The School of Music offers rich and diverse performance opportunities that are open to all Butler students, of any major, by audition. In addition to the ensembles listed below, there are numerous opportunities for participation in student-directed and chamber ensembles every semester.
Butler University Symphonic Wind Ensemble
Butler University Symphonic Wind Ensemble (BUSWE) is the university’s signature ensemble of wind, brass, and percussion instruments. Conducted by Prof. Michael Colburn, Director of Bands, the group is composed of students from majors across the university. In addition to regular performances in Butler’s highly acclaimed Howard L. Schrott Center for the Arts, the band has also performed at conferences and conventions for the Indiana Music Educators Association, Music Educators National Conference, College Band Directors National Association, and the American Bandmasters Association. BUSWE has worked with numerous outstanding guest conductors, including Dr. Frederick Fennell, H. Robert Reynolds, Karel Husa, Col. Arnald Gabriel, Dr. William Revelli, Col. L. Bryan Shelburne, Col. John Bourgeois, Cdr Allen Beck, and Dr. John Colbert. Soloists who have appeared with the band include Dame Evelyn Glennie, Doc Severinson, Zack De Pue, Jauvon Gilliam, the Canadian Brass, the American Brass Quintet, the Empire Brass Quintet, several members of “The President’s Own” U.S. Marine Band, and many members of Butler University’s esteemed faculty. Butler Bands have a long and distinguished history of commissioning and premiering new works for wind band, including works by Michael Abels, Stacy Garrop, Eric Ewazen, Scott McAllister, Daron Hagen, James Beckel, Jr., Robert Jager, and Butler University composers Michael Schelle, Frank Felice, and James Mulholland.
BUSWE rehearses from 2:25-4:25 on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays in Lilly Hall.
How to get involved: Acceptance and seating in the ensemble is based on auditions that occur at the beginning of each semester. Learn more about auditions on the Ensemble Placement Auditions webpage. Please direct any inquiries about BUWE to Prof. Michael Colburn (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Subscribe to the Butler Arts and Events Center FlyRail to see recent livestreamed performances or check out past performances on YouTube using the links below:
Butler Symphony Orchestra (BSO)
The Butler Symphony Orchestra offers an experience that is rich in repertoire, performances, and venues. It is open to all Butler students, regardless of major, by audition. In addition to regular performances in Butler’s highly acclaimed Howard L. Schrott Center for the Arts and the historic Clowes Memorial Hall, the BSO performs off-campus concerts throughout the state of Indiana, the Midwest, nationally and internationally as well as at national convention venues such as the BSO’s 1994 appearance at the Biennial National MENC Convention in Cincinnati, Ohio. In the pit of Clowes Hall, the BSO collaborates in stimulating performances with the Butler Ballet and other performance groups on campus.Students in the Butler Symphony Orchestra experience the best, including talented fellow students, exceptional faculty, and wonderful performance opportunities. Our full-time string artists and teachers offer personalized lessons and consultations as well as great chamber music coaching along with their wind and percussion colleagues who are members of the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra and the Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra.
How to get involved: Acceptance and seating in the ensemble is based on auditions that occur at the beginning of each semester. Learn more about auditions on the Ensemble Placement Auditions webpage. Please direct any inquiries about Professor Richard Auldon Clark at email@example.com.
View BSO performances at the Butler Arts and Events Center FlyRail, some performances require a subscription.
The Butler University Chorale is the premier choral organization of the Jordan College of the Arts. The Chorale’s membership is made up of graduate and undergraduate students from a variety of professional academic disciplines in music including music education, performance, and arts administration. The Chorale has a long history of excellence and has toured through much of the continental United States, Mexico and Europe, including a 1992 tour to Austria and Italy, a 1995 tour to the Czech Republic and France, and a 1998 tour to Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Italy.
Major concert appearances have included engagements with the National Chamber Orchestra of Mexico, the Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra, the Fort Wayne Philharmonic and such venues as Canterbury Cathedral, Saint Francis Church in Salzburg, Notre Dame in Paris, Saint Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican City and Saints John, Paul Church in Venice, and Super Bowl Halftime performance with Madonna.
The Chorale is under the direction of Eric Stark.
How to get involved: Membership is open to all Butler students, regardless of major, by annual auditions held once per semester. View details on the Ensemble Placement Audition webpage.
View performances at the Butler Arts and Events Center FlyRail and via the YouTube links below, some performances require a FlyRail subscription.
Enjoy contributing your voice to Butler’s multi-major choral experience. Butler’s large mixed chorus, the University Choir, is open to all freshmen, sophomores and upper-classmen students. As a collective ensemble students participate in not only the sound of the group but the life of the group. Diverse repertoire choices stretch and open the singers’ mental physical and spiritual journey throughout the fall and spring semesters. In addition to on-campus performances, including the Rejoice! Christmas concert in Clowes Memorial Hall, University Choir occasionally takes local and international tours and appears on Butler ArtsFest productions.
The University Choir is conducted by Dr. John Perkins, Associate Director of Choral Activities for the School of Music.
