Director's Note

It’s my pleasure to welcome you to the Jazz Ensembles of Mount Holyoke website! Students from all over campus with majors ranging from the Sciences to the Humanities converge on Pratt Music Hall each week to study and perform "America's classical music".

Speak with any Mount Holyoke jazzer, as they are affectionately called, and they will tell you of a wonderful feeling of community within our three groups. It's nothing short of amazing that in only three years, the original eight member instrumental combo grew into three ensembles featuring over forty singers and instrumentalists. And as the program celebrates its tenth anniversary in 2009, we continue to offer something for everyone from novice to advanced level.

Are you a brass, horn or rhythm section player with high school jazz or marching/concert band experience, and are looking for an opportunity to continue playing at college? Perhaps you have a background in classical music, but you have always wanted to try jazz. The twenty member Big Band, specializing in classic and contemporary repertoire from Basie to Baylock, is where seasoned instrumentalists work alongside inquisitive, excited beginners. For those with plenty of jazz experience already, plus an desire to play more complex styles like Dixieland and Fusion with other advanced level students, the Chamber Jazz Ensemble is for you.

If you are a singer and enjoy the ballads of the incomparable Lady Day or  "scatting"            in the style of Ella the Great, the twenty-four member Vocal Jazz Ensemble performs these selections and much, much more. And there are plenty of solo opportunities available for Vocal Jazz members with both Big Band and Chamber Jazz!

Jazz Ensemble participants appear in a number of concerts and events on campus which have fast become traditions, including the Family & Friends Weekend Concert in October; “Hot Jazz On A Cold Night!” in December; and March’s unique performance project, “The Big Broadcast!”, an authentic 1940’s radio show. We also seek opportunities to tour either on our own or with other department ensembles. 

Take a look around the site to see what we have to offer, and please email me should you want more information on how to participate.  I look forward to hearing from you! 

Best wishes,
Mark Gionfriddo
Director of the Jazz Ensembles of Mount Holyoke College

Music Department | Mount Holyoke College
This page was last updated on February 19, 2009.
Content © Jazz Ensembles of Mount Holyoke College | Photographs © Frederick J. LeBlanc