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Special Events

To enrich the musical experience of our students and our audiences, faculty members create programs that bring together ensembles from the Department as well as artists, teachers and students from around the region and the country.
Multiband Pops
Choral Festival
Double Reed Day

High School Band Day
High School Jazz Festival
Honor Band Festival
Piano Day

Saxophone Symposium
String Day
Trumpet Day
Voice Area Open House

Now in its 42nd year, Multiband Pops is a fast-paced showcase event that includes performances by many of our ensembles, produced by Jeffrey Holmes. This annual event, which takes place around Homecoming in the fall, features the Minuteman Marching Band, and includes our jazz, wind, choral and percussion ensembles, orchestra, as well as studio ensembles such as the Saxophone Quartet, Horn Ensemble and Trumpet Ensemble. The University Dancers, an ensemble of advanced dance majors, performs at Multiband Pops, and the event has expanded to include Chamber Choir as well. It attracts a sell-out audience each year that includes students, parents, faculty, administrators, alumni, community members and families from around New England and the United States. This year: Friday, September 30, 2016 during Homecoming weekend. Link to webpage.


This event, formerly known as Choral Spectrum, usually takes place on the last Saturday in October, under the direction of Tony Thornton. Top singers, selected by their teachers, participate in workshops and rehearsals, culminating in a concert in the Fine Arts Center Concert Hall. High School teachers attend professional development activities, workshops and reading sessions led by UMass Amherst choral faculty. The festival attracts students from CT, MA, NH, ME and VT; UMass Amherst choral ensembles also participate. Campus ensembles often include the Chamber Choir, Chorale, Madrigal Ensemble, Vocal Jazz Ensemble, Women's Choir and Men's Choir.

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Double Reed Day, hosted by Oboe Professor Fredric T. Cohen and Bassoon Professor Stephen Walt, is a gathering for high school and college oboe and bassoon players, teachers, and adults. The Day features guest artist performances, reed workshops with master reedmakers, opportunities to try new instruments, and a Double Reed Band jam at the end of the day. The last Double Reed Day featured guest artists Pedro Diaz, English Horn, Metropolitan Opera Orchestra and Richard Svoboda, Principal Bassoon, Boston Symphony Orchestra.


High School Band Day, led by Timothy T. Anderson, is an annual event where over 3,000 high school band students rehearse and perform at a massed half-time show at a UMass Amherst football game, experiencing life as a UMass Marching Band member. Takes place either at McGuirk Stadium in Amherst or Gillette Stadium in Foxboro. See the Marching Band website or email Prof. Anderson.


The Festival, now in its 19th year, takes place in the Spring semester, coordinated by Jeffrey W. Holmes. Jazz ensembles from around New England participate in non-competitive performances; clinics and masterclasses with UMass faculty, outside music educators and a guest artist (courtesy of the Fine Arts Center). One high school ensemble is chosen to open for the evening performance by the guest artist, whose concert is part of the Fine Arts Center's jazz series. Outstanding performance citations and scholarships for the UMass Jazz In July Summer Workshops are awarded to individual students. Email Jeffrey W. Holmes for more info.


High School Honor Band, presented annually for 32 years on a Saturday in February, is directed by Prof. Matthew Westgate. It provides hundreds of New England's finest wind and percussion students the opportunity to perform wind band literature of the highest caliber-making music and learning with Professors Westgate, Timothy T. Anderson, other Department faculty, and a special guest conductor/composer of national renown. Students begin the intense day with a placement audition, are divided into two or three concert bands, rehearse all day and perform a concert at 7pm in the Fine Arts Center Concert Hall. This year: Saturday, February 11, 2017. See the UMass Bands website.

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A day of FREE activities for junior & senior high school pianists, college pianists, and their parents and teachers. Attendees learn about college auditions and hear UMass faculty, students & alumni perform. The day includes a Masterclass for selected high school student pianists and a Discussion/Question & Answer session with Piano Faculty: College Auditions, preparation, repertoire & what to expect.


This gathering of saxophonists at UMass Amherst has taken place in the spring for the past 35 years. Coordinated in past years by Professor Lynn Klock, and currently by Profs. Jonathan Hulting-Cohen and Felipe Salles, its goal is to expose saxophonists and sax enthusiasts of all ages and levels of proficiency - elementary school through graduate school and beyond, as well as active professionals - to internationally renowned classical and jazz saxophonists. With newly-launched classical and jazz competitions, it also encourages young performers. Attendees from the Pioneer Valley, New York, New Jersey and all six New England states ask the experts questions at an open forum and attend recitals, showcases, and classes by guest artists, faculty, and saxophone quartets. This year: Saturday, March 25, 2017. Webpage


Conceived by the String Faculty in 2005, String Day has become an annual event involving faculty, students, players of all ages, parents and teachers. Under the direction of Kathryn Lockwood, it enables pre-college string students to experience music at the college level, and for college students to teach younger players. Activities may include a faculty concert, masterclass, mini-lecture, sight reading, an informal orchestra rehearsal and a mini-concert. Link to String Day webpage.


Trumpet Day is geared to high school and college students, educators and parents. First presented in October 2011, it included concerts, clinics, and exhibits, and featured performances by Professors Eric Berlin and Jeffrey W. Holmes, the UMass Trumpet studio, and guest soloist/educator Vince DiMartino. See


This event gives pre-college students, their parents and teachers an opportunity to experience what the Voice Area has to offer and focuses on the audition process. A panel discussion includes Audition Repertoire, What to Expect at an Audition, and Audition Etiquette, Dress & Preparation, and leaves ample time for questions. At a masterclass for singers who have been through a screening process, high school students work with the Voice Faculty in a mock audition setting. Current students may perform a concert of art songs, chamber music, and operatic arias and scenes, and answer questions from prospective students. There is no charge. For more info, email Marjorie Melnick.

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Dance Department