The St. Mary’s University Music Department offers a wide variety of performing instrumental and vocal ensembles for students interested in furthering their music making abilities, while also participating in the full university experience.

Each performing ensemble is comprised of students from the department of music as well as the many other fantastic departments around campus.

Scholarship opportunities are available to students performing in the ensembles at St. Mary’s University, and are open to music majors, music minors, as well as students from other degree plans wishing to perform with the ensembles. The Wind Ensemble, Jazz Orchestra, Concert Choir “Coro Santa Maria,” String Orchestra and the Opera Workshop perform in Treadaway Hall. The Rattler Band performs in the fun and exciting Greehey Arena during basketball games. The Chapel Choir is also active during Campus Mass at Guadalupe Chapel and Holy Rosary Church.

Alumni of the St. Mary’s University performing ensembles have gone on to become professional musicians, incredible music educators, as well as highly successful doctors, engineers, business people and more.

Concert Choir

choir students rehearsing

The Concert Choir is a mixed choir of SATB voices and performs a wide range of vocal literature, from Renaissance through the 21st century. All students, faculty and staff on campus are welcome to participate in the ensemble and sing their hearts out. No audition is necessary unless the student would like to audition for a small scholarship. The choir usually performs one or two full evening concerts each semester to an enthusiastic audience in the Treadaway Recital Hall, located on the north end of campus.

The Concert Choir is a one-hour credit course and may count towards the Fine Arts requirement or as an elective.

Opera Theatre

The Opera Theatre presents staged chamber operas and operatic scenes, and is open to all students on campus by audition. 

Students gain experience in voice performance, stage acting, and stage craft while studying a wide range of musical and dramatic traditions.

The Opera Theatre is a one-hour credit course and may count towards the Fine Arts requirement or as an elective.

one male and one female music student singing in an opera workshop

Musical Theatre

musical theatre production of RENT

The Musical Theatre partners with the Department of Drama, and presents productions of Broadway hits, and other popular musicals.  Students gain performance experience and skills in the areas of singing, acting, dance, staging, and production. 

Recent performances have included Rent, Little Women, Godspell, and Into the Woods. The Musical Theatre is a one-hour credit course and may count towards the Fine Arts requirement or as an elective.

Wind Ensemble

The St. Mary University Wind Ensemble carries a rich tradition of making music at the highest level, and for engaging students in a first-class collaborative artistic environment. The ensemble was founded in 1947 by the legendary and illustrious bandmaster Frank “Pop” Sturchio, who for many years educated the St. Mary’s music students for a future in successful music making.

For generations, students performing in the St. Mary’s Wind Ensemble have gone on to become professional musicians, highly successful music educators in Texas and the U.S., and fantastic professionals in other fields such as medicine, engineering, business, and more.

wind ensemble performing at St. Mary's Defining Moment event

Under the direction of Matthew Mireles, D.M.A., the St. Mary’s Wind Ensemble performs high energy, captivating, and moving concerts with repertoire ranging from contemporary wind band literature to some of the most cherished standard wind band pieces. Scholarship auditions are open to music majors, music minors and students from other degree plans.

All students performing in the St. Mary’s University Wind Ensemble are required to perform a placement audition before the semester begins. These auditions will take place in Treadaway Hall, Recital Hall, and will be heard by the Director of Bands, and other St. Mary’s professors of each instrument.

Students are required to perform all of the specific excerpts assigned for their instrument included in the links below. The auditions are blind and will last approximately five minutes. Once the auditions have concluded, the panel will assign parts based on each performer’s musicality and technical ability.

Since auditions are blind, each student will be given an audition number after they have signed up for an available time slot.

Audition Excerpts (PDF sheet music)

Audition materials and procedures will be posted by the end of July 2020. Please check back for more information.


Jazz Orchestra

St. Mary's jazz orchestra students performing at Fiesta Jazz Festival

The St. Mary’s University Jazz Orchestra under the direction of John Rankin, D.M.A., was formed in 1980 by the Department of Music and continues to be the longest continuously performing university jazz band in San Antonio.

Over the years the Jazz Orchestra has been a regular guest at area and regional music festivals, including: Jazz’s Alive, University of Houston Jazz Festival, Greehey Jazz Festival (Colo.), Temple College Jazz Festival, Fiesta Jazz Festival, and the Texas Jazz Festival.


Outstanding soloists that have been featured with the Jazz Orchestra include: Gordon Goodwin, Rufus Reid, Don Menza, Kevin Mahogany, Bobbby Shew, Wayne Bergeron, Noboku, and James Polk, DMA. Dedicated to performing America’s treasure, jazz music, the ensemble performs class jazz arrangements from all style periods.


