Unlicensed Syncopation 2015 - 2016
Illinois Wesleyan University’s vocal jazz ensemble, Unlicensed Syncopation, was established
in January 2015. This ensemble focuses on the study and performance of jazz and jazz-influenced
music in large ensemble, small ensemble, and solo settings. The music studied by the
ensemble features close harmonies as well as opportunities for building improvisation
The students in this ensemble learn about the practice and performance of high-quality
contemporary vocal literature by highly regarded vocal jazz arrangers. They also learn
about the technology involved in the performance of this type of music, including
appropriate microphone technique, as well as the setup of the soundboard, speakers,
and monitors. Unlicensed Syncopation performs at least one large concert per semester,
and also travels to vocal jazz festivals both inside and outside of Illinois. The
group was chosen to perform at the ILMEA Illinois Music Education Conference in January
2016. They also had the privilege of working with Dr. Kate Reid (Program Director
of Jazz Vocal Performance, University of Miami Frost School of Music) during the 2016
IWU Jazz Festival.
The ensemble is open to any IWU student. There are 10-14 vocalists chosen to be in
the ensemble, as well as a rhythm section (piano, bass, drums, and guitar). There
is a rigorous audition process that takes place at the beginning of the academic school
year in order to determine placement in the ensemble.
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