Prof. Mann takes new String Ensemble to the next level

 By Alexis Piscatello

Staff Writer

Photo by Anne Richoux
Michael Mann, assistant professor of music, conducts a string ensemble practice September 6 in Jennings Hall.

Michael Mann, new coordinator of instrumental music education and chamber strings, is now a permanent faculty member at Union.

A former visiting professor, Mann worked wherever the department had needs. Now he conducts the String Ensemble and Symphonic Band, teaches conducting and percussion and works more in his field of training, he said.

One cello, two bass, three violas and nine violin players all play for the String Ensemble, the first step in a four-year process to create a full university orchestra.

The purpose of the ensemble, Mann said, is to increase opportunity for string players.

Participation in a group setting allows for more versatility in future job options for a professional player, he said.

The overarching goal is “to build an instrumental program with the strings and band toward a symphony orchestra and a touring and recruiting symphonic band.”

Mann said the development of such an orchestra is almost two years ahead of schedule.

“Officially, we could have a full symphonic orchestra by fall 2013,” Mann said.

Erika Sitton, senior music education major and a viola player in the ensemble, had positive things to say about the program.

“It is incredible because we haven’t had anything like this before,” Sitton said.I am really excited to be a part of it growing into something great.”

Students also are grateful for Mann’s directing and teaching.

Rachel Visel, freshman nursing major and second violinist in the ensemble, appreciates how Mann “keeps Christ-centered even through teaching us difficult music and skills.”

Sitton said she values Mann’s friendliness and approachability.

“He is always willing to help and is knowledgeable and passionate about what he does,” she said.

For more information on joining the String Ensemble, call Michael Mann at 661-5231 or email

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