Music Ensembles

The Department of Music offers all students at Central, regardless of major, opportunities to participate in a variety of ensembles, including four bands: Wind Ensemble, Marching Band, Pep Band; two choirs: University Singers and Chorale; a traditional Big Band Jazz Ensemble as well as several jazz combos; an orchestra (Sinfonietta); and a variety of chamber ensembles. Student ensembles perform a variety of literature, from standard concert literature to contemporary works. With groups both large and small, and geared toward varying ability levels, the department’s instrumental ensembles provide continuing music education to the serious music student, as well as a fun extra-curricular activity for students campus-wide. 


Marching Band

Students of all majors may participate in the marching band. Just follow these three simple steps:

    1. Register for MUS 144 or MUS 142. (MUS 144 is to play in marching band ONLY; MUS 142 is to play in BOTH marching band AND a concert band)
    2. The information packet about band camp, rehearsals, and performances will be available in May of 2024.
    3. Complete the online Marching Band Interest Form.

Prereq.: Open to all students who play band instruments. Various types of literature performed. May be repeated for credit with different content. One credit.

Wind Ensemble

Students of all majors may participate in the concert bands. Just follow these two simple steps:

  1. Register for MUS 142.
  2. Contact Professor James Minnix for additional information.

University Singers


Chorale is Central's open-enrollment vocal ensemble. It is comprised of singers from across the campus community: membership is open to all university students without audition, regardless of major. Chorale was founded in 1920 as the New Britain Normal School Glee Club. As the school's name changed, the ensemble's name changed as well. It finally became the Central Connecticut State University Chorale in 1983. Through its almost century of existence, the Central Chorale has enjoyed a strong tradition as an inclusive choral ensemble. This choir has 40+ members per semester. Chorale performs a wide variety of choral music. We rehearse Tuesdays and Thursdays 4:30-5:45.

Do I have to be a music major to sing in Chorale?

Everybody is welcome to sing in Chorale, regardless of major (and even if you're undecided!). Actually, that's true for all of our ensembles. Other music ensembles you may be interested in: University SingersWind EnsembleJazz EnsemblesMarching Band and Orchestra.

Is there an audition for Chorale?

No. Just register as you would for any other course.

When does Chorale rehearse?

Tuesdays and Thursdays 4:30-5:45 all semester. We meet in Welte Hall, room 021.

What about performances?

We perform 2-3 times each semester. Performances are given both on campus and off campus.

Is there some kind of membership fee to belong to Chorale?

No. There is not even a textbook to buy! Each student is responsible for procuring appropriate performance attire, which may mean a one-time cost for new singers.

What kind of music does Chorale sing?

Chorale sings a wide variety of musical styles, with a focus on the classics. Click to see the music performed each year: 

        2013-2014          2014-2015           2015-2016             2016-2017           2017-2018

Can I join anytime, or only in the Fall?

You can join an ensemble at the beginning of either semester. If your schedule doesn't allow you to join in Fall, you can still sing in Spring. When registering for classes, remember to keep the Chorale time slot open.

What if I didn't join Chorale as a freshman?

No problem. You can still join Chorale.

What about credits?

In some ways, Chorale is just like any other course on campus: Registration is required, you will receive a syllabus, you will earn a credit, you will be awarded a grade and your grade will count toward your GPA. It counts as an elective.

How late into the term can I register for Chorale?

The add/drop schedule is the same for Chorale as it is for every course across campus. Check with the Registrar's Office to find out the last day to add Chorale for this term.

How do I join?

Register as you would for any other course. The course number is "MUS 141". The section is "70".

I'm having trouble registering for Chorale. What could the problem be?

It could be a few things: (1) Make sure you're registering for the correct course, MUS 141 section 70. (2) Double check the CRN, and make sure you're using the current one. (3) You may already be registered for a class during the same time block. Try shuffling your schedule to make room for Chorale. (4) There may be a 'hold' on your account. Contact the Registrar at 860.832.2236. (5) If you are still having trouble, contact Charles Menoche at for help.

I can't be in Chorale this term. Is there another choir I can join?

There is another choir called University Singers. It is our elite, auditioned ensemble for experienced singers. Auditions are in the fall. It is a year-long commitment. If you are interested in joining "USingers", check the University Singer's webpage at the end of July for audition information.

What else do I need to know?

