School of Music, Theatre
and Dance

Varner Hall, Room 207
371 Varner Drive
Rochester, MI 48309-4485
(location map)
Academic Office: (248) 370-2030
Box Office: (248) 370-3013
Fax: (248) 370-2041

image of two women dancing together, smiling

Community Engagement

The Oakland University School of Music, Theatre and Dance is committed to enhancing the lives of our neighbors through music lessons and classes (OU Community Music), interactive workshops (Voice Teaching Lab, Percussion Day and more), youth ensembles (Honor Band, Orchestra and more), traveling theatre productions (James and the Giant Peach) and meaningful community partnerships (OU/Pontiac Initiative.)

Summer camps

Workshops and Camps

Music, Theatre and Dance at OU offers community members an opportunity to participate in workshops virtually for the time being, or in-person on our spacious wooded campus in suburban Rochester Hills, Michigan. Our workshops are taught by our faculty and by guest performers and teachers.

These outstanding arts performance workshops combine an open and collaborative atmosphere with rigorous standards and excellent teaching.

OU works to ensure safe conduct and supportive interaction between youth and program leaders. Learn more about our initiatives at the Youth Protection website.

For workshops with a fee, refunds will be given up to two weeks prior to the event start date. Cancellations within two weeks of the event start date will not be refunded. Exceptions: Honor Band and Honors Orchestra will issue refunds no later than one week before the first rehearsal.

For more information, please contact

OU Voice Day “Raise Your Voice”

Raise Your Voice 2022


The day will have four major events - and the first requires your nominations. We are looking for well-prepared high school soloists to come and perform live at the Oakland Center Habitat at Oakland University. We want to celebrate soloists from across the state and to welcome them back to live performance. This is a particularly good opportunity for students who have prepared for MSVMA Solo and Ensemble, or for those who are planning to pursue a degree in music. Nominations must be submitted by January 7, 2022.

TO NOMINATE A STUDENT, PLEASE CLICK HERE: RAISE YOUR VOICE NOMINATION. If you have a video available, there will be a space to upload it in the form. We will choose 10-15 singers to come perform on campus and spend the day with us.

After our high school student showcase, we will then welcome International singing artist ZACHARY JAMES who was named Broadway World's "Vocalist and Performer of the Decade." He will offer a cabaret-style concert that is sure to ignite and inspire you and your students.

In the early evening, Mr. James will offer an open Master Class to our OU students. The benefits of attending Master Classes are many-- they offer an opportunity for younger students to actively listen, learn, and immediately observe the effects of high-level instruction. Comments often are on the nature of singing, and while specifically intended for the singer on the stage, they frequently can be useful to all vocal artists.

1 p.m. High School soloist showcase
2 p.m. Town Hall discussion "One Voice: What's the difference between beauty and function?"
with OU faculty and students
3:30 p.m. Zachary James Cabaret
6 p.m. Zachary James Open Master Class with Oakland University singers

We are proud to celebrate the vocal arts in Michigan and hope you come join us on campus on Sunday, January 23. All events are open to the public, admission is free, but advanced registration is required. REGISTER HERE: RAISE YOUR VOICE REGISTRATION.


2022 High School Jazz Festival

Oakland University School of Music, Theatre and Dance presents: The 2022 Oakland University High School Jazz Festival

Saturday February 5th, 10 a.m. - 3 p.m.
Flagstar Strand Theatre for The Performing Arts
12 North Saginaw Street Pontiac, MI 48342

Registration opening soon! If you're interested, please email

The 2022 Oakland University High School Jazz Festival is an all inclusive musical experience for developing jazz ensembles to showcase their skills and talents. Participating ensembles will have the opportunity to workshop with OU Jazz Faculty on various jazz ensemble techniques and improvisational concepts. The festival will conclude with a performance from the OU Jazz Band following an awards ceremony for excellent ensemble performances. Potential awards include scholarships for outstanding ensemble members to the 2022 Oakland University Summer Jazz Intensive.

