Music: Major & Minor

Students who participate in Southern Virginia University’s music program understand that music is a priceless and irreplaceable component of human life, occupying a unique position in our culture. It speaks to the intellect, emotion and human soul in an essential way. The music program has a dynamic and varied music concert and performance schedule, presenting numerous concerts each year, including student recitals and ensembles.

The faculty consists of devoted teachers with expertise in choral, vocal, instrumental, theoretical, historical, and compositional techniques. We offer a broad range of courses, including music theory, music history, composition and performance practices. Our private applied instruction is strong in vocal, piano, organ, strings, harp, guitar, woodwinds, brass and percussion. Instruction is provided by the university music faculty and is augmented by adjunct instructors drawn from the surrounding area.

Performing Groups

Accolade is the premier co-ed a cappella group at Southern Virginia. Since 2006, Accolade has entertained and inspired listeners, spread the gospel, and expanded the Southern Virginia community. The group performs a cappella arrangements from a variety of genres including pop, rock, alternative, and contemporary Christian.

They have toured up and down the east coast giving concerts, firesides, workshops, and “Super Saturday” events (faith-based one-day conferences for youth).

If you are interested in auditioning or having Accolade hold an event in your area, email


Bella Voce is the select women’s choir at Southern Virginia University. It performs music especially written and arranged for treble voices in many styles and languages from many cultures. The choir performs throughout the year at the university in concerts, and in University events, such as forums, devotionals, dinners or other requested venues. Bella Voce is featured each year at the Veterans’ Day Community dinner and the Community Christmas Parade.

Southern Virginia’s Commercial Music Ensemble addresses the unique needs of musicians seeking to move beyond traditional boundaries. The ensemble brings together a diverse group of young artists in a setting where they can truly grow as composers, performers, and improvisers with an emphasis on technique (vocal & instrumental), conceptual ideas, collaboration, and a wide range of improvisational traditions and styles of secular and sacred music (traditional & fusion jazz, rock, techno classical, hip hop, rap, pop, gospel, contemporary christian, world music and more). Additionally, this ensemble gives audience to student songwriters and composers in which innovation is encouraged. Students participate as performers, arrangers and will function as ensemble leaders in a collaborative environment.

Contact Mark Milberger at 540-261-8551 or

Under the direction of Professor Heather Dobbins, the Southern Virginia University Concert Band is a large concert ensemble with participants from throughout the campus community. The ensemble is open to all students wishing to continue making music throughout their collegiate years, regardless of major. The Concert Band presents several concerts each semester, performing a diverse section of wind band repertoire ranging from traditional works to recent compositions by leading composers.

Contact Heather Dobbins at 540-261-8585 or


Concert Chorale is a large mixed voice choir that performs a wide range of pieces from the standard choral repertoire as well as new compositions and arrangements. The choir sings in up to eight languages, performing music from Renaissance to contemporary, becoming acquainted with many styles and cultures. The choir performs throughout the year at the university for various meetings and events. They have performed at regional festivals such as that held by Washington and Lee University, and are honored to be a select choir each year, along with the Liberty University Concert Choir and the Roanoke Symphony Chorus, in the Roanoke Symphony’s Masterworks Concert.

Coming in Fall 2018, the Southern Virginia University Marching Band looks forward to presenting exciting field shows for all home football games.

Contact Heather Dobbins at 540-261-8585 or


The Southern Virginia University Pep Band is an extracurricular activity open to all student musicians, regardless of major. Playing music from classic groups like Journey to contemporary singers like Taylor Swift, the Pep Band is the driving force of the game day experience at all home football, basketball, and lacrosse games throughout the fall and spring semesters.

Contact Heather Dobbins at 540-261-8585 or

AK5A4543 6.03.16 PM

An ensemble with approximately 40 members who perform challenging full orchestral and string orchestra works from the Baroque period to the contemporary. Talented student soloists, both instrumental and vocal, are regularly featured with the orchestra. The orchestra performs a combined work with the Southern Virginia choirs once every two years. Orchestra members have the opportunity to participate in the annual musical theatre production held during Mayterm. There also are periodic opportunities for student conductors. No audition required.

Contact Mark Taylor at 540-261-4348 or


This course provides each student with the opportunity to perform in operatic scenes in cooperation with other singers. Its purpose is to familiarize students with some of the standard operatic repertoire. It may be used as ensemble credit in the music and performing arts majors and minors. Prerequisite: two semesters of MUS 149R or by consent of the instructor.

Contact Eric Hanson at 540-261-8586 or

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Faculty Contacts:

  • Eric Hanson, D.M.A. – Program Coordinator
  • Mark Milberger, M.M.
  • Mark Taylor, D.M.A.
  • Kyle Nielsen, D.M.A.
  • Heather Dobbins, M.M.
  • Keenan Reesor, Ph.D.



Nate Pence ’12
“I’m excited to get to experience all sorts of different cultures and share music with people who I otherwise wouldn’t be able to communicate with.”
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