SOU Music offers a variety of ensemble experiences open to all SOU students. Students may attend the first scheduled meeting for ensemble placement.
Cascade Clarinet Consort
Rhett Bender, Director
Building on the tremendous success of the now world-renowned Siskiyou Saxophone Orchestra, Professor Rhett Bender of Southern Oregon University has created the Cascade Clarinet Consort (CCC). The Consort utilizes the entire family of clarinets from contra-bass to the Eb sopranino. In a collaborative learning environment, SOU Performing Arts students and faculty work together to compose, arrange and perform music unique to the clarinet. Arrangements and compositions are designed to showcase the facile energy of individuals and the beautiful blend of the clarinet family.
Last Fall the Cascade Clarinet Consort teamed-up with new SOU faculty Dr. Jeffrey Richmond. After listening to the Cascade Clarinet Consort, Dr. Richmond composed Leverage. Richmond conspired with CCC to tailor his composition to match the strengths of the ensemble. Leverage became an instant success and was performed several times in Oregon including a conference in Eugene. The CCC also performs arrangements by Salem, Oregon composer Mike Curtiss and is frequently joined in concert by the Siskiyou Saxophone Orchestra.
Jefferson State Choral Coalition
Kirby Shaw, Director
The Jefferson State Choral Coalition is a diverse group of people singing an irresistible variety of American popular music. Students and community members from all walks of life, from professional musicians to first-timers, and work side by side to study and perform the abundance of styles that make up the music of America. Now in its 16th year, the Coalition has proved to be much more than a choir. It is a family of music lovers who come together to share their hearts and blend their voices in joyous harmony.
Left Edge Percussion
Terry Longshore, Director
Left Edge Percussion is a contemporary percussion group in residence at the Oregon Center for the Arts at Southern Oregon University, led by artistic director Terry Longshore. The group tours and performs throughout the Northwest and actively collaborates on innovative projects with composers and artists of various media. The members of the group have been featured around the globe at prestigious festivals, competitions, conferences, and workshops and bring a diverse array of influences and collective energy to the ensemble. Left Edge Percussion has commissioned, co-commissioned, or premiered works by Joseph Bertolozzi, David Bithell, David Crowell, Bryan Jeffs, Alejandro Viñao, and Drew Wright.
In addition to regular performances at the Oregon Center for the Arts at Southern Oregon University, recent Left Edge Percussion performances include the Teatro Principal in Guanajuato, Mexico, the Center for New Music in San Francisco, Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics at Stanford University, Gold Lion Arts in Sacramento, Northwest Percussion Festival, Britt Music & Arts Festival, Oregon Shakespeare Festival Green Shows, Hipbone Studio in Portland, Ashland World Music Festival, the Oregon Fringe Festival, and the Percussive Arts Society International Convention (PASIC). In 2020 Left Edge Percussion will perform at the Bang on a Can Long Play Festival in New York City and the Wayward Music Series in Seattle, and in 2021 will be featured on the Other Minds Festival in San Francisco.
Maraval Rd. Steel Band
Reed Bentley, Director
Led by Reed Bentley, Maraval Rd. Steel Band is Southern Oregon’s premier professional steel band. Calypso, Soca, Panorama – they bring the best in authentic music from Trinidad and Tobago!
Performance Chamber Ensemble
Students work in small ensembles with intensive performing preparation. Includes but is not limited to: brass quintet, Gamelan ensemble, guitar ensemble, string quartet, jazz combo, and vocal ensemble.
Rogue Valley Symphony
Martin Majkut, Director
The Rogue Valley Symphony, now in its 51st season, is committed to bringing thrilling live performances of classical music to those living in and visiting the communities of Southern Oregon.
Under the direction of Music Director Martin Majkut, the Rogue Valley Symphony (RVS) presents from September through April a Masterworks subscription series of six concerts, each of which is performed in Ashland, Medford, and Grants Pass. Diverse repertoire by the greatest classical composers of the past and present, combined with renowned guest artists, create exceptional performances. The RVS also offers gorgeous Holiday Concerts in December, and a family Discovery Concert in Medford once each year.
