College Of Humanities and Fine Arts


There are many ensembles to choose from in the Chico State Department of Music and Theatre.

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Band Program

As a part of the Chico State Department of Music, the band program provides goal-orientated students with a vehicle in which to reach their dreams. All students, both music and non-music majors, are given the opportunity to express themselves musically in a friendly yet challenging environment, and to bring out the talents and strengths of each performer. This atmosphere provides a social community where students can commune, creating a working environment that helps shape student's personal and social growth, making university life a more enjoyable, fruitful, and significant experience.


Professor Christopher Navarrete
Director of Bands

Email if you:

  • have additional questions
  • are interested in leadership opportunities

Chico State Bands

Wind Ensemble

The Wind Ensemble is the premier performance group of the Chico State Band Program. Members of the Wind Ensemble range from intermediate to advance performance experience and welcome both non-music and music majors. Devoted to the preparation and craft of instrumental performance, the Wind Ensemble explores music ranging from traditional and contemporary styles within the wind band reperitore. Members of the Wind Ensemble also have the opportunity to work with some of the world's finest guest composers, conductors, and soloists.  In addition to its uniform series of campus and off-campus concerts, the Wind Ensemble actively tours and performs within the California regions and various professional music conventions. Auditions for this group are during the first week of each semester and are open to all students regardless of major. Check the band board for more information prior to each semester. This Ensemble meets Monday and Wednesday from 3:00-4:50pm in PAC 132. Instruments are available for rental depending on availability.  MUSC 411D 

Concert Band

The Concert is a fun ensemble in the Chico State Band Program that welcomes musicians that are wanting to learn a wind instrument or have minimal performance experience. Members of the Concert Band range from beginner to intermediate performance experience and welcome both non-music and music majors. Focusing towards the development and craft of instrumental performance, the Concert Band explores music ranging from traditional and contemporary within the wind band reperitore.  This Ensemble meets Tuesdays and Thursdays from 12:30-1:45pm in PAC 132. Instruments are available for rental depending on availability.

MUSC 411B 

Pep Band - Wildcat Pride

A new resurgence of an old beast, the Chico State Pep Band, MUSC 411B, known as the Wild Cat Pride, rocks through the Basketball Season and other specialty events. The Pep Band is a highly energized group of musicians that lends its musical abilities and school spirit to create a "home court advantage" for the Chico State men's and women's basketball teams. A great group if you want to have fun, play that funky music, and shake everything you got.  Open to all Chico State Students who play a wind or percussion instrument, no audition required.  Simply come to the first class meeting.

Other Information


We offer more that $45,000 in music scholarships each year. Auditions and/or interviews are required (contact Professor Winslow for details about application procedures). On-campus auditions (highly recommended) occur during the fall and spring semesters.

Leadership Opportunities

The Chico State band program offers several job positions, allowing qualified members of the performing ensembles to have an active role and voice in matters of great importance. Each student wishing to be heavily involved with the band staff must go though an interview process. All job positions are open to music majors and non-music majors alike, giving the staff a unique balance of talent and skills.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I have to be a music major to be in band or any other performing group?

No. Though many students playing in the bands and other performing ensembles are music or music education students, there are many students that are not. We enjoy having students who have varied majors because their talents outside of class add to the cohesiveness and diversity of the performing groups.

How will I have time for band?

Since you have made time in the past for music in your life, there is every reason to make time for music in college. In fact, you may find that there is more free time in college than you have ever had in your life. Each performing ensemble meets one, two, or three days a week for 50 minutes to two hours. Essentially, there is less time commitment for a college band than there is for a high school ensemble. Make the time; it’s worth it.

How many bands (performing groups) are there?

There are many large ensembles: Concert Band, Wind Ensemble, Symphony Orchestra, and Jazz Express. Some of the small ensembles include the Brass Quintet, Brass Choir, and Low Brass Choir, Clarinet Quartet, Woodwind Quintet, and Flute Ensembles. We also have excellent choral ensembles in which many of our instrumentalists perform.

Can I play in more than one ensemble and/or take private lessons?

All full-time music majors are eligible to have private instruction and are highly encouraged to participate in more than one group; however, it is not required. All students, regardless of major may participate in several performing ensembles. The more groups a musician participate in, the more rounded his or her musical experience is.