How to get involved: Membership in University Choir is open to all Butler students, regardless of major. An informal choral audition is required to join, please visit the Ensemble Auditions webpage for details or contact Dr. Perkins regarding your interest at firstname.lastname@example.org.
View performances at the Butler Arts and Events Center FlyRail, some performances require a FlyRail subscription.
Spectra (formerly Women’s Chorus) began in Fall 2014 as Butler’s first treble voice major ensemble. The choir is open to all treble voices on campus. Diverse repertoire choices stretch and open the singers’ mental physical and spiritual journey throughout the fall and spring semesters. In addition to on-campus performances, including the Rejoice! Christmas concert in Clowes Memorial Hall, Spectra occasionally takes local and international tours and appears on Butler ArtsFest productions.
Spectra is conducted by Dr. John Perkins, Associate Director of Choral Activities for the School of Music.
How to get involved: Membership in Spectra is open to all Butler students, regardless of major, by audition. Please contact Dr. Perkins regarding your interest in the ensemble at email@example.com.
The Chamber Singers, conducted by Dr. Eric Stark, is a select chamber choir specializing in a cappella repertoire or works suitable for small vocal ensemble with instrumental accompaniment. Chamber Singers is open to all Butler students through annual auditions. For details, contact Dr. Eric Stark at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Winner of DownBeat’s Large Ensemble category in the DownBeat Magazine Student Music Awards 2020, the Butler University Jazz Ensemble explores a wide range of music-from Fletcher Henderson and Duke Ellington (Nutcracker Suite) to contemporary composers like Maria Schneider and Gorden Goodwin. Student compositions are always featured. Membership in the Butler Jazz Ensemble is by audition only. Past guest artists include Bobby McFerrin and David Baker. The ensemble has performed at the Elmhurst Jazz Festival. At the 2004 festival it was named one of three outstanding ensembles and had four members designated as outstanding soloists. The Jazz Ensemble was named the undergraduate Read more about this honor here.
View performances at the Butler Arts and Events Center FlyRail, some performances require a subscription.
Jordan Jazz (vocal jazz)
Jordan Jazz is Butler’s vocal jazz ensemble, and is open to all students on campus through an annual audition. Contact Prof. Erin Benedict for details at email@example.com.
Membership in the Butler Jazz Combo is by audition. The combos explores the art of small group playing, specifically improvisation. Works for some of the best writers such as Slide Hampton, Cedar Walton, Benny Golson and Mulgrew Miller are explored. The combo maintains an active performing schedule.
Founded in 1985 by Butler University Composer-in-Residence Michael Schelle, the JCA Composers’ Orchestra (“New Music Ensemble”) is dedicated to the preservation (and presentation) of music by “not-dead-yet” composers.
The versatile, energetic, action-packed JCACO programs (nearly 250 concerts on and off campus since the mid-1980s) consist of new works by many JCA student composers as well as twentieth-century/avant garde classics and experimental new music by highly-respected contemporary composers from across the US and abroad. Featured guest composers with the JCACO over the past two decades have included George Crumb, John Adams, Chinary Ung, Christopher Young (film composer of Species, Hellraiser, etc.), Paul Chihara, David Stock, Dinos Constantinides, Karel Husa, Jim Fox, Elliott Schwartz, James Mobberley, Henry Gwiazda, Rocky Reuter, Masao Honma (Tokyo) and Aleksander Vujik (Prague).
Directed and conducted by Jon Crabiel, the JCA Percussion Ensemble and Steel Pan Ensemble, in addition to serving as a frequent guest artist for other concerts in and around the Indianapolis area, performs their concerts and a matinee concert series at Schrott Center for the Arts. The ensemble is made up of 10-20 percussion majors and non-majors and is one of the most popular performing ensembles on campus. Their concerts feature percussion music from all historical periods and from all musical styles including contemporary, classical, new age, rock, funk, folk, jazz, ragtime, calypso, African, Brazilian and Latin American.
Butler Opera Theatre presents fully staged, full-length productions of music theatre in its varied forms: opera, musical theatre, cabaret and review. One full-length production is offered each year, with scenes from operas and musical theatre offered on alternating semesters. This integrated forum provides the singing/actor with opportunities to analyze characters, explore subtext, determine motivation and effectively portray a musical character to an audience. Exercises, assignments, and performance experiences expose students to the practices of different eras and genres, while expert vocal coaching acquaints students with appropriate style and presentation. Students will have access to master classes given by guest artists and will work with visiting professional directors, choreographers and designers.
Recent productions include: Into the Woods by Stephen Sondheim, H.M.S. Pinafore by Arthur Sullivan, The Magic Flute by W.A. Mozart, The Medium by Gian-Carlos Menotti, Quilters by Barbara Damashek, and The Old Maid and the Thief by Gian-Carlos Menotti.
How to get involved: Contact Dr. Oliver Worthington at firstname.lastname@example.org.
View performances at the Butler Arts and Events Center FlyRail, some performances require a subscription.