The Rogue Valley Symphony is made up of professional musicians from the local area and beyond. Some musicians come from as far away as Portland, Eugene, Sacramento, and even the Bay area – attracted by the beauty of the area, the opportunity to work under Maestro Majkut, and by the chance to perform interesting repertoire in a supportive working environment.
Rhett Bender, Director
The Siskiyou Saxophone Orchestra (SSO) provides a collaborative learning environment for artists, students, faculty and staff at Southern Oregon University to create and perform music unique to the saxophone. Under the direction of Rhett Bender, Professor of Music at SOU, members of the SSO arrange, compose and commission music of all styles and musical periods. With saxophone voices from the bass through sopranino, the SSO showcases styles from symphonic, opera, vaudeville, American big band, world-music, Celtic Reels and original pieces written for the SSO. In October 2007 the SSO traveled to China where they performed to mobs of enthusiastic music fans. As the guests of the Longkou Jingsheng Musical Instrument Co., the SSO performed at the China Music Trade Show in Shanghai and at the northern seaside resort city of Yantai.
The SSO has performed live on the Oregon Shakespeare Festival Greenshow, Britt Festival, Oregon Music Educators’ Conference and the KTVL-Medford Channel 10 Morning News. They were honored by being selected for a performance at the XVth World Saxophone Congress in Bangkok, Thailand and last summer a consortium of the SSO opened for Branford Marsalis at the XVIth World Saxophone Congress in St. Andrews, Scotland. Go to saxophone.sou.edu for more information about saxophone activities at Southern Oregon University.
SOU Chamber Choir
Paul French, Director
Dedicated to the highest levels of ensemble singing, the SOU Chamber Choir has performed to acclaim throughout the west coast of the United States, and internationally in Asia, Europe, and Mexico. Praised by iconic composer Morten Lauridsen as “Superb … in the top rank of university chamber choirs in the United States”, the 40-voice ensemble specializes in the new and seldom-heard repertoire, as well as the performance of large-scale choral-orchestral works such as JS Bach’s Mass in b minor, and Saint Matthew Passion. Chamber Choir collaborated this Fall with internationally acclaimed soprano, Julianne Baird who praised the group for its “crystalline diction and pitch” saying that the performance achieved a “transcendence” and that it was a privilege to perform with them. The SOU Chamber Choir has performed numerous times with the Rogue Valley Symphony Orchestra, recorded for the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, and has been a featured ensemble at conventions for the National Association for Music Education.
SOU Concert Choir
Kendra Taylor, Director
SOU Concert Choir is made up of undergraduate students, graduate students, and community volunteers. Some singers are classically trained, while others are new to singing in a choir. Our singers work together to rehearse music from all time periods; Renaissance to present. We are thrilled to have graduate students and SOU Chamber Choir members as leaders in the ensemble. We also have music education students! This choir works as a team to create beauty. Concert Choir meets Monday and Wednesday evenings. We are always looking for new members.
SOU Jazz Ensemble
Dan Kocurek, Director
The Jazz Ensemble at SOU varies in size from 12-18 students and covers repertory of large ensemble jazz ranging from Duke Ellington and Count Basie to big band arrangements of popular songs by Snarky Puppy and Radiohead.
Jazz Ensemble focuses on developing student jazz musicians by providing an opportunity for a challenging ensemble experience while encouraging the performer to explore jazz improvisation. In addition, members have the opportunity to compose and arrange music for the ensemble. Membership is open to all students regardless of major, and also opens its doors to talented community members as well.
In addition, the group involves male and female vocalists and strings as needed. The Jazz Ensemble offers three performances on campus each school year, and also gigs in local venues as requested.
