Last Tuesday the Alma College Jazz Ensemble performed at the Presbyterian Music Hall. The students involved with the band had the opportunity to show their hard work and dedication to their art.
Students participating in the performance came together to showcase a wide variety of jazz tunes.
The concert promoted the hard work of student musicians on campus and exposed the student body to a unique style of music. “The band really gave an enormous energy to everyone in the audience. The hard work that they put into the performance showed off,” said Logan St. John (‘19).
Student audience members enjoyed the performance. “The band showcased a wide variety of lesser known jazz from all over the planet. I appreciate what the band was able to pull off that night,” said Jared Sisson (‘22).
Every week, the Jazz Ensemble meets for two hours in the evening, and they had five rehearsals before the concert. “The people that are in the band are very committed and frequently practice outside of the classroom,” said Sarah Garrod (‘20), a bassist in the Jazz Ensemble.
The show provided a variety of jazz styles for their performance. Students in the ensemble conducted their own research of the music played and presented that knowledge to the audience.
Throughout the performance, the student with the best summarization would introduce the song to the audience. This way, the students could have a better understanding of the music they performed. “Each week, we would write a paragraph about a piece and [Profecssor Jeff Ayers] would decide which was the best summarization,” said Garrod.
The pieces that the ensemble performed varied in their genre and origin. The musicians did their best to educate their members on a wide assortment of jazz pieces.
“For every classical piece, a staple piece for jazz, there will include a different style of jazz. One of my favorites was La Fiesta, which is more of a Latin American piece. It’s different, but it’s also fun to include the different types into our performance,” said Garrod.
The ensemble members researched the composers of the pieces to not only educate themselves but to understand the piece’s style and history. “You don’t realize the unique lives of the people writing these tunes. One person who essentially, brought the Bossa Nova style to the United States from South America was very influential to modern jazz,” said Ben Elliot (‘19), a trumpetist in the Jazz Ensemble.
The students participating in the Jazz Ensemble reflected on the pieces they performed. The ensemble gave off a lot of energy that resonated with the band members and the audience.
“The solos in Perpetual Commotion gave off a lot of energy. There was a tenor sax solo and a trumpet solo that were really good. I really like that piece because it had a funky groove to it and in the middle, there was a jazz interlude that complimented the piece,” said Elliot.
Every piece had a jazz soloist that either volunteered or was picked to play in the performance. The ensemble members and the audience supported every soloist and their confidence showed.
“I think – for the most part – every soloist did very well that night. All of us had some good, shining moments that evening that resonated with the audience. I think as a band too, we came together, and something clicked that night,” said Elliot.