Added Courses Give TNCC’s Music Program a New Tune

Published: March 30, 2006

TNCC Choral Ensemble to Perform on April 21 at 7:30 p.m.

THE VIRGINIA PENINSULA –   Some students are singing and playing a new tune at Thomas Nelson Community College (TNCC). For the first time in the College’s history, two performance-based courses join the line up of offerings in the Music Program thereby expanding opportunities for music lovers in the community.

New on the roster are Brass Ensemble (MUS 195) and Choral Ensemble (MUS 137).  The courses are open to current students as well as incoming students who are interested in honing their vocal skills or who have experience as brass instrument players.

“Naturally, we are excited about the performance aspect of the courses. Everybody enjoys music; it refreshes and uplifts ones’ spirit. I want students to ultimately become better consumers of music … not just the popular music scene of today but to experience the beauty of many different styles of music such as jazz, gospel, musical theater and, of course, the instrumental and choral music of Bach, Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Brahms, Tchaikovsky and the list goes on,” said John Park, TNCC Music adjunct faculty. “Students may also be interested in knowing that the music courses can transfer as elective courses to four-year colleges and universities.”

The Choral Ensemble gave its debut performance last December ? a winter concert ? at the Mary T. Christian Auditorium on the Hampton campus. Park said the premiere performance “exceeded all expectations” and was the culmination of three months of practice and demanding rehearsals for the group of 18 students who began the class in the fall semester. The course is also available in the spring semester.

The Choral Ensemble is preparing for its second concert which is scheduled for Friday, April 21 at 7:30 p.m. in the College’s Mary T. Christian Auditorium. The concert is free and open to the public.
As for the Brass Ensemble, the group begins rehearsing this fall with students playing various brass instruments such as the trumpet, French horn, trombone, tuba, and euphonium. Park said 14 students that are planning to register for Brass Ensemble (MUS 195) have contacted him thus far. Park said he hopes many more students will join when “the word gets out.”

The new courses bring music offerings to four areas in the Communications and Humanities division at TNCC. A vocalist, trumpet player and conductor, Park said other courses include Music Appreciation (MUS 121 and MUS 122), which he teaches spring, summer and fall semesters, and Fundamentals of Music (MUS 08) which will be available in the fall and spring.

Music Appreciation gives students an opportunity to enjoy listening to instrumental and choral music written by composers of the Renaissance and Baroque periods, through the Classical and Romantic eras concluding with the art music of today. Students can take advantage of concerts by professional musicians who are invited to perform on campus in Hampton as part of various performance series during the academic year. The Fundamentals of Music (MUS 108) should enable the student to read music, Park noted.

Park said the new courses came about as a result of a joint effort between TNCC President Dr. Charles A. Taylor and Mitchell Smith, dean of Communications and Humanities. “I have always wanted to direct a choral ensemble at TNCC but it was only a wish until Dr. Taylor began his tenure here. The president wanted to initiate a chorus for TNCC so he talked with Dean Smith, who has always been a source of support and has provided a wealth of information and sound advice. As a result, we were able to offer the Choral Ensemble for the fall of 2005,” said Park.

After the success of the Choral Ensemble’s first concert, Dr. Taylor became interested in increasing the number of course offerings in the area of music. After consulting the Virginia Community College’s System Master Plan, the College selected two courses targeted to begin in the fall of 2006. These courses are Brass Ensemble (MUS 195) and Fundamentals of Music (MUS 08). Any interested students (current or incoming) who have band experience, who own an instrument or who can rent one, are encouraged to take MUS 195. Any student who has the desire to learn to read music and understand the basics of music theory should register for Fundamentals of Music (MUS 08).

Park, a former conductor of Marine Bands and instructor at the Armed Forces School of Music, holds a bachelor’s degree from Elon University, North Carolina, and a master’s degree from the Teachers’ College, Columbia University in New York City. He has performed as a member of the Tanglewood Festival Chorus, which is a chorus of the Boston Symphony, and sung under the direction of such renowned conductors as Leonard Bernstein and Seiji Ozawa. He has also been a member of the Virginia Chorale and the Virginia Symphony Chorus.

For more information about the TNCC Music Program at TNCC and the Choral and Brass ensembles, contact John Park at

Note to Editors and News Reporters -
The TNCC Choral Ensemble rehearses on Mondays and Wednesdays from 1:00 to 2:40 p.m. in Room 818, Templin Hall.  News reporters are welcomed to visit the rehearsals.


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