Welcome to the Department of Music at Calvin and PASSPORT music auditions. If you are an incoming student (first-year or transfer student) and are interested in performing with one of Calvin's eight music ensembles, you will want to make sure to register for a music audition during your PASSPORT orientation session this summer.

When you arrive on campus for PASSPORT, you will receive a schedule, including the exact date, time, and place of your audition. Ensemble auditions are not demanding, but will help the ensemble conductors determine which ensemble will be the best fit for you. If you didn't indicate that you'd like an audition when you registered for PASSPORT, or if you can't remember if you did, please contact the Music Office to be sure that you're on the list.

You will receive correspondence from the music department regarding your PASSPORT audition before you arrive on campus so make sure you check you check your mailbox and email often.

Explore Passport
Auditions
Theory Test
FAQ

Choirs at Calvin

To audition for Campus Choir, Capella, Oratorio Society, Gospel Choir, or Women's Chorale please prepare a verse (melody line) from one of the following hymns (memorization NOT required):

Please bring two copies of the hymn along to your audition (one for you and one for the professor).

The audition will consist of:

  • Vocalizations
  • Sight reading
  • Tonal memory
  • Prepared hymn verse (memorization NOT required)

Please note the following:

  • You will not need an accompanist.
  • If you have indicated an interest in voice lessons, this audition will also serve as your placement for a voice teacher.
  • Chorale Audition Forms will be available when you check-in for your audition.

Bands at Calvin

Welcome to the Bands at Calvin! The formal audition for Jazz Band, Pep Band, Symphonic Band, or Wind Ensemble will take place in September when you arrive on campus for the fall semester. However, a mandatory meeting for all first year and transfer students who are interested in the band program will take place during your PASSPORT orientation session. This will be a great opportunity for you to be introduced to the band program, along with the director Dr. Tiffany Engle, and current students. You will receive additional information about audition requirements and performance expectations. This meeting will take place in the Covenant Fine Arts Center. You will recieve an email from our office one week prior to your orientation session with more information regarding the exact time and place of the meeting. Your scheduled meeting will also be noted on your PASSPORT orientation schedule.

If you would like additional information about the bands at Calvin, please contact Dr. Tiffany Engle at tje4@calvin.edu or (616) 526-6304.

Orchestra at Calvin

Welcome to the Calvin Orchestra! The formal audition for the orchestra program will take place in September when you arrive on campus for the fall semester. However, a mandatory meeting for all first year and transfer students who are interested in the orchestra program will take place during your PASSPORT orientation session. This meeting is a great opportunity for you to learn about the orchestra program and recieve your music for the fall auditions and concerts. Prof. John Varineau, orchestra director, and Dr. David Reimer, director of the Calvin string area, are eager to meet you and learn about you and your musical interests. This meeting will take place in the Covenant Fine Arts Center. You will receive an email from our office one week prior to your orientation session with more information regarding the exact time and place of the meeting. Your scheduled meeting will also be noted on your PASSPORT orientation schedule.

If you would like additional information about Calvin Orchestra, please visit the Orchestra page.

Students who are planning to major or minor in music will need to take the Music Theory Placement Test prior to their PASSPORT orientation. A link to the test will be emailed to you two weeks prior to PASSPORT. The test should be completed before the end of your first day of orientation. This test will cover music knowledge and skills that you are expected to have before taking Music Theory I (MUSC 108), a course needed by all music majors and minors. Any students who do not pass this entrance exam will be asked to take the Music Theory Fundamentals (MUSC 100, a 2-credit course) during the fall semester to prepare them for MUSC 108. Click here for a list of Music Theory Prerequisites. If you have any questions, please contact Dr. Benita Wolters-Fredlund.

Which ensemble should I choose?

Calvin has eight different student ensembles: two concert bands, a symphony orchestra and five choirs. Please check out the Ensembles webpage for more information about participation in each of these groups.

Can I participate in more than one ensemble?

Many Calvin students participate in two or more ensembles each semester and, in spite of the time requirement, consider ensemble participation recreative (and a good stress-reliever!) and not a burden to their other coursework. However, please think carefully about how much time you would like to dedicate to ensemble rehearsals each week and plan your schedule accordingly. If you have questions or need advice on picking an ensemble, please contact the Music Office.

Do I have to audition for admission to the music program?

The Music Department does not require a music major audition prior to admission to Calvin. Permission to major in music is granted usually at the end of the first year based on a list of requirements.

What music degrees do you offer?

Calvin offers two music degree programs: Bachelor of Arts (BA) or a Bachelor of Music Education degree (BMEd) with a vocal or instrumental concentration.

Can I participate in ensembles without being a music major?

Whether you plan to major in music or biochemistry, Calvin offers plenty of opportunities to sing or play together with other musicians. All Calvin students may participate in an ensemble or take private lessons.

What can I do with a music major from Calvin?

Alumni of the Calvin Music Department have gone on to do a variety of things in music including further study in graduate school, teaching music, playing in the Grand Rapids Symphony, playing in a bluegrass band, and much more!

Where do music majors go for graduate school?

Calvin Music Department alumni have gone on to study in prestigious music schools such as the University of Michigan, Ohio State University, Westminster Choir College, Western Michigan University, and Yale.

Do you offer music scholarships?

Calvin offers scholarships for piano, organ, strings, voice, winds, and percussion. There are also many scholarships available (for returning students) in music in worship, composition, music theater, and education. Auditions for first-year scholarships are held in February.

What kind of music facilities does Calvin have?

Calvin's Fine Arts Center houses well-equiped music classrooms, rehearsal halls (instrumental and choral), teaching studios, practice rooms, a state-of-the-art music theory computer lab and the acoustically outstanding auditorium. Available to students and faculty are one Bosendorfer and five Steinway grand pianos, approximately 20 practice rooms, two harpsichords, six pipe organs, and a valuable collection of string, wind, percussion, and early music instruments. In addition, Calvin's large chamber music library and the Hekman Library, with its large music divisions of the Hekman Library and the Cayvan Recorded Media Center, provide valuable resources for both students and faculty.

Do you have chamber music opportunities?

Calvin has a variety of chamber music opportunities for string, piano, wind, and vocal students. These include string quartets, Collegium Musicum (early music ensemble), Chamber Winds, and more.

What musical opportunities are there in Grand Rapids?

There are a variety of musical opportunities in the Grand Rapids area. Calvin students are involved in worship services at area churches, they teach private lessons, and perform for weddings or special events. In addition, West Michigan has a vital musical community with organizations such as the Grand Rapids Symphony Orchestra and Chorus, Opera Grand Rapids, Bach Chorale, West Shore Symphony Orchestra, and the Grand Rapids Symphonic Band.

May I take trial lessons from faculty members?

We would be happy to set up a trial lesson for you with one of our applied music faculty. Please contact the Music Department to schedule a lesson.

When I come to visit Calvin, may I observe music classes and ensembles?

As part of the Fridays at Calvin program, you will have the opportunity to visit a variety of different classes as well as some of the music ensembles. Observations can also be arranged at other times. Please contact the Music Department or the Admissions Office for more information.