Approximately 50 percent of Sem’s Upper School students take part in musical activities. Experienced musicians participate in the prestigious Civic Orchestra, jazz ensemble, or the select Madrigal Singers. Students whom the directors deem capable of working in an ensemble have the opportunity to play in a chamber group. Individualized lessons are available from a world-class faculty in addition to the main courses of study.
At the Lower School, Sem’s music teachers are dedicated to nurturing a love for music, helping them to grow as musicians and appreciative listeners. Music is included in many primary classroom lessons and activities, and all students participate in three annual performances of vocal or instrumental music (or both)! After-school and before-school string instrument instruction is available beginning in first grade.
- 2015-16 Awards & Accolades
- Civic Orchestra
- Handbell Choir
- Jazz Band
- Madrigal Singers
- Percussion Ensemble
- String Ensemble
- Wind Ensemble
The Wyoming Seminary Chorale is composed of about 50 Sem students in ninth through twelfth grades. Directed by John M. Vaida, chair of the Wyoming Seminary Visual and Performing Arts Department, the co-educational group sings a wide variety of repertoire ranging from baroque and classical to liturgical and contemporary works. The select Madrigal Singers, a group of about 24 students, also perform with the Chorale.
The Wyoming Seminary Civic Orchestra is high quality ensemble comprised of professional musicians, music teachers, area college music majors, adult musicians in other fields, as well as high school students from Wyoming Seminary, PAI, and other local schools. Under the direction of Dr. Rick Hoffenberg, the orchestra continues a tradition of excellence, stimulating an interest in classical music throughout the community.
One of the most active performing groups on campus, the handbells have performed everything from Coldplay, Queen, and Lady Gaga to works by classical composers such as Monteverdi and Tchaikovsky. They can be heard on two major concerts every year as well as at numerous chapel services and have performed off campus at such highly regarded performance venues such as the Scranton Cultural Center and F. M. Kirby Center for the Performing Arts. They were one of the featured groups on local public television station WVIA in a “Songs of the Season” broadcast.
• Three students were chosen for the All-State Jazz Festival in Hershey, Pa. in April, 2011.
• The Jazz Band won the top honors at the Big Apple Classic Music Festival in New York City, garnering first place in jazz performance, first for overall music group, and a special award for Maggie Rupp '12 for outstanding solo.
• Eight Sem students were chosen for the District 9 Jazz Band in 2010 (out of the 17 students chosen from 45 school districts!).
• The Jazz Band was the only High School Jazz band in the state chosen, out of the 140 bands that auditioned, to perform at the 2010 All-State Music Conference in Pittsburgh April 22-24.
• The Jazz Band was selected to play at Disney World's Epcot Center in April 2010, and attended a Jazz Workshop with Disney musicians.
• Wyoming Seminary hosted the District Jazz Ensemble from March 19-20, 2010.
• Four students were chosen for the District Jazz Band in the 2013-14 school year.
The Wyoming Seminary Madrigal Singers are a select group of 24 voices that performs a varied repertoire of music ranging from baroque and classical to contemporary and world music. Directed by John M. Vaida, chair of the Wyoming Seminary Visual and Performing Arts Department, the Madrigals are highly regarded both in their home region of Northeastern Pennsylvania and throughout Europe, where they have appeared in numerous festivals and competitions. In 2006 the Madrigals conducted their first highly successful tour of Asia, performing in South Korea, China and Taiwan.
The Orchestra, directed by Anthony J. Kubasek, performs challenging works from the classical repertoire as well as contemporary works by living composers. The group has presented several world premieres of new compositions and arrangements over the past several years. Open to students by audition only, the Orchestra performs in two major concerts each year.
With repertoire that features traditional and non-traditional percussion instruments, the Percussion Ensemble has a long history of performances that entertain and educate.
Percussion Ensemble has become a venue for those who wish to understand rhythm, learn more about percussion instruments, improve percussion skills, improve note reading and overall musicianship.
Percussion Ensemble welcomes pianists and other instrumentalists to explore the exciting world of percussion while using the skills they already have. Many of our graduates have used their percussion skills in their collegiate and professional experiences.
Percussion Ensemble teaches important skills necessary to participate as a percussionist in the school’s larger ensembles, such as Wind Ensemble and Orchestra. Therefore, participation in Percussion Ensemble is very strongly recommended to students who have studied or are currently studying snare drum, bass drum, cymbals or mallet percussion such as xylophone, bells or vibraphone.