SOU Percussion Ensemble
Terry Longshore, Director
The Southern Oregon University Percussion Ensemble, directed by Dr. Terry Longshore, is dedicated to the performance of contemporary percussion repertoire and providing the members with a variety of musical experiences. The ensemble frequently collaborates with notable composers on premieres of new works, performing repertoire ranging from contemporary music to world traditions to jazz- and rock-inspired compositions.
The ensemble gives several concerts every year at the Oregon Center for the Arts at Southern Oregon University, as well as many performances throughout the Southern Oregon community and the Pacific Northwest. The ensemble performs yearly at the Northwest Percussion Festival and has appeared at the Teatro Principal in Guanajuato, Mexico, the Percussive Arts Society International Convention (PASIC), Stanford University, the Trinity Alps Performing Arts Center, and the Oregon Fringe Festival. In 2020 the ensemble will perform at the Bang on a Can Long Play Festival in New York City.
The ensemble has collaborated with many guest artists including Steven Schick, Mark Applebaum, Hands On’Semble, Steve Smith, Bonnie Whiting, William Kraft, Erik Griswold, Vanessa Tomlinson, Ivan Manzanilla, Dana Reason, Tatsuya Nakatani, Lynn Vartan, Matthew Coley, Brad Dutz, and Nebojsa Jovan Zivkovic. The ensemble has commissioned, co-commissioned, or premiered works from Mark Applebaum, Michael Gordon, Elliott Cole, Ivan Trevino, Bryan Jeffs, Jared Brown, Chris Burton Jácome, Jodi French, Mark Knippel, Colin Malloy, Jeff Richmond, Stephen Truelove, and Terry Longshore.
The SOU Percussion Ensemble has self-released two CDs, La Alma del Árbol – The Soul of the Tree, and Electric Rebel Poetry, and is featured on two Innova Recordings CDs of the music of Stanford University composer Mark Applebaum: 30 (2015) and Speed Dating (2018), as well on the Cantaloupe Music recording of Michael Gordon’s Natural History (2018) and the PBS documentary, Symphony for Nature (2018). The SOU Percussion Ensemble endorses Vic Firth Sticks and Mallets.
SOU Raider Band
Bryan Jeffs, Director
The SOU Raider Band brings excitement and energy to many athletic and social events around campus and beyond. Specializing in old school pep band standards, drum line jams, and a mix of modern pop and rock hits, the band covers a wide variety of music for numerous occasions. When the Raider Band plays, the entire SOU campus comes together, overcome by the infectious groove of Raider spirit!
SOU Wind Ensemble/Rogue Valley Symphonic Band
Dan Kocurek, Director
Beginning in the Fall of 2019, SOU’s premiere instrumental large ensemble – the Wind Ensemble – has partnered with the Rogue Valley Symphonic Band, an auditioned adult Wind Ensemble comprised of local professionals and talented amateurs. This group performs four-concert series per year, in programs consisting of everything from live movie soundtracks to the exciting music of David Maslanka, John Mackey, Julie Giroux, and other legends of composition. This ensemble primarily dedicates itself to the performance of living, breathing music.
Youth Symphony of Southern Oregon
Cynthia Hutton, Director
Founded in 1988, the Youth Symphony of Southern Oregon (YSSO) provides high-level training and performance opportunities to aspiring young brass, string, percussion and woodwind musicians from throughout the region and presents inspiring performances of standard literature and masterworks, concerti, commissioned music, chamber music, and arrangements for preparatory ensemble. Next season marks the organization’s 32nd year of performances for Rogue Valley audiences.
Concert Series performances in the Rogue Valley’s top professional venues feature an amazing array of music by Holst, Weber, Copland, Rossini, Villa-Lobos, Beethoven, Beach, Higdon, Jacobs, Tchaikovsky, Brahms, Mozart, Hovhaness, and many others. Please join us at the performances and discover the phenomenal musicians of the Youth Symphony of Southern Oregon.
Contact the Music Program
SOU Music Program
1250 Siskiyou Blvd.
Ashland, OR 97520 541.552.6101