Dordt offers a wide variety of ensembles for students to participate in, welcoming a broad array of interest and ability levels. Approximately 300 students are members of one or more ensembles or take private lessons. Private lessons are available for both instrumental and vocal students, with a faculty of 20 adjunct instructors, each an expert in their instrument.
Music Ensemble Groups
Dordt is home to a variety of ensemble groups that are made up of both music majors and those passionate about the arts. Many of our ensembles tour extensively throughout the United States and Canada. Tours have included the east and west coasts, the midwest, and several locations in Canada, including visits to New York City, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, and more. Local off-campus opportunities at churches and schools also abound for interested students.
The 4th Avenue Band is a select group of 15 to 20 instrumentalists who perform a wide variety of jazz compositions, featuring music of the legendary big bands such as Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Woody Herman, Stan Kenton, and Buddy Rich just to name a few. In addition, the group plays music of such jazz masters as Dizzy Gillespie, Billy Strayhorn, and Sammy Nestico as well as music from the contemporary jazz genre of today. The band is directed by Mr. Kevin Linder.
Recent repertoire includes:
- Cute, Hefti
- Manteca, Gillespie
- Corazon, King
- Song for My Father, Silver
- Café Rio, Benoit
- "A" Train, Strayhorn
- It's Oh So Nice, Nestico
- Mambo Hot, Lopez
- Sing, Sing, Sing, Prima
- C Jam Blues, Ellington
- In a Sentimental Mood, Ellington
The 4th Avenue Band has also been a part of several recent music tours and has attended festivals like the Elmhurst College (Illinois) Jazz Festival.
Anyone interested in visiting a rehearsal of the Dordt 4th Avenue Band can come to the Instrumental Music Room (M108) on Wednesday evenings from 6:30 to 8 p.m.
Prospective students are encouraged to apply for scholarships and to submit an audition form.
The 4th Avenue Singers is an auditioned group of 16 singers, drawn from the Chorale and Concert Choir. They maintain a busy performance schedule singing in concerts, campus events, and community engagements. The 4th Avenue Singers focuses on jazz choir repertoire (big band standards, jazz classics, Broadway and pop covers, etc.).
Professor Ryan Smit directs the 4th Avenue Singers, as well as the Chorale, Concert Choir, and Canons of Dordt.
Recent repertoire includes:
- Africa, Toto
- Amazing Grace, arr. Jasperse
- Libertango, Piazzolla
- Someone to Watch Over Me, Gershwin
- Come Fly with Me, Van Heusen and Cahn
- I’ll Be Seeing You, arr. Darmon Meader
- Hark the Herald Angels Sing, arr. Pentatonix
- And So It Goes, arr. Chilcott
- Linus and Lucy, arr. Kern
- Chili Con Carne, arr. Edenroth
- I’ll Never Fall in Love Again, arr. Edenroth
Anyone interested in visiting a rehearsal of the Dordt 4th Avenue Singers can come to the choir room Mondays and Wednesdays from 3 to 3:50 p.m. Prospective students are encouraged to apply for scholarships. To receive more information, please fill out this form.
Bella Voce women’s choir is non-auditioned and consists of around 20-40 women, from beginning singers to advanced vocalists. They sing a variety of songs and styles, including folk songs, gospel, classical, modern compositions, and more.
The conductor for Bella Voce is Dr. Carrie Groenewold, Dordt University’s Associate Professor of Church Music and Organ, Director of Keyboard Studies, and University Organist. Carrie has previous experience developing and directing adult and children’s choirs in her church positions, as well as directing Kalamazoo’s Bach Festival Chorus, the Bales Chorale, and Notre Dame’s Schola Cantorum.
Recent repertoire includes:
- Psalm 100, Rene Clausen
- Sure on This Shining Night, Morten Lauridsen
- At the River, arr. Aaron Copland
- Prayer of St. Francis, Kola Owolabi
- Les Berceaux, Gabriel Faure
- Things That Never Die, Mark Patterson
- Do Lord, arr. Andrea Ramsey
- I'm Goin' Up a Yonder, Walter Hawkins, arr. Martin Sirvaka
The Canons of Dordt men’s choir is non-auditioned and consists of 40-50 male vocalists of all experience levels. They sing a variety of songs and styles, including folk songs, gospel, spirituals, barbershop, sea shanties, modern music, and more.
Professor Ryan Smit conducts the Canons of Dordt, as well as the Chorale, Concert Choir, and 4th Avenue Singers.
