Area of Music

Founded on a rich musical heritage and maintained by an outstanding and supportive music faculty, the music program at Milligan seeks to produce life-long learners and lovers of music, as well as accomplished performers and avid music consumers.

Music students perform and tour with numerous ensembles, orchestras, bands, and choirs. They tour the U.S., opening jazz festivals, presenting world premieres, performing with internationally renowned composers and musicians with regional symphonies, and studying at the Contemporary Music Center in Nashville.

Students can pursue music in a variety of degree programs including music education, performance, jazz studies, music business, and music ministry. Milligan students in other majors can also elect music courses to enrich their liberal arts education and participate in the many vocal and instrumental ensembles offered.

Milligan music graduates teach at all levels of music education, serve in music ministry positions, conduct professional music organizations, teach studio music, and perform professionally. Graduates of the music area have pursued further music studies at institutions throughout the United States and abroad.


View all details and course requirements for this program in the Milligan College Catalog (links above). The Milligan College academic catalog is the official, authoritative source for all academic requirements and policies. Any discrepancies in curricular requirements from other sources will default to the Catalog.


Concert Choir

Noah DeLong, Conductor

The Milligan College Concert Choir is an auditioned ensemble that proudly upholds a long tradition of choral excellence within the Christian liberal arts context of the college. In the past, the choir has performed at the invitation of the President at the National Prayer Breakfast and also on international tours to England and Mexico.  In addition, the choir has been invited to sing at the North American Christian Convention, the Conference on World Evangelism-National Missionary Convention, and at the Tennessee State Conference of the American Choral Directors’ Association.

In recent years, the choir has maintained an active performance schedule on campus and throughout Northeast Tennessee. Also, the choir travels frequently throughout the United States, with recent tours to Washington, D.C., and the mid-Atlantic as well as Chicago and the Midwest. In addition, the choir regularly collaborates with the Milligan College Orchestra, the Johnson City Symphony Orchestra, and the Symphony of the Mountains.

Women’s Chorale

Anne Elliott, Conductor

Milligan Women’s Chorale is a women’s ensemble singing various styles of music and performing on and off campus. Continuing in Milligan’s strong tradition of women’s vocal ensembles, the Milligan Women’s Chorale was founded in Fall 2008. The chorale performs literature of different styles ranging from sacred to popular. The chorale performs for churches and various organizations in the Tri-Cities area. The ensemble is open to all female students.

Brass Ensemble

Rick Simerly, Conductor

Brass Ensemble is an instrumental ensemble for brass instruments devoted to the study and performance of literature written specifically for brass. The group regularly performs at the annual Milligan Christmas Concert and throughout the region.

Jazz Ensemble

Rick Simerly, Director

The Milligan College Jazz Ensemble is an organization devoted to the performance of jazz and pop styles with emphasis on ensemble playing, solo playing, and improvisation. Membership is by audition. The group presents one concert each semester and has performed at the Grove Park Jazz Festival (the opener for Ellis Marsalis), and most recently at the Kennedy Center American College Theater Region IV Festival in Americus, GA. In combination with the Milligan College Theatre Department, they performed an original musical, The Gospel According To Jazz.

Jazz Combo

Rick Simerly, Director

Jazz Combo is the study of jazz and pop styles for small ensembles with emphasis on ensemble playing, solo playing and improvisation as it relates to small group performance.


Dr. Kellie D. Brown, Conductor

The Milligan College Orchestra performs throughout East Tennessee and Southwest Virginia and collaborates frequently with professional ensembles and arts organizations, including The Civic Chorale, the Johnson City Symphony Orchestra, the East Tennessee Regional Symphony, Mountain Empire Children’s Choir Academy, and the City Youth Ballet. In addition, MCO is the pit orchestra for various opera and musical productions at Milligan College and serves local churches in ministry. The orchestra also champions new works and has performed the world premieres of numerous pieces including Three Genres by John Grubb and Genesis by internationally renowned composer Kenton Coe.

String Quartet

Cheryl Fitzgerald, Director

The Milligan College String Quartet is an auditioned chamber group featuring the college’s premier string players. In addition to performing frequently on Milligan’s campus, this group is also featured throughout East Tennessee and Southwest Virginia.

Civic Band & Johnson City Symphony Orchestra

Civic Band provides students a performance opportunity with the Johnson City Community Concert Band. The Johnson City Symphony Orchestra provides students an opportunity to perform with a community orchestra.


Noah DeLong, Director

Heritage is select a cappella ensemble of eight singers that maintains an active travel and performance schedule. The group, which was founded in 1983, frequently represents the college at churches, civic organizations, and college functions. Specializing in a wide variety of a cappella music, the group performs everything from modern worship music to Broadway, pop a cappella, spirituals, and vocal jazz. Contact Kit Dotson to book Heritage to perform at your church or organization.

Heard Mentality

Dr. Charlotte Anderson, Director

Heard Mentality is an elite, auditioned men’s a cappella ensemble. They began in 2007 with barbershop and gospel, and now also sing jazz, be-bop, some early music, and traditional men’s glee. They sing for churches, various organizations and functions and sell Singing Valentines every February 14.


Music scholarships are available by audition to new students and transfer students and are awarded according to talent, academic achievement, and need. Both non-majors and music majors are eligible, with priority given to those wishing to major in music, music business, or music education.

Steps to Apply

  1. Complete your admissions application to Milligan.
  2. Complete the music scholarship application. The application is available in our application portal after you submit an application for admission.
  3. Following completion of both applications, please contact Rita Myers, music secretary, at 423.461.8723, to schedule an audition time. See audition details below.

