The Color of Music

At CSU, the School of Music, Theatre, and Dance is making it possible for more college students to continue making music after high school. As a land grant university, CSU’s mission has always been to engage students through quality education, and that is exactly the benefit being provided by non-auditioned instrumental and choral music ensembles on campus.

The Concert Band, Concert Orchestra, and University Chorus at CSU are open to all majors on campus and do not require an audition to be a member. Students in these ensembles come from various fields, such as biological sciences, business, engineering, computer sciences, English, political science, zoology, and music. Simply register and show up.

“The music professors want to get the message out to the massive number of students at our university who participated in high school music that they can get involved in our music-making community at CSU,” said Erik Johnson, assistant professor of music education and director of the Concert Band. “This is a very important mission that we all share.”

Playing Trumpet In The Band

A student who decided to continue making music during college is creative writing major Carolina Kronbauer, who began her college musical journey by checking out band classes in the course catalog, and ended up playing trumpet in the Concert Band and the CSU Marching Band.

As someone who learned to read music from an early age, Carolina has made music a life-long endeavor, playing in elementary school band and continuing through high school, simply because she enjoyed the experience. “I thought the class was so fun that sometimes I couldn't believe I was supposed to be there instead of doing something else like math or history.”

Carolina even remembers dreams about band class. “No joke!” Band was “so magical and amazing to me that not even the dream realm could make it better…I also had a nightmare about not being able to do band once.”

During Carolina’s junior year, a life-changing event made band even more essential. “When my dad passed away…I realized how much I really needed it. Band grounded me, gave me something to look forward to, gave me amazing people to be around, it just gave me so much. I have no idea how I would've gotten through that without it,” she explained. “I needed to do band and music in college. It wasn’t optional.”

A Difficult Transition

For Carolina, the shift to college was very hard, even beyond the grief she was still feeling about her father, and once again, band helped her through a transition. “In a way, band keeps me sane, and it keeps me fulfilled,” she stated.

Carolina went on to reveal an additional element that complicated her Freshman year. “As a person with synesthesia, my life has always been full of colors,” she said about the sensory condition where the stimulation of one sense, such as hearing or sight, triggers a sensory association. “People's names, personality, feelings, words, music, smells, even the overall atmosphere of an environment has a color,” describes Carolina.

“Most of my life has always been surrounded by a happy yellow, but when my dad passed away, over half of the colors I used to see vanished, probably due to me sensing my own emotions.” The change was devastating. “Imagine losing one of your favorite senses because you're grieving so much.”

A Colorful World

As her time in 115-member Concert Band unfolded, Carolina had a pivotal moment. “For the first time in two years, I saw yellow again. I cried when I realized that my dear, dear yellow had returned. And slowly, throughout the semester, all of my colors returned.”

“I will never be able to ever fully express my gratitude or repay the debt I feel, towards Concert Band, Dr. Johnson, and all the friends I made. They all made my colors come back, and I will never forget that.

In reflecting on a year where she “met wonderful people, made wonderful friends, and performed for the wonderful director,” Carolina gives a “big shout-out to fellow trumpet players Michael Poland, Drew Guyor, Jake Isaacs, Bryan Mckinstry, and Joe Joe McLoughlin; graduate student conductors Sebastian Adams and Andrew Gillespie, who were awesome; and to Dr. Johnston too!”


Join CSU’s Non-Auditioned Music Ensembles!

At CSU, there are three ensembles open to all majors, and no audition to be a member. Simply register and show up!

Some scholarships are available for non-music majors. Email the instructor for details!

The School of Music, Theatre and Dance's top band, orchestra, and choral ensembles are open to all students, regardless of major. Auditions for most ensembles are held at the beginning of each semester. CSU Marching Band auditions are held in June each year. Click here for details about auditioned ensembles.

If you don’t have an instrument with you on campus, don’t worry! Many instruments are available for rental.

Classes are held at the University Center for the Arts, 1400 Remington St.