Jazz Programs

Jazz Studies at CSU, Chico offers a well rounded curriculum to prepare incoming students to deal with a wide variety of professional music opportunities upon graduation. Students with an interest in jazz can concentrate on this area by declaring and pursuing the jazz studies option within the Bachelor of Arts in music. Performance ensembles include both small groups and large ensembles and emphasize student performance skills within the ensemble and solo improvisation abilities. Students are also highly encouraged to make the most of their learning opportunity through involvement from a composition standpoint. Styles range from standard repertoire to funk, Latin, rock, and on to the newest creations by our own student composers. In addition to the standard classes in music such as theory, history, etc. the jazz area offers specific study in areas such as improvisation, jazz history, arranging/composition, applied performance lessons in jazz, form and analysis, and jazz theory. In addition to our jazz program, CSU, Chico music department also proudly offers one of the best and most thriving music industry and recording industry programs around today, helping to provide the ultimate opportunity for today’s up and coming musicians within our program.

Jazz X-Press

The Jazz X-Press represents the flagship ensemble within the jazz program. Repertoire ranges from standard big band to the cutting edge and compositions from students in the ensemble. The X-Press regular hosts world class guest artists for clinics and performance. X-Press guests have included Bobby Shew, Mark Patterson, Vincent Falcone, John Gunther, Carl Fontana, Joe Henderson, Greg Gisbert, and Paul Romaine. Jazz improvisation, original "charts" written specifically for Jazz Express and world renowned guest artists punctuate performances. Contact the director for information on auditions and membership.

Jazz Combos

While big bands often headline jazz programs, the musical opportunities of the combo program reflects the greatest jazz learning opportunities. Combos range from trios to sextets or larger and represent any style category. Students are encouraged to form their own group, with their own style, and experiment with developing their own repertoire through composition and arranging for their group. Jazz Combo ensembles give much more freedom for students to explore various styles while developing their jazz improvisation voices.

Jazz Too Ensemble

Jazz Too Ensemble is a traditional big band ensemble which meets to rehearse one night per week. Jazz Too Ensemble is open to players without audition and offers up unique learning opportunities for less experienced players, those working on secondary instruments, and those wishing to develop their skills concerning jazz performance. Jazz Too also allows additional opportunity for music educators to focus on pedagogical development regarding improvisational performance abilities, ensemble rehearsal technique, lead playing, etc., all in a fun "learn by doing" setting.

Prof. Rocky Winslow
Phone: 530-898-30366

Choral Ensembles

The CSU, Chico choral organizations have a rich history of outstanding concerts and are respected for consistently high performance standards. Each of the choirs, whether auditioned or non-auditioned, is open to all Chico State students, regardless of major. This open enrollment philosophy gives the choirs a unique group dynamic by including a wide cross-section of students with varied interests, with a common interest in performing choral music together. Each choir performs in at least one major concert a semester and participates in a variety of other activities.

Dr. David Scholz
Phone: 530-898-6127

Acappella Choir

Acappella Choir, an auditioned ensemble of approximately 60 students, explores a diverse repertoire of quality vocal music from the 17th to the 21st centuries. This choir is open to any CSU, Chico student, regardless of major. Students interested in singing with this ensemble should register for the class and attend the first class session of the semester, where information regarding auditions, a class syllabus, and a complete schedule of concerts will be distributed. Membership is contingent upon completion of an audition and instructor approval. Contact the director, Dr. David Scholz, at or 530-898-6127 for further information.

Chamber Singers

Chamber Singers is a small ensemble of typically 20 students who are also members of Acappella Choir. This group focuses on innovative performances of challenging choral literature that is varied in style, international in scope, and rich in depth and excellence. This choir is open by audition to any CSU Chico student, regardless of major. Membership is contingent upon completion of an audition, membership in Acappella Choir, and instructor approval. Students interested in singing with the Chamber Singers should hold the rehearsal times open in their schedule and contact the director, Dr. David Scholz, at or 530-898-6127 for further information and to set up an audition time.

Auditions consist of the following:

(Please note that no prepared solo is required)

  1. Vocalization - to determine range, vocal timbre, consistency of vibrato, intonation, etc.
  2. Tonal memory exercises - to determine ability to identify and reproduce notes in a chord, ability to accurately repeat a pattern of notes played on the keyboard.
  3. Sightreading - singers will be asked to sing (as accurately as possible) a series of six sightreading examples independent of harmonic accompaniment.

Brass Choir

The Brass Choir is designed for students who play trumpet, french horn, trombone, euphonium (baritone) or tuba. The ensemble plays a variety of music that ranges from Classical to Jazz and Commercial. Performances occur on and off campus. Contact the director for information on auditions and membership.

Prof. Christopher Navarrete

Phone: 530-898-3036

Steel Pan Ensemble

The steel pan ensemble focuses on learning to play musical arrangements for steel pans, aka “steel drums,” and is open to all students. No prior experience playing steel pan is required, although it is expected that students be able to read sheet music and have basic musicianship skills. Contact the director for information on auditions and membership.

Hope Munro
Phone: 530-898-6128