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Jazz Ensemble

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Jazz at Wheaton offers a wide variety of performance opportunities to give you practical musical training grounded in the authentic articulation of the jazz language.

The Jazz Ensemble rehearses Tuesday and Thursday evenings from 7:00 to 8:30pm in Edman 102. Combo rehearsals are on Wednesday evenings.

Katie Ernst is the Jazz Ensemble director. You can reach her at katie.ernst@wheaton.edu.

Jazz Performances at Wheaton

  • November 12 - Wheaton Family Weekend Concert in Edman Chapel (7:30pm)
  • December 7 - Jazz Night at the Stupe in Beamer
  • March 1 - Jazz Combo Concert in Chatlos Studio 7:30pm
  • March 29 - Wheaton College Jazz Ensemble performs in Chapel from 10:40 to 11:20am, featuring a world-premiere commission by composer Russell Scarbrough
  • April 27 - Wheaton College Spring Jazz Concert (featuring jazz combos and ensemble) in Edman Chapel at 7:30pm

Wheaton Jazz Ensemble (big band, approx 18 members)

Showcase and Green Mill Combos (5-7 members each)

Jazz Ensemble:

  • 2 Alto Saxophones (clarinet and flute doubles preferred)
  • 2 Tenor Saxophones (clarinet and flute doubles preferred)
  • 1 Baritone Saxophone (clarinet and flute doubles preferred)
  • 4 Trumpets / 4 Trombones
  • Piano / Guitar / Upright Bass / Drums & Percussion
  • Voice


  • Instrumentation varies based on audition results
  • Clinics with visiting jazz musicians
    Past clinicians include saxophonists John Wojciechowski, Jarrard Harris, and Artie Black, Dr. Ron Carter, trumpeter Marquis Hill, saxophonist Caroline Davis, trumpeter Victor Garcia, drummer Joel Spencer, and many more!
  • Performances with touring jazz musicians
    Guest artists have included Dana Hall, Mike Lee & New Tricks, John Raymond Trio, and the Luke Gillespie Trio.
  • Trips to hear world-class jazz in Chicago
    Jazz outings include trips to the Chicago Jazz Festival, The Jazz Showcase and Symphony Center Jazz concerts.
  • Recording experience at WETN
    Combos record annually in spaces such as Wheaton's studios and the Chicago Recording Company.
  • Collaborative workshops with other Chicago-area jazz ensembles
  • Additional performances at The Stupe and at Chapel

Auditions will include a prepared excerpt from the big band repertoire (provided once audition has been scheduled), sight-reading, and an optional improvisation of over 12-bar blues (C, F or Bb). Students are also encouraged to perform a prepared tune or written excerpt. Students will be placed in ensembles based on ability and ensemble needs.

Note: Students do NOT need be a music major to audition, and do not need to re-audition once they have been accepted into the ensemble.


Audition Sign-Ups

Please email Katie Ernst to sign up in advance: katie.ernst@wheaton.edu

Develop your sound and improvisational method through one-on-one study with our outstanding roster of private teachers. To enroll in private study, visit the Conservatory office in McAlister Hall (2nd Floor) and send an email to your instructor of choice:

View Our Jazz Ensemble Gallery