OU Jazz Faculty:
Tim Blackmon (Applied Jazz Trumpet, Assistant Jazz Coordinator, Director of OU Jazz Band)
Scott Gwinell (Applied Jazz Piano, Vocal Jazz Coordinator)
Marion Hayden (Applied Jazz Bass, Jazz Combo Coordinator)
Mark Kieme (Applied Jazz Saxophone)
Gayelynn McKinney (Applied Jazz Percussion)
Enrique Rios-Ellis (Flute/Musics of Latin America, Jazz Coordinator, Latin Jazz Combo Director)

Instructions For Ensemble Directors:
Eligible ensembles can range from a trio/combo, to a traditional sized big band. All participating  ensembles should prepare 3 contrasting pieces for their performance time slot. (15 minute  maximum) Please plan on bringing equipment necessary for the performance of your  ensemble. (guitar/bass amps, drums/cymbals, mutes, music, etc.)

High School Honors Orchestra November 19-21, 2021


For those who have been selected to participate in the OU 2021 High School Honors Orchestra, please register and pay the $40 dollar fee (includes t-shirt and dinner) here: High School Honors Orchestra 2021

(all selected students must show PROOF OF VACCINATION at check-in before chair placements)

November 19-21, 2021

Varner Recital Hall at Oakland University
371 Varner Drive in Rochester, MI

Oakland University 2021 High School Honors Orchestra will feature Zelijko (Bill) Milicevic, principal clinician and conductor in addition to OU String Faculty and members of the Oakland Symphony Orchestra.

SCHOLARSHIP AUDITIONS for Fall 2022 Admission to the Oakland University School of Music, Theatre and Dance (optional)
For any seniors who are looking at being a music major or minor at OU, we will be holding in-person scholarship auditions for the OU School of Music, Theatre and Dance before the festivities begin - Friday, November 19 beginning at 3:30 p.m. If you would like to audition, please email and put “OUHO Scholarship” in the subject line.

For scholarship auditions, be prepared to play two contrasting works from the following three choices: (1) a movement from a J.S. Bach solo sonata, partita or suite, or other Baroque work; (2) a movement from a 19th or 20th century sonata or concerto; (3) a work of the student’s choice.

Honors Orchestra Schedule

Friday, November 19
3:30 p.m. Scholarship Auditions (check in 3:00)
4:30 p.m. Check in for everyone else
5 – 6:45 p.m. – Chair Placement Auditions
7 – 9 p.m. – Rehearsal in Recital Hall (RH)

Saturday, November 20
4 – 5:15 p.m. – Sectional rehearsal with string faculty
5:15 – 6 p.m. – Pizza (provided)
6:15 – 8 p.m. – Rehearsal in RH

Sunday, November 21
2 p.m. - Dress Rehearsal for Strings in RH
2:30 p.m. - Dress Rehearsal for Strings and Winds in RH
4 p.m. - Concert on stage in RH

Questions? Contact Michelle Tschirhart at

For a complete list of performances, visit

High School Honor Band November 12-13, 2021

Presenting the Oakland University 2021 High School Honor Band.

If you have been selected for the OU 2021 High School Honor Band, please register and pay the $30 fee (includes lunch and a t-shirt) here: Honors Band November 2021.

Please note, participants will need to show proof of vaccination at check in.

When: November 12-13, 2021

Where: Varner Recital Hall at Oakland University
371 Varner Drive in Rochester, MI

Featuring: Dr. Andrea Brown, Associate Director of Bands from the University of Maryland will serve as the weekend's guest conductor. Students will also work with Oakland University faculty and hear a short performance of the Oakland University Wind Symphony as part of the event. 

Optional Scholarship auditions for fall 2022 admission to the Oakland University School of Music, Theatre and Dance. For any seniors who are looking at being a music major or minor at OU, we will be holding in-person scholarship auditions for the OU School of Music, Theatre and Dance before the festivities begin - Friday, November 12 beginning at 5 p.m. If you would like to audition for the scholarship, please email and put “OUHB Scholarship” in the subject line.

For scholarship auditions, be prepared to play a movement of a sonata or concerto or two contrasting etudes.

Honor Band Schedule:

Friday, November 12
5 p.m.  Optional Oakland University Scholarship Auditions (Check-in 4:30)
6 p.m. Check-in for everyone else
6:30 p.m. Rehearsal begins
9 p.m. Rehearsal ends

Saturday, November 13
9 a.m. Rehearsal (arrive at 8:30)
11 a.m. Sectionals with OU Faculty
Noon Pizza Lunch provided by OU
12:45 p.m. Rehearsal
2:30 p.m. Break
3 p.m. Pre-concert rehearsal
3:30 p.m. Concert 

Questions? Contact Michelle Tschirhart at

Diversifying Your Stand & Building an Inclusive Program Professional Development

Saturday, November 20, 2021 9 a.m. - 3 p.m.