Recent repertoire includes:
- The Wellerman, arr. Michael Ware
- The British Grenadiers, arr. Luigi Zaninelli
- We Shall Walk Through the Valley in Peace, arr. William Appling
- Gaudete, arr. Michael McGlynn
- Veni, Veni Emmanuel, arr. Michael John Trotta
- I Got a Hog and a Pig, arr. John Wykoff
- Soon-ah Will Be Done, arr. William Dawso
- Black Is the Color, arr. Connor Koppin
- For the Longest Time, Billy Joel, arr. Gentry
Conducted by Assistant Director of Instrumental Activities, Dr. Allegra Fisher, the Dordt University Campus-Community band is an ensemble that is made up of Dordt students as well as members of the community that still seek to perform at a high level on their instrument. The ensemble is comprised of between 40 and 60 DU students as well as 20 to 30 community members, thus building a wind band of nearly 90 members! The band performs four concerts per year on the campus of Dordt University and is always seeking new members between the ages of 16 and 100! (If you are over 100 we would still love to have you!) Students receiving Music Activity Scholarship are required to audition for placement in the band. Dordt students that are not receiving a Music Activity Scholarship have no required audition. Community Members seeking to join the group only need to speak with one of the Dordt Instrumental Ensemble Directors.
Recent literature performed by the Dordt Campus-Community Band:
- A Slavic Farewell, Agapkin
- Air for Band, Erikson
- Ammerland, De Haan
- Bandology, Osterling
- The Beethoven Machine, Colgrass
- Cajun Folk Songs, Ticheli
- Cenotaph, Stamp
- Circus Days, King
- Chant and Jubilo, Macbeth
- Chasing Sunlight, Nishimura
- Chorale and Allegro, Nelhybel
- Dance the Joy Alive, Puinno
- Declaration Overture, C.T. Smith
- Dusk, Bryant
- Fanfare for World Peace, Rose
- Flourish for Wind Band, Vaughan-Williams
- Foundry, Mackey
- The Gallant Seventh, Sousa
- Illumination, Maslanka
- Loch Lomond, Ticheli
- New Ear Fanfare, Standbridge
- Old Churches, Colgrass
- Panoramic Landscapes, Grant
- Snarl, Mackey
- Three Ayers from Gloucester, Stuart
- Tight Squeeze, Shapiro
- With Quiet Courage, Daehn
The ensemble rehearses on Tuesdays from 7-8pm (only student scholarship holders required, others optional), and Thursdays from 7-9pm (all members). In order to join the band, contact either Dr. Allegra Fisher, Assistant Director of Instrumental Activities at email@example.com or Dr. Onsby C. Rose, Director of Instrumental Activities at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Conducted by Director of Instrumental Activities, Dr. Onsby C. Rose, the Dordt Chamber Orchestra is a group of 25-40 string instrumentalists that are dedicated to performing music for chamber orchestra and string orchestra. The ensemble performs four yearly concerts on campus and regularly tours throughout the country and abroad. All members of the Chamber Orchestra that are receiving a music activity scholarship also perform as a part of the string section in the Northwest Iowa Symphony Orchestra (NISO).
Recent literature performed by the Chamber Orchestra:
- Eine Kleine Natchmusik, Mozart
- Carmen Suite No. 1, Bizet
- Fantasia on Greensleeves, Vaughan-Williams
- Serenade for Strings, Dvorak
- Serenade for Strings, Tchaikovsky
- St. Paul’s Suite, Holst
- Symphony No. 17, Mozart
The Chamber Orchestra is also involved in a variety of tours throughout North America, and in May of 2012, the group performed in Germany, France, and the Netherlands.
The ensemble rehearses on Wednesdays from 5:05 to 6:10pm and on Mondays (when NISO is not in session) from 7 to 9pm. In order to join the Chamber Orchestra, contact Dr. Onsby C. Rose, Director of Instrumental Activities at email@example.com.
The Chorale is the largest of the choral ensembles at Dordt with nearly 100 members. Incoming first-year students audition for the Chorale, yet it includes singers from all class levels. They explore varied selections of music, and also give specific attention to the development of vocal technique and ensemble singing skills.
Professor Ryan Smit conducts the Chorale, as well as the Concert Choir, Canons of Dordt, and 4th Avenue Singers.
Recent repertoire includes:
- It Is Well with My Soul, arr. Clausen
- I Know That My Redeemer Lives, arr. Dan Forrest
- Bawo, South African song, arr. Barrett/Schmitt
- Lux Aeterna, Eriks Esenvalds
- Talia Miracula, Brad Nix
- Sweet Little Jesus Boy, arr. Stacey Gibbs
- For Unto Us a Child Is Born, G.F. Handel
- Ballade to the Moon, Daniel Elder
- In Stiller Nacht, Johannes Brahms
- Ubi Caritas, Maurice Durufle
- Tambur, Lajos Bardos
- O Love, Elaine Hagenberg
Anyone interested in visiting a rehearsal of the Dordt Chorale can come to the choir room Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 1 to 1:50 p.m. Prospective students are encouraged to apply for scholarships. To receive more information, please fill out this form.