Chorale is fun! Yes, being in a group this good is always demanding. But you will meet new friends, improve your voice, improve your musical skills, and enjoy a mental break from the rigors of your other academic pursuits. And, of course, Chorale sings amazing music and sounds great doing it. Singing in Chorale is just one of those essential Central experiences that you will remember fondly for the rest of your life.

Who is the director?

Our conductor is Gaylon Robinson. Contact him at

The Jazz Program at Central

Central currently offers a Bachelor of Arts degree in Jazz Studies. The Jazz Ensemble and Jazz Combos have performed often since 1997 including every year (except 2008) at the prestigious Villanova Jazz Festival where they placed third in 2001 and 2005 and second in 2007. In 2007 and 2009 saxophonist Andrew Lefebvre won the outstanding soloist award, the only student in recent history to win this award twice. In 2010 Central won best trumpet section, best rhythm section and placed second overall. Alvaro Maldonado (trombone) won the outstanding soloist award marking the fifth time a Central student has won this award!

Guest performers have included Andrew Speight, Conrad Herwig, Phil Wise, Denis DiBlasio, Doug Maher, David Santoro, Tom Melito and Larry Gareau. The jazz faculty at Central includes Dr. Carl Knox – Jazz Ensemble, saxophone, jazz improvisation and jazz history, Tom Melito - drums and jazz combo, Rich Goldstein- guitar, Larry Gareau - trumpet and jazz history and Noah Baerman - jazz piano.

Jazz Ensemble

The Jazz Ensemble at Central is directed by Carl Knox and consists of approximately twenty auditioned musicians majoring in a variety of subjects. This select group rehearses twice weekly and performs at a variety of venues each semester.

Grand Central

This select group consists of six or seven musicians and performs both standard repertoire of jazz small groups as well as original compositions. All arrangements are written by the student members of this group.

Central Station

This group consists of six to ten auditioned musicians and performs standard jazz repertoire as well as original compositions and arrangements written by the members of the group.


Administrative Information

In regular non-covid years, regular class meetings are Mondays/Wednesdays 1:40 - 2:55 p.m. in Welte Hall room 019.
Concerts and occasional evening dress rehearsals will be announced at the beginning of each semester.

Sinfonietta is not scheduled for 2022-23 academic year. We look forward to scheduling Sinfonietta in the future. Keep in touch for future updates.

Course Description/Prerequisite, Academic Credit and Music Major Information

Open to all students who play orchestral stringed instruments with other instruments as needed. Sinfonietta is the required ensemble for music majors who play orchestral stringed instruments. Community and non-majors are welcome at the discretion of the conductor. One credit under MUS 143 and may be repeated each semester with different content.

Required Text/Supplies

No text required. Music will be supplied. Please contact the instructor if you do not own your own instrument.

Philosophy of Instruction

Standard chamber orchestra literature will be studied and performed. Stylistic nuances of music over many time-periods will be explored through rehearsal and performances.

For More Information, Contact

Dr. Charles Menoche
Chair, Central Department of Music

Students in the Department of Music have opportunities to participate in a wide array of chamber ensembles, each coached by our outstanding performance faculty, in areas that include, strings, piano, brass, flute, clarinet, and percussion. Chamber ensembles are created based on the demands of repertoire and availability of musicians and may be taken for one credit (MUS 140). Students rehearse independently with their assigned ensemble and have a weekly coaching session that is scheduled with the faculty coach. Groups perform at least once per semester on campus and many perform concerts within the community. Non–majors may enroll in chamber music if permission is granted by the faculty coach.

Chamber music may be repeated each semester as a course elective. 

Specific ensembles and coaches include:

Piano chamber music – Susan Cheng,
Brass Quintet – Larry Gareau, 
Clarinet Ensemble – Kelli O'Connor, 
Flute Ensemble – Jill Maurer-Davis, 
Percussion Ensemble – Nathan Lassell, 

Please contact Dr. Charles Menoche,, Chair of Department of Music if you have further questions.

Our distinguished faculty combine a dedication to teaching and developing music students with the experience and polish of professional performing careers. The Department of Music hosts several faculty ensembles—the Connecticut Trio and Rosa-Laurent Duo—to broaden students’ exposure to live performance as well as provide the University and surrounding community with exceptional performances. In addition, faculty regularly collaborate in other ensembles, such as brass and woodwind quintets and jazz combos, to perform at venues both on campus and across the region.