Varner Hall, Room 206

Register for Diversifying Your Stand & Building an Inclusive Program today! Diversifying Your Stand & Building an Inclusive Program is a professional development opportunity centered around expanding the repertoire we program, perform, and teach. The program's featured speaker, Ashley Killam, will guide participants in a discussion around building an inclusive practice and the best ways to weave diverse works into concerts. After exploring new composers and their music, attendees will collaborate to develop applicable inclusive concert programs. Participants will learn about invaluable resources, groups, and organizations that are active in the DEI fields and how to best implement them in daily practices. As educators, we will discuss the importance of commissioning and consortiums as an integral element to inclusivity in our program and the greater field of music.

This clinic is eligible for 5.25 State Continuing Education Clock Hours (SCECHs.) You can pay for SCECHs here.

Oakland University Piano Day Competition

Oakland University Piano Day Competition, sponsored by Evola Music

Coming in March 2022

Check back later for more information

Percussion Day

Check back later for more information.

Virtual Clarinet Solo & Ensemble Workshop, January 17, 2021

Announcing the OU Virtual Clarinet Solo and Ensemble Workshop with Dr. George Stoffan.

January 17, 2021 from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. EST.

High School Clarinetists and any mixed instrument ensembles are invited to perform pieces in preparation for Solo and Ensemble, or any other audition or performance. Oakland University Clarinet Professor Dr. George Stoffan will present the workshop. Benefit from playing for the group and one-on-one tips from Dr. Stoffan.

The clinic will be held via Zoom.

Completely Virtual and free.

Register for the Virtual Clarinet Solo & Ensemble Workshop.

Piano Pedagogy Workshop January 29-30, 2021

OU's Piano Area is honored to introduce the First Annual Piano Pedagogy Workshop
Sponsored by the Judd Family Endowed Fund
January 29 and 30, 2021

We welcome internationally renowned artists, including Helen Marlais, Logan Skelton and Robert Satterlee to present a series of lectures, masterclasses and concerts.

Teachers and pre-college students are invited to attend.

The clinic will be held via Zoom.

Completely virtual and FREE.

Register for the OU Piano Pedagogy Workshop here.

Schedule of Events:

January 29, 2021 Day 1 Presenter: Logan Skelton

9:30 - 11:30 a.m.: Logan Skelton Presentation
1 - 3:00 p.m.: Logan Skelton Masterclass
7:30 p.m.: Guest Concert

January 30, 2021 Day 2 Presenter: Helen Marlais

9:30 - 11:30 a.m.: Helen Marlais Masterclass with local pre-college students
1 - 3 p.m.: Helen Marlais Masterclass with OU students
7:30 p.m.: Solo Recital Presented by Robert Satterlee

OU/Pontiac Initiative

Oakland University is committed to working with its neighbors, to determine potential areas of meaningful partnership that will benefit both the community and Oakland’s students. The School of Music, Theatre and Dance is holding several events at Pontiac venues throughout the season, including the Pontiac Creative Arts Center and Flagstar Strand Theatre for the Performing Arts. For more information about the OU/Pontiac Initiative, visit

Children's Theatre

The OU Department of Theatre’s season comes to a close with an annual children’s play or musical. Stay tuned for more information regarding summer 2021. Learn how to bring this exciting production to your school by emailing

Dance for Parkinson's Disease

Dance for Parkinson's Disease participants will be empowered to explore movement and music in ways that are refreshing, enjoyable, stimulating and creative.  This class is an aesthetic experience that uses the elements of narrative, imagery, and community to develop artistry and grace while addressing such PD specific concerns as balance, flexibility, coordination, isolation and depression.  The classes engage participants' minds and bodies, and create an enjoyable, social environment that emphasizes dancing rather than therapy.  Active demonstration by professional dancers inspires participants to recapture grace, while guided improvisation fosters creativity, and experimentation with movement.

For more information about these classes, which are for those living with PD and their caregiver/spouses, please contact DPD Director Ali Woerner at

Synergy on Stage

Synergy on Stage is a dynamic local company that provides American Sign Language interpreters for theatrical productions. The OU Department of Theatre has had a 20+ year collaboration with these interpreters and the Deaf theatre-going community. The actors are fully integrated into the performances, providing the Deaf community with accessible performances of plays and musicals. Select theatre performances, which are notated on our event calendar, are shadow-signed each season.