Performing Ensembles

Grades K-adult

The ensemble experience can be one of the most rewarding aspects of music study. Whether in a choir, orchestra, or chamber group, joining with others to create music builds musicianship, provides motivation for individual study, and continually challenges the performer with new works. It also happens to be lots of fun!

There are audition/placement requirements for all ensembles with the exception of Choral Readiness and Schola Choir. Students who audition for an ensemble and are not accepted will receive a full refund of all fees and deposits. For more information on audition requirements, contact the main Conservatory office at 609-921-7104.


Choral Ensembles

  • Choral Readiness
    Katherine Chen, Instructor
    Grades K-1
    Choral Readiness focuses on music making appropriate for children ages 5 to 7 years, with an emphasis on vocal music development, and serves as the training choir for Schola Choir. Singing games and movement provide a repertoire of musical experiences from which lessons in music theory and singing are derived. Basic musicianship skills are taught, including healthy singing and tonal and rhythmic music reading. Musical repertoire includes both folk and art music of high quality. The choir will have the opportunity to perform at least once on the Westminster campus or off campus. Choral Readiness is comprised of both experienced and inexperienced singers. Enrollment is limited. Princeton location only.
    Number of rehearsals: 32
    Rehearsal length: 45 minutes
    Tuition: $400
    Schedule: Saturday 9:00, 10:00 and 11:00 a.m.
  • Schola Choir
    Yvonne Macdonald, Conductor
    Grades 2-3
    This ensemble serves as the training choir for Concino Choir. Rehearsal time is spent on the development of vocal, choral, and sight-reading skills. Repertoire is studied in both unison and parts and concerts are presented with both the older and the younger choirs. A variety of choral repertoire is introduced, culminating in performances in Bristol Chapel on the Westminster Choir College campus and in local choral festivals. Princeton location only.
    Number of rehearsals: 32
    Rehearsal length: 50 minutes
    Tuition: $408
    Materials fee: $20
    Schedule: Saturday 9:00 a.m.
  • Concino Choir
    Patty Thel, Conductor
    Grades 4-5
    The choral repertoire for Concino Choir spans various periods and styles of music. Students are expected to commit for the full academic year. Concino Choir performs at Westminster Choir College and in the Princeton area throughout the year, including an annual concert with the Westminster Community Orchestra in Richardson Auditorium at Princeton University. This past year the choir sang at the Governor's mansion. An audition/interview is necessary for new students to determine vocal range and prior experience. Students who are moving up from Schola Choir are not required to audition. Princeton location only.
    Number of rehearsals: 32
    Rehearsal length: 60 minutes
    Tuition: $416
    Materials fee: $20
    Schedule: Saturday 10:00 a.m.
  • Cantus Choir (Middle School Honors Choir)
    Patricia Thel, Conductor
    Grades 6-8
    Cantus Choir performs frequently at Westminster Choir College, Princeton University, and in other venues as opportunities arise. Each year the choir sings children’s choral literature with the Westminster Community Orchestra. Repertoire includes a variety of sacred and secular choral music of the highest quality. Over the past 10 years, the choir has performed three times at the White House, once at the National Cathedral, and this past season at the United Nations and Weill Recital Hall in Carnegie Hall, by special invitation. Cantus performs frequently with the Trenton Children's Chorus at Princeton University. An audition is required for all new. Princeton location only.
    Number of rehearsals: 32
    Rehearsal length: 90 minutes
    Tuition: $512
    Materials fee: $20
    Schedule: Saturday 11:00 a.m.
  • Westminster Community Chorus
    Devin Mariman, Conductor
    High School through Adult
    The Westminster Community Chorus provides an opportunity for high school singers and adults in the community to share the pleasure of choral singing. The chorus is open to amateur singers from beginning to advanced.  Westminster is renowned for choral excellence and this long-standing tradition will be shared with the community. Rehearsals will culminate with two or three performances per year. Audition required for new members. Princeton location only.
    Number of rehearsals: 32
    Rehearsal length: 2 hours
    Tuition: $256
    Materials fee: $35
    Schedule: Tuesday 7:30 p.m.
  • Community Chamber Choir
    Devin Mariman, Conductor
    Adults
    Drawn from the Westminster Community Chorus, this select choir will perform music intended for a smaller ensemble, including motets, madrigals and other works. Prior choral experience and sight-reading ability are required. Audition required yearly for all members. Princeton location only.
    Number of rehearsals: 32
    Rehearsal length: 40 minutes
    Tuition: $96
    Schedule: Tuesday 7:00 p.m.

Instrumental Ensembles

  • Princeton Charter School/Westminster Conservatory Youth Orchestra
    Ruth Ochs, Conductor
    Grades 5-8
    Based at Princeton Charter School, the Conservatory Youth Orchestra is an ensemble for intermediate to advanced players in grades 5 to 8. This orchestra builds upon a core membership of middle-school musicians from the Princeton Charter School. The orchestra rehearses weekly at Princeton Charter School and will perform at least two concerts throughout the school year. The music ranges from the baroque to the modern, from classical to popular. The atmosphere is non-competitive and supportive of growing musicians, but also aims to develop important facets of orchestral playing, such as good intonation, bow technique (for string players), ensemble blending, and general listening techniques. Musicianship (including scale mastery) and music appreciation are integrated as well. Prerequisites for participation in the orchestra include: a minimum of two years of study; ability to play major and minor 2-octave scales; strong reading skills. It is also recommended that members of the ensemble take private lessons. Students interested in joining the ensemble should submit a teacher recommendation with their registration.
    Number of rehearsals, including performance(s): 32
    Rehearsal length: 75 minutes
    Tuition: $400
    Schedule: Thursday 5:45 p.m.
  • Rider University Concert Band
    Jerry Rife, Conductor
    Middle School through Adult
    Experienced brass, woodwind, and percussionists who share an interest in band music, and who enjoy making music with other musicians are welcome to audition for acceptance in the Rider University Concert Band. In the tradition of community spirit and collaboration, the band may join forces with the Blawenburg Band for community celebrations and performances throughout the academic year with Dr. Jerry Rife at the podium. Audition required. Rider University (Lawrenceville) campus only.
    Number of rehearsals, including performance(s): 28
    Rehearsal length: 90 minutes two times per week
    Tuition: $210
    Schedule: Tuesday and Thursday 4:30 p.m.
  • Westminster Community Orchestra
    Ruth Ochs, Conductor
    Adults
    This full-size orchestra offers adults in the community the opportunity to share the pleasure of orchestral playing. The ensemble is open to dedicated amateur musicians from intermediate to advanced levels. Coaching, sectional rehearsals, and Princeton-area performances throughout the year are an integral part of the program. Past performances have included Bartók’s Concerto for Orchestra, Brahms’ Symphony No. 2, and Copland’s Billy the Kid Suite. Inquiries welcome during the year. Audition required. For information, e-mail wcorch@rider.edu. Princeton location only.
    Number of rehearsals: 32
    Rehearsal length: 2-1/2 hours
    Tuition: $256
    Schedule: Wednesday 7:30 p.m.

Performing Ensemble Faculty
Katherine Chen
Yvonne Macdonald
Devin Mariman
Ruth Ochs
Jerry Rife
Patricia Thel

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