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Do you have an instrument at home that is not getting used much? Did you used to play an instrument and want to pick it back up? Are you majoring in another subject, but don’t want to lose your musical skills? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you should consider joining one of NOVA’s musical ensembles. The groups are made up of community members of all ages in addition to students majoring in music. All of our ensembles perform on campus at the Schlesinger Concert Hall and Arts Center and perform off-campus. Our ensembles have traveled the world and performed in prestigious music venues such as Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Blues Alley and the National Theater. Registration is open to all, however, participation is subject to approval by the ensemble director.  

Click on the tabs below to find out more about each ensemble.

The Alexandria Campus Band was formed to provide a forum for the NOVA's music students to gain experience performing and to reach out to the community. The band was founded in the fall of 1977 under the leadership of Dr. Robert Petrella. The band's current conductor is Dr. Wendy Matthews. The band has performed at the Kennedy Center, Georgetown University, the George Washington Masonic Temple and other sites in the metropolitan area. The band has collaborated with soloists from the local military bands, the George Mason University Wind Symphony and the Prince William Community Band.

For more information, contact Lisa Eckstein at leckstein@nvcc.edu.

The NOVA Alexandria Jazz Ensemble is a 20+ member group that performs classic and original big band works from the 1930s to present. Students meet once a week as a class near the Alexandria Campus and perform at events on and off campus. Previous performances have been at the Blues Alley, Schlesinger Center for the Arts, Alexandria Community Festival, Alexandria Public Library and Twins Jazz club in Washington, DC. Members of the group are college students (music majors and non-music majors), high school students and community members of all ages. Membership in the NOVA Jazz Ensemble requires registration for MUS 135 001A. Contact Dr. John Kocur at jkocur@nvcc.edu for further information on joining the ensemble.

Chamber Winds is an advanced wind ensemble of music majors or highly skilled community members. Instrumentation includes winds and percussion. This ensemble requires a short audition. The ensemble meets on Friday afternoons from 12:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. in the Tyler Building at the Alexandria Campus. The course number is MUS195 001A Special Topics in Chamber Winds. Contact Dr. Jonathan Kolm at jkolm@nvcc.edu.

Chamber Orchestra is a string ensemble of NOVA students (you do not need to be a music major to participate) and community musicians that meet on Friday afternoons from 12:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. in the Tyler Building at the Alexandria Campus. Wind and percussion players enrolled in Chamber Winds will also perform with the orchestra depending on repertoire needs. The course number is MUS148 001A. Contact Dr. Jonathan Kolm at jkolm@nvcc.edu.

Jazz Chamber Ensemble is a small group that performs jazz standards and improvises. The course number is MUS 198, Sec. 006A. Contact Dr. John Kocur at jkocur@nvcc.edu.

chorusThe Community Chorus is a 100-voice ensemble that combines singers from the NOVA Music Program and the surrounding community. The chorus has distinguished itself both locally and internationally. It performs regularly with the Alexandria Band, the Washington Metropolitan Philharmonic and the Alexandria Symphony. Special engagements in past years have included Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center and the National Theater. The chorus toured Spain and performed at the 1992 World's Fair in Seville. The chorus has sung in England (2006), at the Leipzig International Choral Festival in Germany (2008) and in France (2010). 

The Community Chorus is a part of the Music Program at NOVA's Alexandria Campus. The 80-voice ensemble, comprising singers from both the College and the surrounding community, is open to all interested singers without audition. The chorus performs regularly with many of the region's orchestras and has performed in Washington National Theater, Carnegie Hall and the Lincoln Center in New York City.


Membership in the chorus requires registration for MUS 137 01A. Registration is open to all; each member is expected to attend rehearsal regularly and diligently practice with music and audiotapes. Membership in the chorus is maintained through registration in a one-credit course at NOVA's Alexandria Campus every Fall and Spring semester.

Contact Dr. Whitmire for further information at 703.845.6097 or mwhitmire@nvcc.edu.

WhitmireDr. Mark Whitmire

Dr. Mark Whitmire is Director of the Community Chorus and Professor of Music at NOVA. He has conducted choirs throughout the region, including performances at The National Theater, the Kennedy Center and Washington National Cathedral. In 2003, he was conductor-in-residence at Gloucester Cathedral; in 2006, he returned to England to direct choirs at Westminster Abbey and Canterbury Cathedral. Dr. Whitmire has received numerous grants and awards, including a scholarship for post-graduate studies at the Britten-Pears School in England (where he studied with Sir Peter Pears), and a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities for research and writing on the music of Benjamin Britten. In 1999, he was named “Outstanding Faculty of the Year” by the College, and in 2004, he was awarded the “President’s Sabbatical,” the highest honor given by the College. Dr. Whitmire attended Abilene Christian University, the University of Texas and the University of Maryland, where he received the Doctor of Musical Arts. He also serves as Adjunct Professor of Music and Liturgy at Virginia Theological Seminary and Music Director at St. James’s Church, Richmond.

Calendar for concerts to attend for concert reports for music classes. 
(check with your instructor first whether a specific concert is suitable)