Students Collaborate in Music Ensembles

Published Date: Thursday, February 21, 2019 - 8:15am

Did you know that SCL’s wonderful music program includes all of these small ensembles? It’s time to shine a light on the small group ensembles that don’t always get the recognition they deserve!

Jazz Band- directed by Mr. Fenske

In addition to the large band that meets for class every school day, Mr. Fenske directs the jazz band that rehearses before or after school. They participate in the fall, Christmas, band and springs pops concert; attend the Wisconsin Lutheran College Jazz Fest; and will host a Night of Jazz this spring!

String Ensemble- directed by Mrs. Dietsche

In her first year directing at SCL, Mrs. Dietsche is doing a wonderful job building up the after school string ensemble, teaching lessons, and helping students prepare for a music contest. The string ensemble will be serenading friends of SCL at “A Winter Wonderland” Gala on March 30 at the Radisson Blu at the Mall of America, as well as performing at concerts throughout the year.

Brass Ensemble, Woodwind Quintet, Flute Choir, Sax Quartet, Percussion Ensemble, and more- Mostly led by students before and after school

Learning to play an instrument with a smaller group is an important skill that requires strong self discipline, increased practice, and careful listening. Students prepare and direct themselves with minimal guidance from Mr. Fenske. Some of these groups were started by students who took the initiative, and others were formed by Mr. Fenske’s suggestion.

In a small ensemble, students learn how to collaborate. They have to listen for which instrument is carrying the melody, and which instruments are harmony or more support. They learn to listen well to balance their dynamics and match tone. Students also quickly discover that each instrument is important. They don’t have a whole band or larger section supporting them or covering their mistakes, so when they successfully play their part with the small ensemble, they feel a sense of leadership and pride.

Where's the Space?

With so many small ensembles springing up over the years, it has become increasingly hard to find rehearsal space. Mr. Fenske says, “The worst is when I have to tell a student they can’t practice there right now because another group needs the space. They are doing what they are supposed to - learning their music and putting in the effort - but then our facility stops them because there simply is not enough room.”

The exciting new plans for Strong to Serve: Phase Two addresses these space issues by having not only separate band and choir rooms, but also a small ensemble room and practice rooms. Learn more about the building project here:

Most of these small ensembles will be performing before judges at the WSMA music competition on Saturday, February 23; playing for parents and friends at Gathering Grounds on Sunday, February 24; and showcasing their best at the Band Concert on Sunday, March 3.

Jeffrey Dubose, Class of 2010, Full Academic/Athletic Scholarship, Gustavus Adolphus College
" The athletic program at St. Croix had a great impact on my future success. It has given me the means to be self-motivated, and the passion to always strive to become better in all that I do. "
- Jeffrey '10