Performing ensembles at Occidental are open to all students regardless of major.

2022-2023 Catalog
Course Counts

Our Ensembles

Symphony Orchestra

Chris Kim, director

The Occidental Symphony Orchestra is an orchestral ensemble that plays music from the Baroque era through today. Through its collaboration with Oxy's music composition program, the Orchestra performs and records new music, including film scores written for MAC student films. The Orchestra frequently partners with the Occidental Glee Club to perform a large choral work with orchestral accompaniment. Enrollment is by audition during the first week of each semester. As the community orchestra for Northeast Los Angeles, the Orchestra is not only open to all students but also alumni and community members.

Contact Chris Kim at

Chamber Music

Chris Kim, director

Study and performance of chamber music for diverse combinations of instruments and voices. Students audition during the first week of the semester for the director, who then selects repertoire and forms appropriate groups of student players. Students perform both music of the past (including the recent past) as well as new music composed for them by our music composition students, culminating in world premieres at the end-of-semester concert. Many of our applied faculty take part in coaching the chamber music ensembles, creating a unique advantage in being coached by members of the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra. Please note, only advanced pianists may use this course to fulfill the ensemble requirement for scholarship recipients and Music majors.

Contact Chris Kim at

Glee Club

Desiree La Vertu, director

Advanced study and performance of choral music. Emphasis is placed on the more difficult traditional choral repertoire, but the study of world music and popular music is included. Enrollment is for the full year and is by audition during the first week of the fall semester. Two hours of rehearsal per week for women and men separately, plus 2.5 hours combined rehearsal per week. Sight reading ability and previous musical experience highly recommended.

Auditions are a multi-stage process; see the Glee Club’s Prospective Members page for details.

Contact Desiree La Vertu at

College Chorus

Desiree La Vertu, director

College Chorus provides an opportunity for Occidental community members to sing in a large ensemble. Singers—both music readers and non-music readers—will benefit from the experience of performing music from a variety of traditions. Occasional collaborations with other Occidental ensembles will provide additional enrichment of the music-making experience. The chorus rehearses one evening each week and performs on-campus each semester. Enrollment for one or both semesters.

Auditions are not required for admission, but you will need to meet the director to determine your range and what part you will sing. A basic tonal memory and sight-reading test will also be given. The entire meeting will take around 5-10 minutes. All members of the Oxy community are welcome!

Contact Desiree La Vertu at

Jazz Ensemble

Jonathan Richards, director

The Jazz Ensemble meets weekly to rehearse, learn basic jazz theory, and practice improvisational skills. Jazz enables people of various ethnicities, cultures, nationalities, and backgrounds to come together and communicate through the common language of music. Along with concerts at the end of each semester, the ensemble raises jazz awareness and appreciation through periodic performances at campus events during the year.

Contact Jonathan Richards at

Afro-Cuban Drumming Ensemble (Spring Semester)

Joe Addington, director

In addition to practicing secular rumba drumming, students study the sacred rhythms of Santería and learn to sing the songs of the Orishas in the Yoruba dialect of Lucumi. Students attend weekly rehearsals with the ensemble and participate in a public performance at the end of the semester. No prior music experience is required.

Contact Joe Addington at

Son Jarocho Ensemble (Fall Semester)

Cesar Castro, director

Son Jarocho Ensemble introduces students to the songs and instrumental techniques of son jarocho, a musical genre from Veracruz, Mexico that mixes indigenous Mexican, African, Spanish, and Arabic sounds. Students learn to play jarana, the eight-stringed guitar that provides the harmonic scaffold for son jarocho. In addition to weekly rehearsals with the ensemble, students participate in a public performance at the end of the semester. No prior music experience is required.

Contact Cesar Castro at

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