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Formed shortly after Shelton State Community College came into existence, the Music Department has built an outstanding reputation for both training and performance.  The continuing excellence of the program is a tribute to the highly-trained faculty, the talented students, and the supportive administration of the college. Students are offered the opportunity to prepare for degrees in music or to simply participate in the various ensembles and performance areas. Our music-making might range from playing jazz to singing an aria or from entertaining school kids to singing in Carnegie Hall.  We encourage the highest level of skill in performance but do so in a nurturing environment. Scholarships are available to gifted students even if they do not intend to pursue a career in the arts. Please look more closely at the many different aspects of our Music Department, then come join the family as we make music together!

The Certificate in Church Music

Shelton State Community College is excited to announce “The Certificate in Church Music,” the only program of its type in Alabama. The certificate program, which can be completed in twelve months, is designed to equip music ministers and worship leaders with the skills necessary for worship services in a wide variety of styles.

Click Here to Download the Church Music Certificate Brochure

Vocal Performance

Students at Shelton State Community College who are pursuing Associate Degrees with an emphasis in Music or are Fine Arts Scholarship recipients may take Applied Voice, which consists of one-on-one lessons and a weekly Voice Performance Lab. Students are offered opportunities to sing recitals as well as to sing for sports events, pageants, churches, civic groups, college events, and the weekly Terrific Tuesday Concert Series. Students must meet repertoire requirements in their study, and many choose to participate in the annual Alabama NATS Vocal Auditions. Shelton State has had winners in NATS every year for over 20 years, although they have often been the only Two-Year College who competed against Four-Year Colleges. Shelton students have been selected for NATS Vocal Workshops and for the Vann Opera Institute, and 95% of Shelton Voice Majors who have transferred to Four-Year Colleges have received scholarships.

Students who take Applied Voice at Shelton are given the opportunity to learn musical theatre repertoire in addition to classical repertoire. Students may present staged performances of musical theatre numbers in Voice Performance Lab, for the Terrific Tuesday Concert Series, in the Shelton Singers Showcase, in Bach to Rock shows, and at the Alabama NATS Auditions. In 2010, seven students from the Shelton State Music Department were winners at the NATS Auditions, including sweeping the First Year College Women category. Students are also encouraged to audition for roles in productions by local and regional theatre companies. Students from Shelton have become performers for Opryland, Six Flags, Disney, and Dollywood, and many received scholarships to four-year colleges in Musical Theatre. One former Shelton student has begun his own theatre company, The Actors Charitable Theatre; another directs for the Tuscaloosa Children’s Theatre; and another has recently been named Technical Director for Theatre Tuscaloosa. The philosophy of the Voice Faculty is that good singers should sing well in a variety of styles with solid, healthy classical technique and careful attention to stylistic details.

Vocal Ensemble

The Shelton Singers was the first ensemble to be established in the Shelton State Music Department, and they are still the principle choral performing ensemble on campus. An auditioned concert choir, the choir has performed  major works such as the Haydn Lord Nelson Mass, the Faure Requiem, the Vivaldi Gloria, and the Durufle Requiem with chamber orchestra. In collaboration with the UA University Chorus, the Singers presented the Five Mystical Songs by Vaughan Williams, and with the Prentice Concert Chorale, the Singers performed Missa Kenya by Paul Basler and Requiem by Lee Scott. In addition to traditional choral repertoire, the Singers have presented full-scale musicals and operettas and themed concerts such as American Music, Poetry in Music, and International Music. The 50-voice choir has sung in Atlanta, Orlando, Salt Lake City, Honolulu, and 6 times in New York’s Carnegie Hall.  On May 21, 2011, they will again sing in Carnegie Hall in A Festival Chorus conducted by Z. Randall Stroop.

