Music: Performing Organizations

Admission to Performing Organizations – Acceptance into our elite music organizations is by audition. Merit scholarships are available to outstanding performers.

Admission Form - Choirs (Pro Musica and Columbia Collegiate Chorale)

Admission Form - Washington Concert Winds

Admission Form - New England Youth Ensemble of Washington Adventist University

The Washington Concert Winds

The Washington Concert Winds are a select wind ensemble (band) fashioned after the Eastman Wind Ensemble founded by Frederick Fennell in 1952. The purpose of the smaller wind ensemble was to establish a new medium, consisting mainly of one instrument per part, and it was this model that the Washington Concert Winds followed.

The band’s repertoire is representative of the finest university level British and American wind classics. In addition, the group performs outstanding arrangements of hymn tunes and classical music for use in sacred concerts which are frequently given in church settings.

Under the direction of Bruce Wilson, the Concert Winds have successfully toured the United States and the world attracting students from as far away as Australia. Many of the band members receive a yearly scholarship for performing in the group. Typical performances will include a bi-annual international concert tour, a Christmas concert at the White House Ellipse in Washington D.C. and performances in various churches and concert halls.

PRO MUSICA of Washington Adventist University:

The Pro Musica of Washington Adventist University was established in 1962 by the late Paul Hill, founding director of the acclaimed Paul Hill Chorale, later known as the Master Chorale of Washington. The Pro Musica still draws its membership largely from the student body and the alumni of the University and for the last 17 years has been under the direction of James Bingham. This approximately 24 member auditioned choir performs both sacred and secular advanced choral repertoire and all of its student members receive a scholarship.

Under James Bingham’s leadership, this choir, along with the larger choir of the University, the Columbia Collegiate Chorale, has undertaken a heavy schedule of services and concerts, traveling extensively both nationally and internationally. It has appeared in numerous prestigious venues such as Carnegie Hall, New York, the National Gallery of Art, and the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Washington, D.C., as well as in other leading concert halls and cathedrals and churches both within the United States and abroad. The choir has made numerous recordings but has received extraordinary acclaim for its recordings: Christmas – Music for Harp and Ladies Choir and Lamentations – Music of Tenebrae.

COLUMBIA COLLEGIATE CHORALE of Washington Adventist University:

The Columbia Collegiate Chorale of Washington Adventist University was established in 1994 by its present director James Bingham and draws its membership largely from the student body of Washington Adventist University. Incorporated within the chorale is a smaller select chamber choir, the Pro Musica of Washington Adventist University, which was established in 1962 by the late Paul Hill. This large choral organization performs both standard a cappella and accompanied works and maintains a heavy performance schedule.

It has appeared in numerous prestigious venues such as Carnegie Hall, New York, the National Gallery of Art, and the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Washington, D.C., as well as in other leading concert halls and cathedrals both within the United States and abroad. The choir has a number of recordings to its credit, receiving extraordinary acclaim for its recording of Louis Vierne’s Messe Solennelle in C minor. Of its recording, O Jesus Sweet: Music for a Christmas Night, which includes the extended work Dancing Day by John Rutter, the composer has written: “I could not wish for a finer interpretation of my piece.”

The mission of the Columbia Collegiate Chorale is to represent the best of American culture and the finest of Christian values through the study and performance of the sacred music of the great masters.

The New England Youth Ensemble at Washington Adventist University:

The New England Youth Ensemble (NEYE), founded in 1969 by Dr. Virginia-Gene Rittenhouse is one of the most internationally traveled Youth/Student Orchestras in America. In 1994 the NEYE became the resident orchestra of Washington Adventist University and has since continued to enjoy wide-spread critical acclaim. In 2006 long-time performing member and WAU alumnus, Preston Hawes, joined the faculty of Music Department to collaborate with Dr. Rittenhouse in the administrative and artistic leadership of the Ensemble. The Ensemble has performed at the Jerash Festival in Jordan under the auspices of HM Queen Noor of Jordon, Vilanov Palace in Warsaw Poland for President Ford, Henry Kissinger, and First Secretary Edward Gierek and most recently the Ensemble performed under the direction of Preston Hawes at the Thailand Cultural Center for HRH Princess Sirivannavari Nariratana and numerous other dignitaries and world leaders.

The Ensemble performs many of the orchestral standards while taking advantage of the opportunity afforded in performing extensively with the Columbia Choral, also of WAU. This allows NEYE members to increase their knowledge of repertoire that includes the less often performed sacred works for orchestra-choir combinations. The NEYE mission is simple: to bring great music to a searching world that is performed, in the words of J.S. Bach, “to the Glory of God and the Refreshment of the Spirit”. The NEYE is especially concerned about the plight of children orphaned by the scourge of AIDS and is a proud sponsor of the Zimbabwe Orphanage Project.

Carnegie Scholars

The Carnegie Scholars Program of the New England Youth Ensemble (NEYE) at Washington Adventist University (WAU) is a unique mentorship program that brings qualified members of the NEYE by audition to the stage of Carnegie Hall in collaboration with MidAmerica Productions, and mentor-members of the professional branch of the ensemble, the New England Symphonic Ensemble (NESE). The NESE has performed over 200 concerts in this famous venue under the direction of numerous well-known conductors, including John Rutter, which whom the NESE has held a long-standing friendship, sharing together well over 100 concerts. 2011 marked the much-anticipated NESE expansion into the halls at Lincoln Center.

Department Contact

Dr. James Bingham, Chair
Phone: 301-891-4025
E-mail: jbingham@wau.edu
Peters Music Center, Room 103

Music Information