From Bach to Bloch, St. Mary’s Orchestra performs a variety of music from across the centuries, and in collaboration with other departments and organizations. The ensemble was founded in 2012 with the help and support of Brother Michael Sullivan and its founding director, Philip Johnson.

Under the direction of Deana Johnson, the ensemble continues its mission of preparing musicians for the professional world, and bringing the beauty and joy of music to our community.

The orchestra is open to experienced string players with four or more years of experience on violin, viola, cello or bass.

violin player rehearsing with choir

While formal auditions are not required, scholarship auditions are recommended. Music scholarships are available to all string students, including students pursuing non-music degrees.

Liturgical Choir

The Liturgical Choir (St. Mary’s Chapel Choir) is directed by Maria Smith and is made up of St. Mary’s University students who represent the different schools on campus. The ensemble fulfills its role by singing for the Sunday and all-campus liturgies at St. Mary’s.

Its repertoire is a diverse selection of liturgical music from Latin to contemporary pieces and incorporates various languages wherever possible in order to expose the students to the rich tradition of church music.

Guitar Ensemble

A chamber music experience for guitar music majors/minors and students from other schools in the University. The ensemble typically performs trio and quartet repertoire from Renaissance to Modern Periods. For a more inclusive music experience, the ensemble often combines talents with other instrumentalists or vocalists from the Department of Music.

Performances include the Music Department Ensembles Christmas Concerts, Guitar Studio Concerts, Senior Guitar Recitals, and other events on campus or in the community.  The Guitar Ensemble is directed by Leslie Lyon.

guitar ensemble

Jazz Combo

five musicians playing in the jazz combo

The St. Mary’s Jazz Combo is place to learn, experience and practice the art of improvisation. Playing music of the American songbook, bebop, funk, pop and other song forms, you will be challenged to put your personal spin (improvisation) on the music.

The Combo is a workshop in learning the process of Jazz. You will be challenged to play music freely within the guidelines of form and harmony. No audition is required. 

Under the direction of Bill King, the Jazz combo performs for two concerts every semester in addition to the Fiesta Jazz Festival. The high performance level and versatility has led to the group being showcased at various university events and performance tours to high schools across the state of Texas.

Woodwind Ensemble

The St. Mary’s University Woodwind Ensemble is one of the most flexible and diverse ensembles available on campus. Consisting of music majors, music minors and non-major/minors, this small chamber ensemble consists of mixed numbers of various woodwind instruments, including flute/piccolo, recorder, oboe, clarinet, saxophone, bassoon, and horn.

Since the instrumentation changes every semester, this provides for limitless instrument combinations and wider variety in programming, often including both original works, arrangements and transcriptions.

student playing the clarinet during rehearsal

In the chamber music setting, students are able to bridge the gap between large ensemble playing and solo playing. By working with small groups of musicians, typically 2-10, students can better develop listening skills, learn to play more independently, and build confidence in a supportive and flexible environment.

Scholarships are available for those who complete a successful audition.

The Woodwind Ensemble is directed by Dr. Kristin Hayes.

Flute Ensemble

The St. Mary’s University Flute Ensemble is directed by Dr. Kristin Hayes, and consists of music majors, music minors and non-music majors/minors. The flute ensemble provides flutists with an opportunity to work on flute chamber music, which includes the opportunity to play piccolo, alto and/or bass flute.

In the chamber music setting, students are able to bridge the gap between large ensemble playing and solo playing. By working with small groups of musicians, typically 2-10, students can better develop listening skills, learn to play more independently, and build confidence in a supportive and flexible environment.

Required for all flute music majors. Scholarships are available for those who complete a successful audition.

Rattler Band

The St. Mary’s University “Rattler Band” is under the direction of John Rankin, D.M.A., Director of Bands, and performs regularly at the home basketball games at the magnificent and electrifying college basketball venue, Greehey Arena. 

The band performs a repertoire of contemporary pop tunes, famous pep band favorites, as well as St. Mary’s cheers. Students performing in the group include music majors, music minors, and participants from other degree areas. Scholarships are also available to any student looking to perform in Rattler Band.

group shot of the Rattler Band

Mariachi Cascabel

Mariachi Cascabel de St. Mary’s University has the goal of spreading Mexican culture all around campus and the community.

The mariachi is open to students of all majors and classifications. Rehearsals take place once a week and performances are scheduled every semester. The Mariachi is a Registered Student Organization and a huge cultural aspect on campus.

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