VCU Music offers an array of performing opportunities in small instrument-specific ensembles or mixed-instrument ensembles. This small ensemble performing medium creates a unique learning experience for each student involved. Many of these groups perform regularly off campus at other universities, competitions, churches, retirement communities and community events.
The VCU BassMasters bassoon ensemble performs music for multiple bassoons and contra-bassoons. Known for their somewhat offbeat and theatrical performances, they perform literature ranging from classical works by composers, such as Mozart, Brahms and Tchaikovsky, to songs from the rock and roll repertoire, such as “She Loves You,” by the Beatles and Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven.” Students are encouraged to augment the repertoire by creating their own arrangements; some of the group’s most popular material was arranged by members.
Contact the director: Dr. Bruce Hammel
Community Guitar Ensemble
The VCU Community Guitar Ensemble consists of 35 talented classical guitarists from Central Virginia. Established in 1986 by John Patykula, this ensemble has performed as part of the Richmond International Music Festival and Richmond’s Big Gig summer festival. It is the resident ensemble for VCU’s Guitar and Other Strings Series. The VCU Community Guitar Ensemble has been featured on local television and on WCVE-FM’s “An Hour with the Guitar.”
Contact the director John Patykula
Founded in 1985, the VCU Flute Choir has performed at several state and regional conventions, at the Governor’s Mansion and annually plays for the opening of advent season at the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart in Richmond. In August 2011, the groupwas invited to perform at the National Flute Conference. The VCU Flute Choir is comprised of music majors and minors and under the direction of Tabatha Easley they have continued to perform in a variety of capacities promoting new works for the genre by local composers and arrangers.
Contact the director: Dr. Tabatha Easley
The VCU Guitar Ensemble has been a part of the Richmond music scene since 1982. Consisting of 15 to 20 music majors, this unique ensemble’s repertoire ranges from Bach to the Beatles, from Renaissance to contemporary music. In addition, this group frequently premieres new compositions by VCU student composers, as well as commissioned works by established arrangers and composers. The ensemble has been featured on several National Public Radio stations and on local television arts segments.
Contact the director: John Patykula
Low Brass Ensemble
The VCU Low Brass Ensemble is comprised of tubas and euphoniums. Performances each semester include brass chamber music concerts and community events. The group is a popular choice for patriotic events in the Richmond area.
Contact the director: Dr. Ross Walter
The VCU Percussion Ensemble is an active chamber group with a repertoire that ranges from world percussion pieces to orchestral transcriptions. As a vibrant part of the VCU and Richmond area performing arts scene for more than three decades, the VCUPE performs several times each year on campus and at high schools and festivals across Virginia. The ensemble’s most recent achievements include performing a showcase concert at the 2007 Virginia Music Educators Association Conference in Norfolk, Va., presenting the world premiere performance of “Musica visto que Villa-Lobos” at the 2008 International Experiencing Villa-Lobos Festival and performing in a master class for world-renown composer Steve Reich in March 2008. The VCUPE also has the pleasure of frequently collaborating with fine guest artists, including the Pendulum Percussion Duo and dancer Melanie Richards.
Contact the director: Dr. Peter Martin
The VCU Trombone Choir is an active performing ensemble made up of trombone quartets. Concerts each semester include feature performances of the quartets with large choir performances to conclude. The choir also performs at community events and concerts in the Richmond area.
Contact the director: Dr. Ross Walter
The VCU Trumpet Ensemble has distinguished itself in the semi-final rounds of the 2006, 2007 and 2008 National Trumpet Competition. The ensemble accepted an invitation to perform at the 2007 International Trumpet Guild Conference at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, where they provided prelude music to Rex Richardson’s recital and presented the world premiere performance of his “Rhapsody Hijaz” for trumpet sextet. In 2008, the VCU Trumpet Ensemble was invited to participate in the Trinity College of Music Brass Festival in London. They performed alongside English students and professionals and presented prelude music for the Lucerne Chamber Brass. The ensemble continues to perform actively in the Richmond area, both on and off campus, and has been invited to perform at the 2010 International Trumpet Guild Conference in Sydney, Australia.
Contact the director: Rex Richardson