The Concert Choir is an auditioned ensemble of 53 upperclass vocalists who dedicate themselves to performing choral literature at the highest level of musicianship in a wide range of styles and genres.
Professor Ryan Smit conducts the Concert Choir, as well as the Chorale, Canons of Dordt, and 4th Avenue Singers.
Recent repertoire includes:
- Sing Joyfully, William Byrd
- O Quam Gloriosum, Tomas Luis de Victoria
- He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands, arr. Cedric Dent
- Hard Times, arr. Shawn Kirchner
- Mass in G major, Franz Schubert
- Earth Song, Frank Ticheli
- The Tyger and The Lamb, Andrew Miller
- O Praise the Lord, Daniel Knaggs
- Deep River, arr. Alexander Lloyd Blake
- What Wondrous Love, arr. David Edmonds
- Cantata 196, J.S. Bach
- Dindaru Dandaru, Laura Jekabsone
- Seinn O, arr. David J. Moore
- Country Dances, arr. Ward Swingle
- Grace Before Sleep, Susan LaBarr
- Praise to the Lord, arr. Christiansen
The choir tours extensively throughout the United States and Canada and was selected to perform at regional conventions of the American Choral Directors Association in 2004, 2006, 2010. In May of 2022, the choir embarked on a performance tour of Austria and the Czech Republic.
Anyone interested in visiting a rehearsal of the Dordt University Concert Choir can come to the choir room Monday from 4 to 4:50 p.m. as well as on Tuesday and Thursday from 3:15 to 4:45 p.m. Prospective students are encouraged to apply for scholarships. To receive more information, please fill out this form.
Conducted by Dr. Onsby C. Rose, Director of Instrumental Activities, the Dordt University Wind Symphony is the premiere performing ensemble within the instrumental area at Dordt University. Comprised of 55-63 of the most advanced wind and percussion students studying at Dordt University, the ensemble is committed to performing both new works for wind band as well as the cannon of recognized masterworks of the band genre. Dedicated to the creation of new music, the ensemble is active in commissioning new works for the wind band medium and have either led or been members of consortiums commissioning music by composers such as John Mackey, Nicole Puinno, Kevin Day, Katherine Bergman, and others. They also regularly perform wind masterworks by composers such as David Maslanka, Claude T. Smith, Percy Grainger, and many more. The ensemble tours yearly either nationally or internationally and was recognized as one of the nation’s finest college wind bands by placing 2nd (2020-21) and 3rd (2021-22) in the American Prize for the Performing Arts, University Wind Band Category. In addition, in 2021 the ensemble recorded their first full length CD titled “Music with Friends” on the Mark Custom Label. The Dordt University Wind Symphony is filled by auditions held at the beginning of each fall semester.
Recent Literature performed by the Wind Symphony:
- Angels in the Architecture, Ticheli
- Be Thou My Vision, Gillingham
- Colonial Song, Grainger
- Come Sunday, Thomas
- Elsa’s Procession to the Cathedral, Wagner
- Eternal Father, Strong to Save, C.T. Smith
- Fanfare, Hymn and Finale, Boyer
- Festive Overture, Shostakovich
- Gavorkna Fanfare, Stamp
- Give Us This Day, Maslanka
- Hidden Currents, Bergman
- High Wire, Mackey
- Imperial Circus, Ratnik
- Intrada 1631, Montague
- Lincolnshire Posy, Grainger
- O Magnum Mysterium, Lauridsen
- October, Whitacre
- Of Our New Day Begun, Thomas
- Rest, Ticheli
- Russian Christmas Music, Reed
- The Stars and Stripes Forever, Sousa
- Song for Silent Voices, Oquin
- Song of Hope, Meechan
- Strange Humors, Mackey
- Symphony No. 1, Rose
- Symphony No. 4, Maslanka
- Symphony No. 9, Maslanka
The ensemble rehearses on Mon., Tues., and Thurs. from 5:15 to 6:30-pm. For information on auditions for the Dordt University Wind Symphony or to plan a performance near you while the symphony is touring, please contact Dr. Onsby C. Rose, Director of Instrumental Activities at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Dordt University Defender Band is a group of 36 instrumentalists specifically selected from musicians at Dordt University to provide spirit and excitement at select Dordt University athletic events. The Defender Band is the newest ensemble at Dordt University, being started officially in Fall 2022. Under the direction of Dr. Allegra Fisher, Assistant Director of Instrumental Activities, the Defender Band performs at selected athletic events each fall and spring. The members of the band are provided additional scholarship dollars for performing as part of the ensemble. Rehearsals for the band take place at the beginning of each semester and then the group plays for events throughout the athletic season.
To inquire about joining the defender band contact either Dr. Allegra Fisher, Assistant Director of Instrumental Activities at email@example.com or Dr. Onsby C. Rose, Director of Instrumental Activities at firstname.lastname@example.org.