Glinda Blackshear, Vocal/Choral Instructor at Shelton State Community College, originated the concept of educating and entertaining school children with an ensemble of college students who sing a variety of music from different composers and styles, thus the name “Bach to Rock”. A typical Bach to Rock show includes art songs in Italian, French, and German, opera arias, spirituals, Gospel songs, jazz, bluegrass, country, pop, rock,  R&B, and musical theatre.

The auditioned group of 10-14 students has been performing for over 20 years, with an average of 25 performances each year. Performances are primarily for elementary school children; but the group has also sung for the RISE program at the Stallings Center, for senior adults groups, for civic clubs, for the Tuscaloosa Music Club, and for Shelton graduation.

The Bach to Rock ensemble is under the umbrella of the Arts Council of Tuscaloosa, which has stated that every year Bach to Rock is their most requested educational program. In 2008, Bach to Rock won first place in the national Exemplary Initiatives Competition for Two-Year Colleges in the United States in the category of “Responding to Community Needs”.

Instrumental Performance

Class piano is designed for a student who wants to learn to play the instrument with little or no previous training.  Classes are taught in the Keyboard Lab equipped with Yamaha keyboards.  Class meets twice a week.  Emphasis is placed on the rudiments of music, basic performance technique, and general musicianship skills.

APPLIED PIANO- MUP 101, 102, 201, 202
Applied piano is designed for a student with previous training.  Piano students in these sequential courses have individual lessons and a performance lab each week.  Emphasis is placed on developing technique, repertoire, and performance skills commensurate with the student’s educational goal. Students desiring to study applied piano should contact the instructor.

Students have the opportunity to perform on the college concert series and give recitals.  Several of Shelton State’s applied piano students have been recipients of transfer music scholarships to colleges in Alabama.


MUP 281-282
Shelton students have an opportunity to study percussion on a variety of  percussion instruments.  Students receive an individual lesson in conjunction with  a weekly performance lab.  Emphasis is placed on developing technique,  repertoire, and performance skills commensurate with the student’s educational  goals. Permission of instructor is required.

Students have the opportunity to perform on the college concert series.

Students enrolled in music courses may request applied study in brass, woodwind, or string instrument.  These students must be full time and planning to transfer as a music major to a four year institution with a performance emphasis on the instrument requested.   Approval by the administration will be required.

Instrumental Ensembles

The Jazz Ensemble at Shelton State focuses on big band repertoire from the dance band tradition to the modern day concert jazz standards. The ensemble provides musical opportunities for current students and members of the community. who range in age from age from 18 to 80. They perform several concerts each semester for a wide variety of audiences, including local high schools, seasonal concerts, and appearances on the Terrific Tuesday Concert Series. The group has been playing together for almost 20 years.

Music Facilities

1920 Alabama Power Recital Hall
The Terrific Tuesday Concert Series and student recitals are held in the Alabama Recital Hall.  The hall is located inside the Bean Brown Theatre complex.

1802 Choral Rehearsal Hall
This room is designed acoustically for choirs and vocal ensembles.  Lecture classes are often taught in this room when rehearsals are not in session.

1805 Instrumental Rehearsal Hall
This room is designed acoustically for instrumental ensembles and is the rehearsal area for the Shelton State Jazz Ensemble.  Theory classes are taught in this hall when rehearsals are not in session.

1810 Lecture Room
Designed for Music Appreciation classes. It is fully equipment with a Bose sound system.

1813 Keyboard Lab
The keyboard lab consists of 16 Yamaha digital pianos.  This lab is used for class piano, ensemble practice, and MUS 115 students.

1821 MIDI Lab
Equipped with 8 computers this room is designed for music courses requiring computer usage. Special sound cards in the systems enhance the listening  experience. The software available in the lab is Music Ace, Musical Practicum, and Finale.

1820 Piano Studio
This studio houses a grand piano for applied instruction.

1817-1818 Voice Studios
These voice studios are equipped with special recording systems for the instructor and student.

There are 7 practice rooms with acoustical pianos located in the music suite.