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.

Jazz Ensemble

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

Information about ticket pricing and how to purchase them will be updated by September.

Jazz Ensemble Concert
Friday, November 11, 2022 7:30 – 9:30pm
Armerding Center for Music and the Arts Concert Hall             

Jazz Ensemble Concert
Friday, March 24, 2023 7:30 – 9:30pm
Armerding Center for Music and the Arts Concert Hall            

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
    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 (Melody to ‘Tenor Madness 2022 Jazz Audition Music’) and an optional improvisation of over 12-bar blues in Bb. Students are also invited to perform a prepared tune or additional written excerpt. Drummers should demonstrate their ability to playtime in the following styles: medium swing, fast swing, straight ballad with brushes, samba, and Afro Cuban 6/8. Students will be placed in ensembles based on ability and ensemble needs.

Note: Students do NOT need to be a music major to audition and do not need to re-audition once they have been accepted into the ensemble. Returning members must register for jazz before Aug 26. 

Auditions for the 2022-2023 school year are to be submitted through the Ensemble Auditions Form.

Please email Katie Ernst with any questions: 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 the Armerding Center for Music and the Arts and send an email to your instructor of choice:

Jazz Ensemble Clips

Benny Carter - Central City Sketches

View Our Jazz Ensemble Gallery