Nova Jazz Singers

The Kent State Nova Jazz Singers fuses the choral tradition with the power and innovation of jazz.



The Nova Jazz Singers was founded in 2012 by Dr. Christopher J. Venesile, Associate Professor of Choral Music Education, to bring the disciplines of advanced choral singing and the language of jazz together. 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 a historical music as well as a continually evolving art, absorbing current style to keep the music spontaneous and fresh.

The ensemble performs annually at premier jazz clubs in Northeast Ohio, New York City jazz clubs, the Elmhurst Jazz Festival in Chicago, IL, and in 2020 will be featured at the Ohio Music Education Association State Professional Conference."

Who are the Nova Jazz singers  and what will you learn?

  • The Nova Jazz Singers provides our Kent State University students opportunities to study jazz and choral music in a compelling art form.
  • Our members are undergraduate and graduate students from majors across the university.
  • Rehearsals are held three times a week in the late afternoon in the Center for the Performing Arts.
  • Members learn techniques in solo and ensemble jazz arrangements of songs from the Great American Songbook and beyond. 
  • Jazz history, theory, and improvisation are also learned as well as self-accompaniment on piano. 

Joining Nova Jazz Singers

  • Selection of all members is based on competitive musical skills and take place during the first week of classes.
  • To audition as a vocalist or a member of the band (piano, bass, drums, horns), send an email to Dr. Venesile.
  • Vocal Audition: 
    • 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.
    • An accompanist will be provided but please have your song of choice as a lead sheet (melody, lyrics and chords symbols). You can also bring your own accompanist, accompany yourself or bring a pre-recorded CD/MP3. If none of that is possible or available, you can sing acapella as a last resort. 
  • Instrumental Audition:
    • Instrumentalists should prepare a piece in a contemporary style and be able to sight-read very well.
  • Please bring a completed and signed audition form with you to your audition time. 

Download an audition form


Chris Venesile | 330-672-2485

The Nova Jazz Singers is also available to perform at events, please contact Chris for booking information.