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Due to the rapidly evolving COVID-19 situation, McMaster University has made the difficult decision to cancel all discretionary events held at or hosted by the university until at least the end of April. This includes all Winter 2020 Ensemble Concerts.

For up-to-date information on McMaster’s operations during the COVID-19 situation please visit



McMaster Ensembles: Make Music Your Forté!

Did you know that almost 250 McMaster Students participate in our ensembles every year?  Ensembles best exemplify Music at the School of the Arts.  Through cooperation, passion, diversity, and collaborative music-making, the ensembles provide students across campus with an abundance of opportunities to share their talents, while broadening their musical interests and performance skills.


All of our ensembles explore a rich variety of musical styles and ranges, from large concert ensembles to smaller, intimate performing groups.


University Choir 

Cantemus Vocal Ensemble (formerly Women’s Choir) 

Chamber Orchestra 

Concert Band

David Gerry Flute Ensemble 

Jazz Band 

Percussion Ensemble


Auditions are open to all McMaster students, irrespective of Faculty or Program and can be used for academic credit upon successful audition.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, McMaster Ensembles will run differently in fall 2020; please refer to updated information below of each Ensemble and their respective audition process. For those who are interested in participating in any of the Ensembles, please fill in THIS SURVEY which outlines your interest and remote-learning situation. Please note that this survey does not replace any audition forms required by the specific Ensemble(s) you are planning to apply for. Individual ensembles may also require additional surveys for planning. Ensembles are expected to return to normal, i.e. in-person, in winter 2021, although this cannot yet be guaranteed.



McMaster University Choir (1-4GC3) & Cantemus Vocal Ensemble (1-4GW3)


The McMaster University Choir & Cantemus Vocal Ensemble is made up of the McMaster University community, with a strong focus on academic and artistic excellence, musical proficiency, and personal growth. The McMaster University Choirs’ mission is to create choral music with artistry and integrity through choral repertoire study, technical facility, and creative collaboration. Directed by Dr. Tracy Wong, the choirs consist of auditioned singers across campus who specialize in fields as diverse as Science Rehabilitation, Economics Policy, Engineering, Nursing, Music Cognition, Music Performance, and Mathematics & Statistics. Students are encouraged to take the choirs for credit (not compulsory). Cantemus Vocal Ensemble (formerly Women’s Choir) was the Winner of the 2015 National Competition for Canadian Amateur Choirs, organized by Choral Canada. The choirs have an active schedule of collaborative engagements throughout the year. Recent performances:

March 2019: Cantemus Vocal Ensemble performed Debussy’s “Sirens” (from Nocturnes) and Holst’s “Neptune” (from The Planets) with Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra

November 2019: McMaster University Choir performed Terry Riley’s Sunrings with Kronos Quartet

McMaster University Choirs are members of Choirs Ontario.


How will Choirs look like in 2020-21?

Choirs will be online for Fall 2020, with the possibility of returning to in-person in Winter 2021, pending health and safety guidelines. We will focus on unique opportunities in developing well-rounded and independent musicians through a redesigned choral process. In the absence of live musical engagement and performances, we will be focusing on the values of the rehearsal process through a deeper study of choral literature and performance practice, the development of vocal and musical skills, and participation in creative collaborations through technology. There will be opportunities to engage with peers, guest musicians, and other choirs.


Meeting Times

University Choir Rehearsals: Tuesday 5:30 – 8:30pm

Women’s Choir Rehearsals: Thursday 5:30 – 8:30pm

Via Zoom Meetings – links will be provided prior to the sessions.


For more information about the choirs:

Check out McMaster University’s Daily News’ recent write-ups on the choirs here and here.