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Music Audition Information

Audition dates: 

  • January 28
  • February 17

The music audition is a time to showcase your talent and hard work to the music faculty and to be considered for scholarship awards. Auditions are formal events in which we want to hear two of your most polished pieces and have a brief interview with you. The two audition pieces should be of contrasting style (Ex. Bach and Schumann; art song and musical theater, etc.) and should be chosen from standard repertoire (see specifics below). Accompanists will be provided for vocalists (No pre-recorded accompaniment is allowed.). Instrumentalists will perform unaccompanied.

The overall impression is important so please dress as you would for a recital or special school performance. We prefer that you audition in person, but if a personal audition is not possible, you may audition by DVD or YouTube link.

Selecting Audition Repertoire

Prospective Pianists and Instrumentalists should perform two pieces of contrasting styles and musical periods from the following periods:

  • Baroque (Bach, Handel)
  • Classical (Beethoven, Mozart, Haydn)
  • Romantic (Schumann, Chopin, Franck)
  • Modern (Debussy, Bartok, Prokofiev, Hindemith)

Prospective Vocalists should perform material from two of the following categories:

  • German Lieder
  • French art songs
  • American or English art songs
  • Broadway/musical theater songs
  • Italian bel canto songs

Prospective Organists should perform a hymn, as you would play it for a congregation to sing, including introduction and all stanzas. You will also perform at least two other organ selections, and one selection to play on the piano.

Calendar of Events

Nov 1 @ 7:00 pm Walker Auditorium
Performers: Canaan Foriest, Junior Voice Recital Pianist – Averie Blackmore Vocalists – Ben Campbell, Mark Stair Guitarists – Griffin Leonard, Josh Morse
Nov 4 @ 7:30 pm Mary B. Martin Auditorium
Vocal performance major Riley Prickett will present a senior voice recital featuring arias from Dido and Aeneas and Carmen along with songs by Brahms, Britten, Schubert, and Fauré. While at Milligan, Prickett has been a[...]
Nov 5 @ 7:30 pm Mary B. Martin Auditorium
The Milligan Orchestra, under the direction of Dr. Kellie Brown, will present a fall concert, “Celtic Reflections,” highlighting music from Ireland and Scotland with beautiful ballads, Gaelic hymns, and toe-tapping reels and fiddle tunes. Music[...]
Nov 12 @ 7:30 pm Mary B. Martin Auditorium
Nov 18 @ 7:30 pm Mary B. Martin Auditorium
The Jazz Ensemble will celebrate its 16th anniversary with “Retrospective,” a program of songs from past concerts, featuring some of the best-loved jazz compositions and arrangements that were favorites of audiences and ensemble members during[...]
Dec 1 @ 8:00 pm SUB7
The Milligan Jazz Combo will present a fall concert featuring a variety of jazz styles. Swing, Latin, and rock genres are incorporated into the arrangements of this ensemble that emphasizes improvisation and small group performance.[...]
Dec 3 @ 7:30 pm Mary B. Martin Auditorium
The glorious sounds and sights of the season will be a great start to your Christmas festivities as the college’s music area presents its annual Christmas concert. The performance features choirs, orchestra, brass choir, and[...]
Dec 4 @ 7:30 pm Mary B. Martin Auditorium
The glorious sounds and sights of the season will be a great start to your Christmas festivities as the college’s music area presents its annual Christmas concert. The performance features choirs, orchestra, brass choir, and[...]
Jan 28 @ 10:00 am – 2:00 pm Seeger Memorial Chapel
Feb 4 @ 7:30 pm Mary B. Martin Auditorium
Feb 17 @ 2:00 pm – 6:00 pm Seeger Memorial Chapel
Feb 21 @ 7:00 pm Walker Auditorium
Mar 17 – Mar 18 all-day Seeger Memorial Chapel
This inaugural festival will feature female singers from across the region. Participants will sing in a festival chorus, conducted by guest clinician Eliza Rubinstein, artistic director of the Orange County Women’s Chorus, and present a[...]
Mar 18 @ 7:30 pm Mary B. Martin Auditorium
Participants singing in the festival chorus, conducted by guest clinician Eliza Rubinstein, artistic director of the Orange County Women’s Chorus, will present a public concert featuring music by women composers. Also, the finale will include[...]
Mar 19 @ 3:00 pm Mary B. Martin Auditorium
The Concert Choir, conducted by Dr. Noah DeLong, will cap their biennial choir tour with a home concert, presenting songs of trial, perseverance, and faith, including “Precious Lord,” “When Visited by Storms,” “I Will Rise,”[...]
Apr 2 @ 3:00 pm Mary B. Martin Auditorium
The Women’s Chorale, conducted by Dr. Noah DeLong, will present an exciting and varied program of choral music. The highlight of the concert will be a short cantata by Italian-American composer Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco titled “Naomi[...]
Apr 22 @ 7:30 pm Mary B. Martin Auditorium
The Milligan Orchestra, directed by Dr. Kellie Brown, will conclude its season with a spring concert presenting works of remembrance and celebration. Selections include music from the film Chariots of Fire; “Remembrance,” by Sarah Gibson,[...]
Apr 29 @ 7:30 pm Gregory Center for the Liberal Arts
Join Heard Mentality, directed by Rachel Helton, and Heritage, directed by Dr. Noah DeLong, for a fun-filled evening of a cappella music. The finale will feature the combined ensembles.

Music Faculty

Dr. Kellie Brown

Kellie Brown

Professor of Music; Sub-Area Chair of Music

Phone: 423.461.8978
Office: Seeger Memorial Chapel 108