman, Vince Mendoza, Jim McNeeley and Mike Holober. By exposing students to a wide variety of classic and contemporary big band repertoire, students gain an insight into the intricacies of rehearsing and performing classic and contemporary big band music.

While the Dan School does not have a jazz performance program, the jazz ensemble has given many aspiring jazz and blues musicians a place to practice and refine their craft while they are pursuing their studies at Queen’s University.

In 2019, the jazz ensemble presented “Blues in the Night”.  This evening was a celebration of past ensemble alumni in solo ensemble performances and as featured soloists with the current big band. Guest artists, who were jazz ensemble alumni, included Brian O’Kane (trumpet), Andrew Rathbun (saxophone), Ali Berkok (piano), Dave Barton (guitar), Yoon Sun Choi (voice), Taylor Donaldson (trombone and arranger) and Mike Cassells (drums).

If you are looking to find a community of like-minded musicians to share your interest in jazz performance and connect with musicians on campus with whom you can build long term musical relationships then you should consider auditioning for this years jazz ensemble.

Jazz Ensemble, 2020/21 - Fall semester, plans for remote instruction

For the fall semester of 2020 the jazz ensemble will study 4 large ensemble works that have made significant contributions to the historical development of the big band. The ensemble will also create four remote recordings, one for each work.  Instrumentation for this term will include 5 saxes (AATTB), 5 trumpets, 4 trombones, vibraphone, piano, bass and drums. 

The class will meet remotely each Thursday from 2:30 until 3:30 pm. Additional class time will be assigned to sectional meetings and one on one conferences with the instructor.

For this semester rhythm section musicians must own the instruments they wish to play and have access to them off campus.

Auditions will be done by online video submission. Please consult the Ensemble Auditions webpage for instructions. The link below will connect you to a pdf of the music to be prepared for the audition.


Winter semester rehearsal times at the Rehearsal Hall of the Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts:

Tuesday 4:00:00 PM 5:30:00 PM

Thursday 2:30:00 PM 4:00:00 PM



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