Facebook: McMasterUniversityChoir

Instagram: @mcmasterchoirs

Audition Schedule: please book a live audition slot by August 7, 2020

For returning students (students who have been a part of these choirs in previous years):

  • Aug 10: 10am-12pm, 4-6pm
  • Aug 11: 10am-12pm, 4-6pm
  • Aug 12: 10am-12pm, 4-6pm

For new students (students who have not been a part of these choirs before):

  • Aug 13: 10am-12pm, 4-6pm
  • Aug 14: 10am-12pm, 4-6pm
  • Aug 15: 10am-12pm, 1-3pm

Please refer to THIS AUDITION GUIDE for detailed information on the audition process. Questions regarding the auditions, rehearsals, and concerts can be directed to Dr. Tracy Wong at




McMaster Chamber Orchestra (1-4GR3)

Specializing in exciting and inspiring repertoire, the McMaster Chamber Orchestra (MCO) provides musically talented students from across campus with the opportunity to develop their performance skills to a maximum. Due to the ongoing COVID-19 restrictions, and after much discussion, the decision has been taken to run the MCO ‘online’ this fall. Obviously, this raises a number of issues, which are addressed below.

(1) For the upcoming year, there will be no audition for previous MCO members–i.e. if you played in the orchestra last year and wish to continue, you will be permitted to do so. This will hold true for the whole academic year.

(2) New MCO applicants will be required to submit a video of themselves performing two contrasting pieces (maximum 4 minutes in duration). Please upload your audition video to your Google Drive, and email Dr. Woolhouse ( and Brandon Ruan ( the shareable link for access to that video. We request that you please set the shareable link settings to “access to anyone with the link.”

The deadline for audition videos is Wednesday 9 September, 2020. All MCO members are encouraged to take MUSIC 1/2/3/4GR3 (Chamber Orchestra) for credit.

(3) The music for the fall term will be sent to performers as both pdf scores and audio files–your task will be to learn to play your parts in time with the audio files. Towards the end of the term, players will make audio recordings (without video) of themselves playing the repertoire in time with the original audio files–players will do this by listening to the audio files via an earbud, which will enable their performances to be synchronized. Recording “in-time” performances will be crucial for the final stages of the process: mixing together your individual audio recordings to create an end-of-term multiplayer performance (the mixing will be done by an audio engineer).

(4) Throughout the fall term, MCO members will be required to have regular Zoom appointments with Dr. Woolhouse and Brandon Ruan (MCO Assistant Manager), where progress will be discussed with each player individually. Players’ audio recordings will serve as the performance-test component of the course for the fall term.

(5) To mark the 250th anniversary of Beethoven’s birth in 1770, the repertoire for the fall term will be a ‘composite symphony’, composed of movements from his 1st, 2nd, 6th, and 7th symphonies:

(i) 6th Symphony, 1st Movement
(ii) 7th Symphony, 2nd Movement
(iii) 2nd Symphony, 3rd Movement
(iv) 1st Symphony, 4th Movement

We hope the above clarifies some of the questions you may have about the upcoming year. Obviously, the MCO being online this fall is not ideal–ensemble performance is primarily about playing music with other musicians; no online experience, however well intentioned, can replace the live experience. That said, we hope, given the inspiring repertoire listed above and the likelihood of a return to live performance in the winter term, that you will invest your energy, considerable talents and time in the MCO.

Those of you who still possess a borrowed SOTA instrument, please contact Prof. Joseph Resendes ( ASAP, thank you.

McMaster Concert Band (1-4GB3)

The McMaster University Concert Band (MCB), under the direction of Joseph Resendes, has been a leading ensemble within the School of the Arts and the Hamilton community for over 45 years.  The ensemble is comprised of 70+ enthusiastic and talented wind, brass, and percussion players belonging to various disciplines and degree programs across campus.  It is our mission to prepare and perform quality wind band literature while providing our musicians with a rewarding artistic experience.  This is accomplished through creative thematic programming, focused music proficiency, and meaningful collaborative experiences with other students, faculty, and guest artists.

Students are encouraged to take concert band for credit.  The MCB rehearses once per week and performs 3 regular performances in addition to collaborative performances and community engagements that are scheduled throughout the year.

