St. Ursula Academy offers a full four-year program in Vocal and/or Instrumental Music. The Saint Ursula Academy music program is led by Music Director and SUA alumna Kathy Backherms '73.
The emphasis of the music program at St. Ursula Academy is:
FRESHMAN CHORUS (Click here for a performance schedule) Freshman Chorus meets every day throughout the school year and performs for a variety of school events including the Christmas and Spring Concerts. Vocalists learn proper vocal and choral techniques, as well as how to sight-sing and read music while studying music of various styles such as pop, classic rock, musical theatre, folk, world, sacred and classic. No experience is necessary and no audition is required.
SUAVE: (Click here for a performance schedule) The St. Ursula Academy Vocal Ensemble (SUAVE) is a select ensemble of 9-12 vocalists. SUAVE performs a variety of music for the Christmas Carol Program and Spring Concert, and tours extensively in the Tri-State area. The ensemble also participates in music festivals and competitions out-of-town each year. Students selected for membership in this award-winning group are expected to be serious choral singers with well-developed sight-singing and basic musicianship skills. They must be willing to devote numerous hours to rehearsing and performing. Private voice lessons are highly encouraged for students who are members of SUAVE.
SUAVE merited consistent ratings of Superior with 23 first place trophies, 11 Overall Choral Awards, 3 grand sweepstakes trophies, and numerous outstanding section, soloist, and accompanist awards in national music festivals since 1995. SUAVE performed in a massed choir on stage at Carnegie Hall in New York City four times in 1999, 2001, 2004 and 2007. SUAVE is well known around the area and its members are recognized each year for their professionalism and composure in addition to their talent.
Choral Music: (Click here for a performance schedule) Students will learn the fundamentals of music as well as proper vocal and choral techniques while studying music of various styles and eras in preparation for performing. Opportunities are available to students at various levels of choral singing: Chorus and Concert Choir as well as the select Vocal Ensemble.
CONCERT CHOIR (Click here for a performance schedule) This class meets all year and is for the singer who wishes to participate in performances throughout the school year, including the Christmas Concert and Spring Concert. More advanced literature in two and three parts is studied. Vocal and choral techniques are further developed in this course.
St. Ursula Academy Symphony Orchestra: (SUASO) (Click here for a performance schedule) SUASO meets every day throughout the school year and is available to freshmen, sophomores, juniors, and seniors who play an orchestral instrument, including strings, woodwinds, brass, and percussion -- including piano. Electric guitar and bass players are also welcome! This course focuses on developing good ensemble technique while studying music from a variety of styles and genres, such as classic rock, themes from movies and TV, jazz, musical theatre, as well as music from the Baroque, Classical, Romantic, and Contemporary periods. SUASO performs in the Christmas and Spring Concerts and accompanies for special SUA events, including Graduation.
The St. Ursula Academy Symphony Orchestra (SUASO) merited numerous ratings of "Superior" with 9 first place trophies, 1 overall instrumental award, and numerous outstanding sections, soloist, and musician awards in national music festivals since 2000. In order to be a member of SUASO, students must have previous playing experience on a string, woodwind, brass or percussion instrument. An audition is required.
Guitar: The guitar instrumental program is coordinated by music educator Robert Brown.
FRESHMAN GUITAR Freshman Guitar Class is a course that will introduce the basics of guitar playing to interested students. Students will learn how to read traditional musical notation as well as guitar tablature and chord symbols. Both pick-style and finger-style techniques will be used to play popular songs, folk songs, and classical music. Students will also learn to play in an ensemble and will perform in a concert at the end of each term.
GUITAR I Beginning Guitar is a course that will introduce the basics of guitar playing to interested sophomores, juniors, and seniors. Students will learn how to read traditional musical notation as well as guitar tablature and chord symbols. Both pick-style and finger-style techniques will be used to play popular songs, folk songs, and classical music. Students will also learn to play in an ensemble and will perform in a concert at the end of the term.
GUITAR II Guitar II builds on the students' prior knowledge of music notation and ensemble playing skills developed in the Beginning Guitar course. There is also be a greater emphasis on playing popular songs of the students' choosing, as well as on the further development of basic guitar technique. The primary focus of the course is playing in small ensembles and working toward performances, including both classical chamber music and rock band ensembles.