Music Department

The Music Department is a dynamic and creative force on the UW-Superior campus and in the community. A vital contributor to the liberal arts mission of the university, the UWS Music Department is known for its high-quality musical performances and excellence in music education. 

Check out the Our Hive: Arts and Community Events calendar to view information on our upcoming concerts and performances.

  • The Music Department is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Music (NASM) 
  • Music ensembles perform both locally and internationally 
  • Music majors and minors benefit from small class sizes and one-on-one study with world-class faculty 
  • Music students have the opportunity to collaborate with faculty on research and performance
  • The Music Department is home to the University of Wisconsin-Superior Community Music School in which students provide lessons for children in the community and faculty host professional development opportunities for K-12 music teachers.

The professors are extremely talented, and I admire them a lot.  One of the best aspects of the program is spending time with people who love the same thing that I do, which is music.

Sara Vindell,
Voice Performance

UW-Superior is a family, a second home to me, and I am so grateful for all my friends and the faculty for making me feel so welcome. The Music Department is one of the best in the Midwest! I have grown so much musically – sometimes can’t believe how much progress I’ve made.

Jon Weber,
Music Education-Instrumental

Music is my passion, and I am so grateful to now be sharing it as a music teacher. As a student at UW-Superior, I had many wonderful opportunities, such as traveling to Poland with the UW-Superior Choirs, and collaborating with the Duluth Superior Symphony Orchestra and chorus.

Kristiina Thums,
Music Education-Instrumental

Involvement Opportunities

The UW-Superior Music Department offers all students abundant opportunities to immerse themselves in music and showcase their talents. Each year, the calendar is full of performances, torus, and experiential learning opportunities. Take center stage and join a music ensemble at UW-Superior!

Vocal Ensembles

Chorale

The Chorale is the largest choral ensemble at UWS and is open to all students. The Chorale performs a variety of choral music throughout the year in performances both on and off campus. It is featured yearly in the celebrated Season of Song performances, one of the Twin Ports’ most beloved musical traditions. Members of the Chorale have the opportunity to travel both domestically and internationally.

UWS Singers

The UWS Singers is an advanced chamber choir open to all students by audition. Featuring UW-Superior’s most advanced vocal artists and comprised mostly of music majors, the UWS Singers perform technically difficult music and strive to develop pre-professional musical skills. The UWS Singers are featured in concerts throughout the region, participate in the annual Chorfest High School Honors Choir, and tour regularly. Members of the UWS Singers are required to participate in the Chorale.

For more information about choral ensembles, please contact Dr. Michael Fuchs

Opera Workshop

Opera Workshop provides performance-based instruction in opera, operetta, and musical theatre. Students develop and improve their performance skills through:

  •  theatre games 
  •  observations 
  •  discussions
  •  improvisations 
  •  rehearsing, preparing, and performing selected scenes and full-length operas
  •  attending live, professional opera – locally and regionally

Every other year, the UW-Superior Opera Workshop prepares and performs a full-length opera. Recent productions include:

  • Gilbert & Sullivan’s Trial by Jury 
  • Mozart’s The Magic Flute 
  • Franz Lehar’s The Merry Widow 
  • Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Mikado 
  • Johann Strauss’ Die Fledermaus
  • La Cenerentola (Cinderella) by Gioachino Rossini

In years when full-length operas are not performed, students do two- or three-scene performances, with the opportunity to perform a leading role in at least one scene each semester.

For more information about Opera Workshop, please contact Dr. Vicki Fingalson Madison.

Instrumental Ensembles

Orchestra

The UW-Superior Orchestra Program consists of the Chamber Strings and the Symphony Orchestra. The Symphony Orchestra focuses on larger orchestral works and presents the popular Music Department Concerto Competition. The Chamber Strings specializes in performance of both traditional and new compositions for string orchestra and has developed a reputation for innovative programming. The orchestra maintains an active annual performance schedule, which includes collaborations with the University Choirs and the Opera/Music Theatre program. The UW-Superior Chamber Strings has been featured multiple times in concert at the Wisconsin State Music Educators State Conference and presented concert tours in Brazil and China.

For more information about orchestra ensembles, please contact Dr. Erin Aldridge.

