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Ensemble/Combo Auditions and COVID-19 protocols

Spring 2021 Big Band Auditions 

 Big Band audition sign-up sheets will be posted on the jazz bulletin board outside of room 241 (Dr. Winking's office). Auditions are open to all students, regardless of major.


We will be offering two ways to audition this spring-  live, in person auditions, and synchronous Zoom Auditions. There will be a separate sign-up sheet for each method 

-In Person auditions- Wednesday, January 20th and Friday, January 22nd:

        Live, face-to-face auditions in room 216 with Dr. Hamrick and Dr. Cheetham. Social distancing guidelines will 

        be followed, and masks will be worn at all times, except horn players when playing. Auditions will begin at 

        11:00 a.m. There will be a 20-minute break every hour to air out the room. All instruments may sign up for 

        face-to-face audition.


-Synchronous online auditions via Zoom.  

        Students who wish to audition by this method will still sign up for an audition slot out side room       

        241. All instrumentalists may choose to give an online audition. The faculty below will contact you

        prior to your audition with a Zoom link.


        Saxophone: Dr. Russell Haight (

        Trumpet: Dr. Keith Winking (

        Trombone: Ron Wilkins (

        Piano: Hank Hehmsoth (

        Guitar: Dr. Brian Pardo (

        Drums: Butch Miles (

        Bass: Dr. Utah Hamrick (


Students that are for some reason unable to audition on January 20 or 22 are advised to contact Dr. Utah Hamrick ( or their respective instrument instructor to set up an alternate time.


Spring 2021 Combo Auditions

Texas State Jazz Combos are open to all students, regardless of major. If you do a big band audition, a separate combo audition is not necessary, you will be placed accordingly. If you wish to play in a combo but are not playing in a big band, sign up for an audition slot or contact Dr. Hamrick at to set up an audition time. Be prepared to play the melody and improvise at least one chorus over a jazz standard.



COVID-19 protocols for Spring 2021

Texas State Jazz is committed to providing the safest environment for our students and faculty at all times. For the spring semester 2021 here are some of the steps we are taking towards that goal:

  • All face-to-face rehearsals are delayed until the third week of classes to allow for the university schedule and protocols to settle in.
  • All rehearsals, both big band and combo, will take place outdoors! We have been given a 2,300 square foot covered rehearsal space, ensuring we have not only optimal airflow, but enough room to safely distance all students. 
  • All brass players will be provided covers by the Texas State School of Music.
  • All horn players will be provided special masks with mouthpiece access.
  • All rhythm section players will wear masks at all times.
  • All shared equipment will be sanitized after every use.
  • Rehearsals will run shorter than the standard 80 minutes to both accommodate sanitization times and minimize everyone's exposure. 
  • All concerts will also take place outdoors. Multiple venues are being explored, and will be finalized soon.

We realize that nothing this semester will be optimal, but the drawbacks these protocols present are more than made up for by giving all of us a safer way to continue to learn and make art together. We thank everyone in advance for their cooperation, hard work, and good spirits to make this semester a success!


Jazz auditions are low-pressure and consist of the following:

All instruments for spring 2021:

  1. A short prepared excerpt of your choosing (transcribed solo, etude, etc.)
  2. Sight-reading
  3. Improvisation; optional, but strongly encouraged (play-along accompaniment will be provided)


About the Ensembles

The Texas State jazz ensembles explore a full spectrum of big band sounds, ranging from classic swing to high-energy latin and funk. Jazz ensembles and combos are open to all qualified university students by audition. Ensembles count for one credit per semester.

Jazz Ensemble
Directed by Dr. Utah Hamrick
MWF, 11 a.m.–12:20 p.m.
Outdoor rehearsal space

Jazz Orchestra
Directed by Dr. Andy Cheetham
MWF, 11 a.m.–12:20 p.m.
Outdoor rehearsal space

Jazz Lab Band
Directed by Dr. Utah Hamrick
MW, 12:30 p.m.–1:50 p.m.
Outdoor rehearsal space

Jazz Combos
Times to be arranged
Outdoor rehearsal space