The department provides frequent opportunities for students to perform — some 25 concerts per semester — in vocal and instrumental ensembles covering a wide spectrum of musical styles. All students (majors and non-majors) are welcome to join.
The College Choir offers students opportunities to learn the art of choral singing through repertoire, vocal production, and musicianship. Its repertoire includes standard choral/orchestral works, contemporary compositions, renaissance motets and madrigals, as well as arrangements of American folk and popular music. The College Choir performs at high-profile events on campus like Lessons and Carols during the Christmas season at St. Joseph Memorial Chapel and at the Holy Cross Family Day Concert, as well as off campus at venues such as Worcester’s historic Mechanics Hall and Lincoln Center in New York City. Past tours have included overseas trips to Italy and Spain.
Director: Allegra Martin
The Chamber Singers is a select choral ensemble of 16 musicians from the College Choir, who display the highest level of musical excellence. The members typically have trained voices or significant choral experience, and are able to read music. As an outreach ensemble for the College, the Chamber Singers perform at collegiate and alumni functions, short-range tours in the New England area, and other events. They present a challenging repertoire from classical part songs and motets to contemporary compositions, classical and popular in nature.
Director: Allegra Martin
Holy Cross Chamber Orchestra
The Holy Cross Chamber Orchestra performs masterpieces by great composers from Bach to Gershwin in Brooks Concert Hall. Students perform concertos and accompanied solos with the orchestra, and have original works performed. The orchestra also anchors the Worcester Symphonic Project each spring at Mechanics Hall.
Director: Eric Culver
One of the most popular ensembles on campus is the Jazz Ensemble, which performs several times a year to standing-room only audiences. Students have the opportunity to play with internationally renowned visiting artists from Berklee College of Music, New England Conservatory, and the Boston Pops Jazz Quartet.
Director: Mike Monaghan
Brooks Jazz Combo
The department’s newest ensemble, the Brooks Jazz Combo, specializes in contemporary styles and welcomes students with a strong interest and background in jazz. Students have the opportunity to work with Holy Cross faculty and some of New England’s most talented jazz artists. Students will work regularly with internationally renowned visiting artists from Berklee College of Music, New England Conservatory, and the Boston Pops Jazz Quartet.
Director: Mike Monaghan
The Balinese Gamelan is an Indonesian percussion orchestra built especially for Holy Cross. Led by Balinese artists-in-residence and joined by dancers and shadow puppets, the College’s Gamelan Gita Sari presents several performances each year to capacity audiences. Gita Sari also collaborates with ensembles off-campus, such as MIT’s Gamelan Galak Tika, as well as groups from Wesleyan and Brown universities.
Director: I Nyoman Catra
H-CLEF (the Holy Cross Laptop Ensemble Federation) is the performing ensemble of Music 290: Coding Music. The class welcomes all majors interested in DIY digital instrument design and collaborative performance of live electronic music.
Director: Chris Arrell
Holy Cross Bands
As a comprehensive collegiate band program, the Holy Cross Bands offer year-round performance opportunities in marching, pep, and concert bands. Comprised of over sixty students representing nearly every academic background on campus, our students are dedicated to making music in service to Holy Cross with performances in traditional concert venues and spirited athletic arenas. Recent performances by our ensembles have included historic Mechanics Hall in Worcester, Massachusetts, the NCAA Men's Basketball tournament in Dayton, Ohio and Spokane, Washington, and Yankee Stadium in New York City.
Director: Ernest Jennings
Small ensembles such as Baroque Trio Sonatas with harpsichord, string quartets, or ensembles with piano are representative of the active Chamber Music program at Holy Cross. Each ensemble receives weekly coaching by music department faculty. Selected groups have the opportunity to perform at student-faculty recitals scheduled regularly throughout the year. Ensembles often choose to remain together for two semesters or more to develop their musicianship and enjoy the special experience of playing chamber music in an intimate group.
Director: Jan Muller-Szeraws
The Schola Cantorum and the Taylor and Boody pipe organ provide music at the Sunday 11:30 a.m. Mass. The Schola consists of experienced sopranos, altos, countertenors, tenors and basses who can sing Gregorian chants, eight-part motets and repertoire from the Medieval, Renaissance, Baroque, Classical, Romantic, and Contemporary periods. Period instrument orchestras or brass ensembles sometimes accompany many works.
The Chapel Choir sings a diverse repertoire of liturgical music at the College’s 10 p.m. Sunday Mass. An ensemble of instrumentalists and singers leads a primarily contemporary repertoire of liturgical music at the College’s 7 p.m. Sunday Mass. Cantors direct the assembly’s singing at the College’s 4:30 p.m. Saturday Mass.
Director: Normand Gouin
The Delilahs, Fools on the Hill, Off the Record, and Sons of Pitches
There are several active a cappella groups on campus, including The Delilahs, Fools on the Hill, Off the Record, and Sons of Pitches. These student-run groups perform on and off campus regularly, including at the Tuesday night ’10 Spot’ in the Hogan Campus Center. In 2013, The Delilahs performed at the White House.
The Songwriters’ Guild meets weekly to encourage original songwriting on campus. It is open to all students to help them sharpen their songwriting skills. Students must audition in order to participate in Guild performances.