The Rosa-Laurent Duo

The ROSA-LAURENT DUO has been heard in many concerts in the United States
and abroad, including recitals in London, Brussels, Hamburg and Vienna. One of the leading Brussels critics remarked of its playing: "Great precision and sensitivity . . . beautiful unity by the these perfect chamber musicians, always in the spirit of the composer."

In 1996 The Duo played a concert of American and Italian music at the American Academy in Rome which was broadcast by Vatican Radio throughout Europe and South America. Its subsequent tour of North Africa was sponsored in part by the U.S. State Department, and by the Société des Amis de Chopin in Casablanca.

Persistent advocates for new music, the Duo presented a spectrum of twentieth-century masterpieces both at Yale University and Merkin Hall in 1999, including the world premiere of a work written for it by Martin Bresnick. Its 2002 recital in Weill Hall at Carnegie Recital Hall was given under the auspices of the Italian Cultural Institute of New York. Critics have praised its high artistic standards, catholic repertoire and dedication to new music.

The Duo has been heard on Connecticut and National Public Radios, and recorded on the Desto, Overtone and Ersta labels.

For concert information call 860.832.2912

The Connecticut Trio

The Connecticut Trio traces its formal beginnings to the spring of 1994 when pianist Linda Laurent, violinist Gerard Rosa, and cellist Julie Ribchinsky played the Beethoven "Archduke" Trio at a concert at Carnegie Recital Hall. The enthusiastic reception accorded that performance encouraged the artists to join their efforts in the creation of a permanent ensemble.

Their travels have taken them, collectively and severally, to London, Brussels, Hamburg, Vienna, Rome, Tunis and Casablanca, as well as Merkin Hall, Weill Hall, Town Hall, the Kosciuszko Foundation, Wave Hill and Kaufmann Auditorium in New York City. Their CD of four major works of the distinguished American composer Ezra Laderman was issued by Albany Records. Of their 1999 concert at the Landon Gallery in New York, critic Dennis Rooney, in the internationally prestigious Strad Magazine, commented on the "wonderfully played Arensky Trio whose exceptional beauty was fully realized by the players' outstanding teamwork."

The Trio has made a commitment to performing works of living composers, and has had pieces written for it, including Brian Kershner's New England Trio, which the ensemble premiered at Carnegie Recital Hall in 2005. It has also performed recent trios by Joan Tower, Judith Shatin and Jennifer Higdon.

In addition to its travels, The Connecticut Trio gives an ongoing series of concerts locally, at Central Connecticut State University, where they are Professors of Music, and at the New Britain Museum of American Art. As soloists with the New Britain Symphony, the ensemble played the Beethoven Triple Concerto "as it must only be done, by three virtuosi. . . to a standing ovation." (New Britain Herald).

In a review of their concert in Hartford's Belding Theater at The Bushnell, critic Matthew Erikson (Hartford Courant) wrote: "The Connecticut Trio played superbly and, together with its support for new music, amply demonstrated. . . that it is one of the foremost treasures in Hartford's classical music scene."

The Trio recently completed its 20th season with a gala concert and reception at the New Britain Museum of American Art. An article devoted to the ensemble was featured in Central's Courier and Focus magazines, and in May it was presented the Arts Organization Award for 2014 by the Greater New Britain Arts Alliance.

For concert information, call 860.832.2912

The recently created iPad ensemble is Central Department of Music’s first chamber ensemble focused on the live performance of the many and varied genres in electro-acoustic music. Throughout the course of the semester ensemble members explore new applications, new works, new ways of reading notation, and new ways of performing. Unlike most other chamber ensembles, members joining the iPad ensemble have probably never performed music on an iPad. The ensemble meets once a week as an ensemble for a full time block and the ensemble performs at least once a semester. Works performed range from transcriptions of traditional works, graphic scores, aleatoric scores, and premieres of works written by students, faculty, and even internationally known composers. Non-majors may enroll in the iPad with faculty approval. A limited number of iPads are available for use. The iPad ensemble may be repeated each semester for credit as a course elective.

Contact CCSU Music Department at for more information.

Upcoming Events

Contact Information

Music Department
Carolyne Soper
Interim Chair
Eva Vrdoljak
Department Secretary
Herbert D. Welte Hall