Symphonic Band

Any student with sufficient skill can be a member of the symphonic band regardless of major. Each year, UW-Superior hosts the Tri-State Honor Band and Jazz Ensemble Festival. The festival brings 110 of the most outstanding high school instrumentalists in the region to UW-Superior. The students work with nationally known clinicians and Music Department faculty as they prepare a concert held in the evening in conjunction with the symphonic band.

For more information about Symphonic Band, please contact Dr. Steven Siegel.

Jazz Ensemble

As a 17-piece big band, the Jazz Ensemble showcases the improvisational ensemble talents of UW-Superior students. Stylistic variety is the hallmark of this group, which includes modern jazz, Latin jazz, romantic ballads and classic big-band standards. 

The Jazz Ensemble performs frequently during the school year, including: 

  • Tri-State Honor Band Festival in November
  • Campus concerts 
  • Area high schools 
  • Annual UW-Eau Claire JazzFest

Jazz Combos

Student-led jazz combos perform multiple times on and off campus. Particularly popular are the noontime “Jazz Lunch” concerts in the Yellowjacket Union Atrium. Combos are the “chamber music” of jazz, allowing extensive opportunities for improvisation, aiding in the development of the musical personality of each player.

For more information about jazz ensembles, please contact Dr. Gregory Moore.

Percussion Ensemble

Offered every fall and open to all students, the UW-Superior Percussion Ensemble plays a wide variety of music including drum-based pieces, mallet-heavy arrangements, newly composed works, and transcriptions from the classical music tradition. Performers and audience members alike will experience the passion of a UWS Percussion Ensemble performance. In addition to collaborations with string orchestras, choirs, and rock bands, the ensemble has performed for the UW Board of Regents and gained national recognition as a featured performing group at the  Percussive Arts Society International Convention (PASIC).

Global Percussion Ensemble

The UWS Global Percussion Ensemble meets every spring semester to explore and perform percussion music from around the world. Students experience steel drum music from the Caribbean, African hand drumming traditions, and Samulnori drumming from Korea. The UWS Global Percussion Ensemble has studied with guest instructors who specialize in Brazilian folk music, African drumming, and Korean drumming. 

For more information about percussion ensembles, please contact Dr. Brett Jones.

Athletic Band

The Full Metal Jackets, UW-Superior’s rockin’ pep band, plays at UW-Superior men’s and women’s hockey and basketball games. The inspiring heavy rock music is a big hit with fans, players, coaches and even officials! The band enjoys the enthusiastic participation of many current and former students. 

For more information about Full Metal Jackets, please contact Dr. Gregory Moore.

International Tours

It is our goal to provide the opportunity for every student involved in large ensembles to perform abroad at least once during their time at UW-Superior. In 2023, we traveled to Ghana. Past tours have included: Estonia and Latvia, Poland, Panama, Italy, Costa Rica, China, Brazil, and Austria and Slovakia.

Commitment to Youth in our Community

Community Music School

Get involved with the UW-Superior Community Music School for a hands-on teaching experience with youth of all ages and skill levels.

Our student instructors, selected based off recommendations from esteemed music faculty, receive mentorship and even co-teach with university instructors. Current and aspiring music educators can also benefit from our FREE professional development sessions, covering topics such as folk music, teacher sharing, choral programs, music technology, and improvisation.

Student instructors receive the highest allotted starting wage for student employees.

It’s a way to get experience… ‘Am I actually going to like teaching? Let’s try it out.’ It’s a safe space because you still have instructors who are always around that you can ask questions. It’s a safe space.
Claire Jarman, ’25
Percussion Teacher
Music Education Major
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Choral Festivals

Chorfest

High school choral students experience a day of advanced choral and vocal study culminating with a performance in collaboration with professional musicians, UWS students and faculty.

Instrumental Festivals

Tri-State Band Festival

Each fall, more than 100 of the Northland’s best high school band musicians gather at UW-Superior to participate in master classes and concerts. Students spend the day working with music faculty and guest clinicians, culminating with a public concert in Thorpe Langley Auditorium.

Tri-State Jazz Festival

Area high school jazz bands take part in great performances and learn from highly regarded jazz musicians.

Honors Orchestra

Each fall, many of the top string high school musicians from around the Northland and beyond gather at UW-Superior to take part in performance and master class opportunities.

Sacred Music Symposium

High school and local organists participate in a day full of practical training on the basics of church service playing on the pipe organ.

