Music Ensembles | College of Arts

Music Ensembles


The Music Department (in the School of Fine Art & Music) welcomes you to our ensembles, which are open to all University of Guelph Music students!
We offer you the opportunity to participate in one of our five ensembles (see details below):
  1. Choral Ensembles: Symphonic Choir
  2. Gryphon Singers (auditioned chamber choir)
  3. Music Industry Skills Ensemble 
  4. Experimental Practices Ensemble (NEW)
  5. Jazz Ensemble

Why should I participate in an ensemble?

UG Ensembles will help you to:
  • Improve your musical performance skills as an individual musician and as a member of a group.
  • Connect regularly with your peers.
  • Learn and perform more repertoire for your instrument/voice
  • Network with Guelph musicians in and beyond the University
While participation in an ensemble may be something you do for fun in your free time, we STRONGLY RECOMMEND that you register for the course, so you can get the academic credit for it at the same time! Read how to register in courses below.

What courses can I take?

Please note: Ensemble courses are 0.25 credits and may be taken as an overload or may complement other courses of 0.25 or 0.75 or 1.25 credits. Check with your Academic Advisor for more information.
First year students can take:
  • MUSC*1910 (Choral) OR 1710 (Instrumental) in the Fall
  • MUSC*1920 (Choral) OR 1720 (Instrumental) in the Winter
  • All ensemble courses are offered every Fall and Winter semester, so there is no required start time.
All music majors are required to take:
  • MUSC*1410: Music and Creative Practice (applied music or individual lessons) and start taking ensemble courses in first year
  • Ensemble courses: students entering the program starting in Fall 2022 will take 6 ensemble courses. When choosing courses, students should pay attention to the prerequisites for upper-level courses. 

How do I join an ensemble?

You're encouraged to email the Ensemble Contact, listed below with each description, on the first day of classes each fall and winter semester to schedule a placement hearing. This meeting will help the Ensemble Contact to determine which ensemble is most appropriate for your level of experience.


Instrumental Ensemble Descriptions and Courses

Students may gain credit through participation in one of the instrumental ensembles. Students must supply their own instrument (piano excepted). 

  • Courses: MUSC*1710, 1720, 2720, 3710, 3720

  • Academic Calendar: 

Experimental Practices Ensemble

Members of the Experimental Practices Ensemble commit to asking the question, “What if…?” and then exploring the possibilities in real time, (re)considering what performance can and can't be in a fun and supportive environment. We will investigate free and structured improvisation, graphic scores, game pieces, gestural languages, process pieces, and whatever else we find together -- very much including ways that elements of musical, theatrical, visual, movement, and other elements can be integrated into multidisciplinary ensemble play.

Weekly Commitment: Weekly rehearsals will be scheduled for Monday evenings.

Ensemble Contact: Joe Sorbara, Experimental Practices Ensemble Director -


Jazz Ensemble

Through the study of selected jazz repertoire and practices, you will develop the knowledge and ability to engage with the creative, expressive, and technical requirements of jazz performance. This includes the structural, melodic, rhythmic, improvisational practices and concepts that will be applied to jazz standards, Bebop, Blues, Fusion, Modal, and Latin jazz. 

  • Weekly Commitment:

    • Weekly rehearsals will be scheduled for Thursday evenings. 
  • Ensemble Contact:

Music Industry Skills Ensemble

This course will provide important training if you wish to pursue careers in the music industry, including vocalists studying commercial singing.

You'll develop industry specific skills such as, the economics of booking performance or creative space, and the ability to adapt across a variety of genres essential for professional musicians. By working in small groups, you'll learn to interact in different ensemble settings, mediated by technology (live and recorded), as well as arrange, improvise, and create. Overall, this ensemble will better prepare you for your post-graduation career.

  • Weekly Commitment:

    • Weekly rehearsals will be scheduled for Wednesday evenings.
  • Ensemble Contact:

Choral Ensemble Descriptions and Courses

As a vocalist, you can get credit for rehearsing and performing with one of the University of Guelph Choirs. As a member of a choir, you'll become a valued member of the community, thriving on mutual respect, dedication, and a constructive atmosphere. You'll develop professionalism, healthy use of the voice, musicality, artistry, and ensemble skills. 

  • Courses: MUSC*1910, 1920, 2910, 2920, 3910, 3920

  • Academic Calendar: 

Symphonic Choir

As a member of this choir, you'll focus mostly on choral-orchestral masterworks, including some world music, spiritual, and songs from folk traditions. The ensemble includes students, staff, community members and faculty from all disciplines. 

  • Weekly Commitment:

    • Weekly rehearsals will be scheduled for Tuesday evenings

  • Ensemble Contact:

The Gryphon Singers: Chamber Choir

As a member of this choir, you'll focus on a cappella music from Renaissance polyphony to avant-garde, vocal jazz and world music. This ensemble includes students and alumni who specialize in fields as diverse as veterinary medician, international development, languages, applied sciences, and music. 

  • Weekly Commitment:

    • Twice-weekly rehearsals will be scheduled for Monday AND Wednesdays from 5:30pm-6:30pm
  • Ensemble Contact: