Music Ensembles

music ensembles


Register for Summer Classes

 Join one of our ensembles, including:


  Instrumental and Voice



DJEMBE ENSEMBLE (LMU 0118): Develop djembe technique and hand coordination. Add more rhythms to your repertoire in an ensemble setting. Whether you’ve always wanted to drum, or are an experienced player who wants to continue to enjoy learning, there’s a place in our class for you. This class is designed for players at multiple levels, so you may repeat this class as needed as there are dozens of rhythms to learn at every skill level; rhythms change from session to session. Djembes will be provided for the duration of the class. 

EXPERIMENTAL PROGRESSIVE METAL JAZZ FUSION ENSEMBLE (LMU 0540): The name is a long one but represents your willingness to explore many potential musical areas. This group is for someone with a rock-oriented background wanting to explore a sort of experimental, progressive jazz sound. We are looking for experienced guitarists, bassists, drummers, keyboardists, woodwind and brass players who want to take rock to different places. Need an example of what we mean? Start with T.R.A.M. and Gordian Knot.

GUITAR ENSEMBLE: ADULTS (LMU 0145): Guitarists, here is your chance to play in an ensemble devoted to guitar music at its best. This group class will focus on performance techniques such as cueing, following a conductor and communication between players. Groups consisting of duos, trios, quartets and more will work together. Students must be able to read all the natural notes in first position and know C, G, D, A, E, a minor, e minor and d minor chords. At least one concert per semester will be presented by the group. Open to students age 16 and older. Also offered for credit as MUS145-C04. 

HIGH SCHOOL JAZZ IMPROVISATION WORKSHOP (LMY 0247): The 6-weeks long Jazz Improvisation workshop is devised as an introductory study to entry level students of jazz. Young musicians will have the opportunity to develop and improve their improvisational abilities through the study of standard jazz repertoire. Topics include swing, blues, ii-V progression, rhythm changes, modes, form, transcription, ensemble playing, critical listening, theoretical concepts, and historical figures in jazz. It is assumed that the students have no prior exposure to jazz art form, but are familiar with rudimentary concepts of music theory, and have basic-intermediate knowledge of their instruments. The four hours a week that the students will spend with the instructor are adequate time to introduce them to these concepts in a lecture/rehearsal setting, and then showcase the newly acquired skills in a final performance. Open to ages 14 - 18.

PIANO ENSEMBLE (LMU 0433): Provides students with piano proficiency the opportunity to perform in a chamber music ensemble. Stresses sight reading and musicianship. Develops skills, musical understanding and enjoyment. Requires the consent of the instructor. Also offered for Credit as MUS145-C06. 

STEEL BAND I (LMU 0366): This is an intermediate group where most of its members have been playing in this band for several years. Students learn new pieces in a relaxed atmosphere and in a group setting. Class time is also spent listening to current steel pan recordings and discussing the history of this remarkable family of instruments. By the end of the semester, students will be ready to perform with the steel band at the end-of-semester concert. Students must be age 15 or older to enroll. Ability to read music equivalent to a high school level is a prerequisite. Permission of the instructor is required to join this group. Please call 847.925.6568 for more information. Also offered for credit as MUS145-C02. 

STEEL BAND II (LMU 0409): This is an advanced steel band. Most of the members in this group have been playing at Harper for 15 to 20 years. The group plays more involved compositions with more sophisticated musical arrangements that incorporate challenging rhythms. The goal of Steel Band II is to increase the amount and difficulty of repertoire and to prepare for the end-of-the-semester concert. PREREQUISITE: Permission of the instructor is required to join this group. Please call 847-925-6568 for more information.

STRING ORCHESTRA FOR ADULTS (LMU 0371): Learn from Edgar Gabriel, well-known Chicago classical and jazz violinist, and have fun playing in an ensemble for amateur adult string players. Open to violin, viola, cello and string bass players, this string ensemble is for the player not ready for Harper Symphony but would like to perform and rehearse with an orchestra. This class is perfect for the adult who would like to get back into string playing after a long hiatus or the adult who has studied more than two years with group or private lessons. Music is at the middle school to early high school level. Each semester concludes with a short performance onstage. Arrangements of traditional orchestra repertoire and pop rock and folk music will be rehearsed. Students are expected to practice their music for each weekly rehearsal. Rhythmic problems will be addressed in depth in rehearsal but not technique specific to each instrument except when pertaining to styles. Students will learn how to count difficult rhythms, follow a conductor, play and listen as an ensemble.Various styles of classical music will be studied such as baroque, classic, romantic. Music selected is generally at the middle school level (ASTA level 3). By the end of the semester, this ensemble will have rehearsed several pieces to a performance standard. The class concludes with a performance onstage. 

THE AMERICANA ENSEMBLE (LMU 0539): Put your basic skills to work in playing songs because this is the most effective method for learning how to play an instrument. This ensemble will help you apply your skills and learn new strums and licks with each song you try. Improve while singing, playing, and honing your musicianship and performance skills. The ensemble will draw from the traditions of folk, country, blues, brass band pieces reaching back as far as the Civil War, rhythm and blues, and rock and roll songs. Players should be able to play in the keys of A, C, D, E, G, at a minimum. Reading music and improvising solos are pluses, but not required. Open to all levels and older teens are welcome. Instruments: voice, woodwinds, brass, strings, piano, fiddle, ukulele, guitar, banjo, autoharp, dulcimer, bass, mandolin, harmonica, accordion, washboard, percussion, and drum kit.

UKULELE SONG REPERTOIRE AND ENSEMBLE (LMU 0538): The Ukulele repertoire class is an all-ukulele ensemble which will perform songs from Tin Pan Alley, your personal favorites, traditional Hawaiian, and rock and pop classics. You’ll be given the chance to arrange a song into different ukulele parts while honing your musicianship and performance skills. You may repeat ensemble classes as needed as there are dozens of songs to learn at every skill level. Songs change from session to session. Bring your own ukulele, ukulele picks, spare set of strings, and a three ring notebook and dividers. We recommend a concert-size ukulele. 


HARPER’S BACK PORCH REVUE (LMU 0305): Join the ensemble that explores the music of the American South during the late 19th and early 20th Centuries: early blues and country music, old time, folk, spirituals and more. Looking for string instruments of all sorts: guitars, banjos, fiddles, ukuleles bass, etc., and hand drummers and singers. Players should be able to play in the keys of A, C, D, E, G, at a minimum. Reading music and improvising solos are pluses, but not required. Auditions are held during the first meeting. Free Membership. Members agree to perform at least twice per semester. For information contact Scott Cashman, FREE!

JAZZ ENSEMBLE (LMU 0334): The Jazz Ensemble is a traditional big band of 15-20 players who perform under the direction of renowned Chicago jazz pianist Ken Spurr. Open to all Harper students regardless of major, faculty, staff and community members, the band performs a range of jazz music, from standards to contemporary hits. This course focuses on the study of the standard Jazz ensemble. It is an overview of various techniques and interpretation as applied to Jazz ensemble and performance. Each semester, the band performs a concert in the Performing Arts Center. The group participates in community events and tour performances and frequently features professional guest artists from the Chicago area. A limited number of combo performance opportunities are available to members. Increase your proficiency on an instrument or as a singer while enjoying the opportunity to learn and perform music from the classic jazz repertoire. Utilize sight reading and musicianship while enhancing your skills, musical understanding and enjoyment. An audition is required and is held at the first rehearsal of each fall and spring semester. Sight reading at an intermediate (High School Jazz Band) level is required. For more information and audition music, contact Ken Spurr at or call 847.925.6568. Also offered for Credit as MUS145-C01. 

JAZZ LAB BAND 1 (LMU 0146): The Jazz Lab Band is a small jazz combo that performs a standard, professional jazz repertoire. Students practice improvisation and work on small group performance techniques. Each semester, the band produces a recording in a professional studio and performs a live concert in the Harper Performing Arts Center. Open to instrumentalists and vocalists at all levels. No audition is required, but please obtain the consent of the Instructor, Ken Spurr, prior to registering. Call 847.925.6568. Also offered for Credit as MUS145-C05. 

R&B ENSEMBLE (LMU 0306): Each semester the R&B Ensemble focuses on the works of a different classic soul singer, writer, or label. Charts are provided for full band: singers, guitarists, horn and keyboard players, bassists, and drummers. Students can submit their own choices for songs to be learned and will gain experience in performing both old and current R&B standards. The emphasis is on style, melodic and harmonic textures, and rhythmic accuracy. Instrumentation: Bass, Drum Kit, Flute, Guitar, Piano, Saxophone, Trombone, Trumpet, Voice, Percussion.

WORLD MUSIC ENSEMBLE (LMU 0336): The World Music Ensemble combines Western and non-Western instruments to create unique interpretations of melodies through performing, composing, re-arranging, and improvisation. The Ensemble is open to all members of the community with musical experience. Any instrument is welcome. Being able to read music is a plus but not required. An audition is required, usually held during the first meeting each semester. Membership is free. Each member must agree to perform at least twice per semester. For information and audition music, contact Issa Boulos at or call 847.925.6659. FREE!


CONCERT CHOIR (LMU 0215): This mixed group performs a wide-ranging classical repertoire, from plainchant through to the twentieth century. The choir appears in concert in the Performing Arts Center once each semester, and the group sometimes tours. Besides performances at Carnegie Hall and on radio and television at home and abroad, the group has sung with the Elgin Symphony, the Chicago String Ensemble, the Harper Symphony Orchestra and the International Festival of Choirs in Sienna and Florence, Italy. The group has also performed in Austria, the Czech Republic, England, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Poland, Scotland and Wales. Harper’s Concert Choir appeared in the culminating concert of the 2008 Summer Olympics Fine Arts Festival in Beijing and Shanghai, China prior to the 2008 Olympic Games. The choir and its members regularly participate in American Choral Directors Association festivals, honor/demonstration choirs, and clinics at the state, division and national levels.
Concert choir is open to Harper students as well as members of the community. Applicants may audition with a prepared piece of their choosing. Memorization is not necessary. To schedule an audition appointment, contact Tom Stauch at 847-925-6566 or by email: Also offered for credit MUS145-C03. Also offered for Credit as MUS130-C01.

HARPER COLLEGE FESTIVAL CHORUS (LMU 0900): The Festival Chorus is a community choral ensemble open to anyone with a love of singing. There are no auditions required. Rehearsals are on Monday nights from mid-August through the first week in May with a break for the holiday season. The Festival Chorus performs a diverse repertoire ranging from the classics to Broadway standards and is accompanied by a professional orchestra. Concerts at Harper College are performed on the first Sunday in December and the first Sunday in May. Outreach concerts are scheduled at various times during the year in the northwest suburbs. There is a $115 registration fee to join the chorus with an additional charge for music, which varies by semester. The required dress is a tuxedo for the men and a long black dress with jacket and pearls for the women. The cost of the women’s ensemble is $115. A full tuxedo is $125. We will order the apparel for you. For additional information, please contact Mary Ann Bugiel at or Marcy Heston at Call 847-925-6300 for details.

Please note, not all courses are offered every semester. 

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