Music Offerings

The UW-Superior Music Department offers students the chance to work closely with faculty who are accomplished and award-winning performers, teachers, authors and composers. In addition to one-on-one instruction from our highly qualified faculty, all music students participate in a peer mentorship program that bolsters academic success. UW-Superior music students are winners and finalists of prestigious competitions such as the Duluth-Superior Symphony Young Artist Competition and the Minnesota NATS Competition, and benefit from abundant experiential learning opportunities. Majors and minors offered include:

Connect by Musical Expertise

Reach out to faculty members based on their area of expertise.

Performance Facilities

Thorpe Langley Auditorium

Located in Old Main, Thorpe Langley Auditorium seats approximately 700. With a state-of-the-art acoustical shell and updated lighting and sound, it hosts choir, band, orchestra, opera and opera scenes, steel band and percussion ensemble concerts.

Webb Recital Hall

Webb Recital Hall is located in Holden Fine and Applied Arts Center and seats approximately 100. It is equipped with a Schlicker organ and is an excellent acoustical venue for recitals and small chamber music.

Rehearsal and Practice Facilities

Holden Fine and Applied Arts Center is home to the UW-Superior Music Department and a substantial number of music practice facilities:

  • A large rehearsal hall that was renovated in 2016 with adjustable acoustics and state-of-the-art audio, visual and recording capabilities
  • An acoustically-treated small ensemble rehearsal room
  • Numerous general practice rooms
  • Two organ practice rooms
  • Two percussion practice rooms

Other Facilities

In addition to practice facilities, Holden Fine and Applied Arts Center also contains:
  • Two Music Classrooms
  • Music Education Classroom
  • Midi Lab
  • Piano Lab
  • Recording Studio housed by KUWS

Auditions

Students who wish to major in music at UW-Superior must audition for admission to the Music Department. Live auditions are encouraged, though unedited recordings will also be accepted (one complete performance of two pieces). Prospective music students are encouraged to contact the Music Department to schedule a free trial lesson with their respective instrumental or vocal professor. 

If a student wishes to be a music minor, or simply be involved in the musical ensembles, that student does not need to audition. Please contact the appropriate ensemble director for information.

Audition Dates:

  • November 22, 2024 (Early Scholarship Decision)
  • January 31, 2025
  • February 28, 2025
  • April 25, 2025 (not for scholarship)

Audition Requirements:

Freshmen Students

  • All prospective music majors must audition for admission to the Music Department
  • Schedule an audition. After you’ve submitted the form, we will contact you within one to two business days with additional information.
  • Prepare two contrasting pieces for your audition; at least one classical piece is preferred.  
  • A letter of recommendation is required from your high school music teacher or private instructor. They should be emailed to music@uwsuper.edu prior to your audition. 
  • All new students are required to take a theory and aural skills assessment the day of their audition. For students submitting video auditions, the assessment will take place the week leading up to the start of the semester.

Transfer Students

  • Students transferring from other institutions must perform an audition on their Major instrument and take placement examinations in Keyboard, Music History and Theory before registering for Music courses at UW-Superior.
  • Students must include at least one letter of recommendation from a university ensemble director or applied music teacher as part of their application process. The letter should be addressed to Music Department Faculty and sent to music@uwsuper.edu.

Schedule an Audition

Scholarships

We have numerous scholarships to offer for qualified students. Incoming Students are automatically considered for scholarship based on their music audition.

View Music Scholarships

Meet the Department

Hector Landa
Associate Professor
Jeffrey Madison
Senior Lecturer
Betsy Husby
Senior Lecturer
Brett Jones
Professor
Vincent Osborn
Senior Lecturer
Kristiina Thums
Event Planning Assistant
Erin Aldridge
Professor
David Potter
Assistant Professor
Steven Siegel
Assistant Professor
Gregory Moore
Professor
Deborah Rausch
Senior Lecturer
Rachael Kresha
Senior Lecturer
Zoe Scherer
Department Assistant
Jacob Jonker
Senior Lecturer
David Leslie
Senior Lecturer
Michael Fuchs
Associate Professor & Music Dept. Chair
Melanie Sever
Senior Lecturer
Vicki Fingalson Madison
Professor
Alice Pierce
Senior Lecturer
Randy Lee
Senior Lecturer
Alexander Sandor
Senior Lecturer
Stanislav Venglevski
Lecturer Music