Hitting notes, not books:

AC Chamber Orchestra
The Amarillo College Chamber Orchestra performs in the Oesheger Mall, right in front of the College Union Building. Courtesy photo.

By Blass Guerrero:

After a stressful day in math class, some students escape the pressures of assignments, tests and studying for hours, by picking up a guitar or singing.

Many Amarillo College students are currently participating in music ensembles. Most of these students are majoring in music, but there are many non-music majors as well.

“About 140-150 nonmajors are currently in music ensembles and that’s continuing to grow,” Camille Day Nies, associate professor of music, said.

AC currently offers many music ensembles for any student to join such as band, choir, orchestra and guitar. Many of the participants are music-lovers who have always enjoyed musical activities.

Nies said that students find things common with others when making music together. Most of the non-majors were involved in musical activities in high school and now at AC they continue to take music classes in order to stay involved, learn new things and “add some fun to the academic experience,” Nies said.

“Music is something that has been part of my life since I was a kid and will continue throughout the rest of my life no matter what career I’m doing,” Christine Davison, a general studies major, said.

Some AC music ensembles do not require an audition. “Any AC students is welcome to join even if you don’t know anything about music,” Jesse Neel, a nursing major, said. The chamber orchestra, guitar classes, band and piano don’t require auditions or instructor approval to join.

Other ensembles, such as the guitar ensemble, concert choir, the Amarillo Master Chorale and the jazz ensemble, all require auditions or instructor approval, but non-majors are encouraged to audition.

Most of these ensembles meet in the evenings for rehearsal, except the piano ensemble, which rehearses Saturday mornings. Students can register to receive academic credit or continuing education credit for participating in an ensemble.

For more information about the music ensembles or how to join, students can call the music department at 806-372-5340 or contact Camille Nies at 806-371-5356 or by email at cdnies@actx.edu.

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