Whether you want to be challenged as a player or just want to have fun playing music, the McMaster University Concert Band will not disappoint!  Auditions are open to all McMaster University students.

Previous Directors: Mr. Lee Hepner, Mr. Don Allen, Mr. Peter Hughes, Mr. Howard Cable, and Dr. Keith Kinder.


Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the McMaster University Concert Band will run differently in the upcoming fall term.  All activities will be held online, with the possibility of a return to in-person rehearsals in Winter 2021 pending decisions and safety guidelines provided by the university, public health officials, and government agencies.


Despite our inability to engage musically in a live setting, we will continue to provide our musicians with educationally rewarding musical experiences.  This will include several online collaborative projects, guest musicians, and other opportunities that allow us to engage with the music community. In addition, we will continue to develop the necessary skillsets required of ensemble performance practices, sectional playing, listening skills, with a thorough study of repertoire, and ample opportunities to engage socially online with your peers.


Online Meetings:

Our regular rehearsal days/times will be substituted for weekly online sessions and will focus on a range of elements (sectional rehearsals, repertoire discussions, guided listening sessions etc).  Detailed information and schedules will be posted on Avenue to Learn following auditions.


THURSDAY 6:30pm – 9:00pm
(weekly via online video conference applications)


NEW STUDENTS DEADLINE: September 11, 2020


2020 Audition Requirements can be found here:


For more information, please contact Joseph Resendes at


Those of you who still possess a borrowed SOTA instrument are asked to contact Joseph Resendes ASAP.


The David Gerry Flute Ensemble (1-4GF3)

Flute Ensemble will be online for Fall 2020, with the possibility of returning to in-person in Winter 2021, pending health and safety guidelines.

Tuesday 6:30 – 9:00pm via Zoom Meetings. Links will be provided prior to the sessions.

Auditions are by appointment August 25 – September 4, 2020.  Contact Sara Traficante by email ( to set up an appointment and receive audition requirements.




McMaster Jazz Band (1-4GJ3)

“Did you play in your high school jazz band and wish you could stay involved in music here at McMaster? Are you interested in learning something about jazz improvisation?

The McMaster University Jazz Band will be holding auditions for the following instruments: alto saxophone, tenor saxophone, baritone saxophone, trombone, trumpet, guitar, piano, bass (electric or upright) and drums.

Auditions will be held online using Zoom Wednesday, Sept. 9 from 3:30 to 9:30 pm.

The band will rehearse online each Wednesday evening, preparing and recording music for an end-of term online performance.

Develop your skills in ensemble playing, sight reading, remote recording and jazz improvisation in a friendly and supportive environment – BIG FUN every Wednesday night!

Rehearsals: Wednesday 6:30 – 9:30pm on Zoom.

Audition Information can be found here and click HERE to sign-up online.






McMaster Percussion Ensemble (1-4GP3)

The McMaster Percussion Ensemble brings together a dynamic group of students from across campus sharing an interesting in drums.  Our potential repertoire includes drum trios, transcriptions of well known musical works, solo features, and new repertoire exploring the boundaries of the percussive arts.  The ensemble is open to anyone with a background in percussion (regardless of degree program) with permission of the director.

The group typically plays two on-campus concerts each year, with
occasional off-campus performances.  After successful performances at
“Day of Percussion” Festivals in Toronto (2018) and Ottawa (2019), the
group is quickly gaining recognition for excellence in percussion
blending students pursuing both formal and informal study of music.
This year-long course (1GP3, 2GP3, 3GP3, 4GP3) will rehearse Tuesday
evenings 5:45-8:45. Please see for
information on Fall 2020 plans, and links for information on

For more information see

Rehearsals: Tuesday 6:30 – 9:30pm

Room: LRW Concert Hall

Audition Information: September 3 & 5, 2019.  Click HERE to sign-up online