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Nova Jazz Singers


The Kent State University Nova Jazz Singers founded in 2012 by Dr. Christopher J. Venesile, Assistant Professor of Choral Music Education, bring the disciplines of advanced choral singing and the language of jazz together (with and without a rhythm section) in a mix of complex musical elements. 

The ensemble is comprised of undergraduate and graduate music and non-music major students.  Members are selected based on their competitive musical skills and learn techniques in solo and ensemble jazz arrangements of songs from the Great American Songbook and beyond.  In addition, members learn jazz history, theory, and improvisation, and accompany themselves at the piano. 

Since Nova means "new," the group's repertoire also includes new additions to the Songbook.  Since the dawn of the jazz age, musicians have relied on current and past popular material for inspiration.  Since the late 1960's, songwriters like Joni Mitchell, James Taylor, Stevie Wonder, and others have taken their place among the Irving Berlins, Cole Porters, and George Gershwins.  As the songs from the 30's and 40's became the standards of future decades, so have the tunes from the 70's and 80's become standard material for arrangements and improvising today.  The Nova Jazz Singers sample material from all of the era's and styles of American popular music in unique arrangements that combine sophisticated harmonies, melodies, and rhythms that provide challenges to students' singing, reading, and aural skills.

As both a popular, contemporary music and a recognized world classical music, jazz reflects America's social and musical history.  In the 21st century, jazz has become an historical music as well as a continually evolving art, absorbing into it current stylistic properties that keep the music spontaneous and fresh.

The Nova Jazz Singers provides our Kent State University students opportunities to study jazz and choral music in a compelling art form, helping to prepare them for careers as performers, music educators, and music industry professionals.


The Kent State University Nova Jazz Singers are available to perform for public concerts and private events. For information on bookings, please contact: or call 330-672-2485

  • Are you curious about what the Nova Jazz Singers are? What you need to do for the audition? Anyone interested in auditioning as a singer or band member (piano, bass, drums, horns) should send an email to Dr. Venesile for more information.
  • Auditions will be held during the first week of classes. Rehearsals are held three times a week in the late afternoon in the Center for the Performing Arts.
  • You MUST bring a completed and signed audition form with you to your audition time.  Audition forms may be downloaded from the Nova Jazz Singers webpage.
Click here to download an Audition Form

An accompanist will be provided to play piano, however, you must have your song (preferably in the correct key) in a lead-sheet fashion (melody, lyrics, and chord symbols). You may bring an accompanist if you wish, accompany yourself, or bring a pre-recorded mp3 or CD. You last choice should be to sing a cappella.

The Vocal Audition will consist of:

  • Perform a prepared piece of your choice that fits your voice the best. Pop or jazz standards would be most appropriate, but sing what you sound best on.
  • A sight-reading and aural training example.  Popular music requires musicians to rely on both their reading skills AND their ear.  These will adequately reveal your base skills in these areas.
  • Instrumentalists should prepare a piece in a contemporary style and be able to read very well.

Contact Dr. Venesile for further questions at

IMAGE: Nova Jazz Singers Final Logo

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