The East Tennessee State University music department is more than its Bluegrass, Old-Time and Country Music department. It also offers thriving vocal and instrumental performance and education programs.
â€œWe also are one of a few undergraduate programs that offers a degree in jazz studies. I have been chair for one year and going forward, we are focusing on recruitment and building our program to be the premier music school in Tennessee and beyond. We have an incredible music family and offer great musical opportunities. Our enrollment was up 20 percent this last year, and Iâ€™m confident that those numbers will continue to grow,â€ Dr. Matthew Potterton, chair of the music department, says.
Last year the music department had 120 students who were music majors. About 70 percent of them majored in music education.
â€œMany of the great teachers in our area have graduated from ETSU, a fact we are very proud of,â€ he says.
ETSU offers several instrumental and vocal ensembles including the ETSU Chorale, which has toured nationally and internationally and appeared in numerous state and national conferences. Potterton conducts the Chorale.
Greyscale, under the direction of Dr. Alan Stevens, is one of the premier ensembles in the ETSU department of music. Greyscale has become a recognized success on campus and throughout the region. The select group of 12 singers who formed the ensemble called themselves Greyscale to represent the non-specific type of music they performed avoiding categorization in any clearly-defined, black-and-white genre.The singers in Greyscale are selected through a rigorous audition process. Students must re-audition each year, and they must be able to perform as both an ensemble singer and a lead vocalist.
East Tennessee Belles Womenâ€™s Choir is open to all female students on campus who are dedicated to the performance of choral music. The group tours throughout the region, and performs a four-concert series each year. Dr. Matthew Potterton directs the ensemble.
BucsWorth is composed of men from across all campus disciplines, and it is open to any student by audition. BucsWorth performs a mix of traditional and contemporary choral music and often collaborates with the East Tennessee Belles, their sister ensemble at ETSU.
The Symphonic Wind Ensembleperforms representative traditional and contemporary works for wind instruments. It is open to all university students by audition and is directed by Dr. Christian Zembower.
The Concert Bandperforms music of all forms, from classic to popular and is open to all university students by consultation with the instructor.Dr. Christian Zembower directs the band.
The ETSU Marching Band entertains at Bucs games.
The Jazz Ensemble and Jazz Combos are devoted to the study of jazz and pop styles. Attention is given to improvisation and understanding stylistic techniques. Participation is open to all university students through consultation with the director.
The department offers a variety of chamber ensembles, which are open to music majors and non-majors with instructor approval. The ensembles include the tuba and euphonium ensemble, the flute choir, the trombone choir and the percussion ensemble. There are two chamber groups: East Tennessee State University Chamber Orchestra, which is open to college and advanced high school students; and Sinfonia Chamber Orchestra, which younger students can audition for. The music department is affiliated with the Johnson City Symphony Orchestra. Music majors and minors received credit by performing with the group.
â€œWe have incredible scholarships at ETSU, and a student does not need to be a music major in order to receive our scholarships. Including all of our scholarships, we have over a half million dollars of scholarship money to give away each year. I direct the ETSU Chorale, our premiere auditioned choir, and nearly all of my students are receiving some sort of vocal scholarship and many are getting a full ride or close to it,â€ Potterton says.
Auditions for these scholarships are in November, February, March and April. Dates and requirements can be found at www.etsu.edu/music.