Patrick Hennessey, Director
The Stetson University Jazz Ensemble is a major performing ensemble in the School of Music, and is directed by veteran musician and educator Dr. Patrick Hennessey. Performing four concerts per year, members are chosen by audition from musicians of the School of Music, plus interested and talented non-music majors.
The ensemble (which is primarily an 18-member jazz big band) performs selections ranging from swing-era standards to contemporary originals — encompassing a variety of musical styles. Smaller ensembles are also formed on occasion for concerts and special events.
Big band music has existed at Stetson University since the late 1930s, mainly in the form of a dance orchestra. With the increased inclusion of jazz in both secondary and higher education, the School of Music established the Stetson University Jazz Ensemble in the early 1970s. Over the past several years, the band has performed at area festivals including the New Smyrna Beach Jazz Festival, the LYNX Jazz Festival in Orlando, and the Noble Watts Jazz Festival in DeLand, in addition to concerts at Flagler Auditorium, the Dolly Hand Cultural Arts Center in Belle Glade, and Disney World. The jazz ensemble also performs on campus for university functions, in addition to its regularly scheduled fall and spring concerts in the Stetson Room.