The Stetson Jazz Ensemble is a major performing ensemble in the School of Music and is directed by veteran musician, Patrick Hennessey. Performing four concerts a 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 a widely ranging repertoire from swing era standards to contemporary originals in a variety of styles. Members of the Jazz Ensemble are also often formed into smaller groups for concerts and special events.
Big band music has existed at Stetson since the late 1930's - 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 Jazz Ensemble in the early Seventies. Over the past several years, the band has performed at festivals including the New Smyrna Jazz Festival, the LYNX Jazz Festival in Orlando, the Noble Watts Jazz Festival in DeLand, and concerts at Flagler Auditorium, the Dolly Hand Theater in Belle Glade and Disney World.