Music at Wilkes

Wilkes provides a wide variety of music classes, including choral and instrumental ensembles, private lessons, and courses in music theory and music history. Music scholarship funds are available for select students. The University also offers an 18-credit Minor in Music.




The music classes offered at Wilkes include the following:

·                     Introduction to Music (MUS 101) – Develop a working knowledge of fundamental concepts, materials and structures of music. 

·                     Music Fundamentals (MUS 102)  – Learn the basics of reading music (fall only).

·                     Music Theory I (MUS 103) – Learn the fundamentals of music theory (spring only).

·                     Performing Ensembles (MUS 121, 122, 123, 125, 126, 127, 132, 135) – All ensembles provide a high-quality performance experience and are repeatable for credit. See below for details. 

·                     Music History I and II (MUS 210, 211) – Explore the rich repertoire of western music in a historical context (fall only).


CHORAL Ensembles


1.                  The University Chorus (MUS 125) – Dr. Steven Thomas, director

The University's largest vocal ensemble, which performs two or more concerts per year. Recent repertoire: Beethoven Symphony No. 9, Rutter Gloria, Brahms Requiem, Vivaldi Gloria and a variety of shorter works. Open to students and community members.


2.                  The Chamber Singers (MUS 126) – Dr. Steven Thomas, director

The University's premier vocal ensemble. Repertoire ranges from Renaissance to contemporary, classical to popular, a cappella to accompanied. Regularly performs at the NEPA Bach Festival. Open to any student member of the University Chorus, by audition.


INSTRUMENTAL Ensembles       


1.         Civic Band (MUS 121) – Dr. Philip G. Simon, director

Performs a wide variety of traditional and contemporary concert band music. Invited to perform at the PMEA State Conference in March 2016.  Recent repertoire includes: Four Maryland Songs by Jack Stamp, Night Dances No. 2 by Bruce Yurko, and Exultate by Samuel R. Hazo. Open to students and community members by audition. Incoming students should contact Dr. Simon prior to the start of the semester at or 570-408-4437 to schedule an audition.


2.         Chamber Winds (MUS 122) – Dr. Philip G. Simon, director

Performs music from the chamber wind repertoire. Open to any student member of the Civic Band, by audition. Offered in the spring.


3.         Marching Colonels (MUS 123) – Dr. Philip G. Simon, director

Performs a marching band field show and serves as a pep band for home football games, and select on- and off-campus performances, playing school songs and pep tunes. Members must commit to a week-long band camp one week before classes begin, perform at all home football games, and attend all rehearsals. Offered in the fall.


4.         Jazz Ensemble (MUS 127) – Nick Driscoll, director

Performs traditional and contemporary music for big band, at both on- and off-campus venues.  Recent repertoire includes transcriptions of recordings made by Duke Ellington, arrangements for the Stan Kenton, Buddy Rich, and Thad Jones-Mel Lewis bands. Open to students and community members, by audition.


5.         Chamber Orchestra (MUS 132) – John M. Vaida, director

Performs chamber orchestra literature in a variety of traditional and contemporary styles. Recent repertoire includes music of Mozart, Purcell, Respighi, Mascagni, Bartók and Gershwin. Open to students and community members who play string, wind or percussion instruments.


6.         Flute Ensemble (MUS 135) – Lish Lindsey, director

Performs music of various genres and styles composed for two or more flutes or in combination with other instruments. Interested flutists have the opportunity to perform on other members of the flute family, including piccolo, alto, and bass flute depending on the requirements of the selected music. Open to students and community members.




Students who take 3 credits of performance in the University Chorus, the Civic Band, the Jazz Ensemble or the Chamber Orchestra may request a course substitution, so that these credits satisfy the University's Area IV General Education Requirement. Please contact Dr. Steven Thomas ( for more information.




It is possible to take private vocal or instrumental lessons either through the University for credit or through the Wilkes Community Conservatory for non-credit. For more information, contact Maryellen Sloat (Division of Performing Arts secretary) at or 570-408-4420.




Eligible students who are enrolled in music ensembles may apply for music-related work/study positions, and students who exhibit outstanding musical and academic performance may also be eligible for music scholarships.




If you have questions about any of these classes, about scholarships, or about the Minor in Music, please contact Dr. Steven Thomas, Chair of the Division of Performing Arts, at or at 570-408-4434. You can also find out more by visiting the Division of Performing Arts website at