The NIC Jazz vocal and ensemble opened up the semester with a night full of good music and special guests. The performers played a packed house as almost every seat in Schuler Performing Arts Center was taken.
The students performed groovy and smooth pieces that had many jazz patrons in the audience tapping their toes and snapping their fingers.
The two groups had a small window of practice before the festival but were still able to pull off an organized show with great pieces.
“We had very few rehearsals before playing tonight,” said Max Mendez, NIC, vocal conductor,” dare I say it, but we are ‘jazzed’ to be here tonight.”
The vocal jazz students performed three pieces that were both upbeat tunes that stayed true to traditional jazz and slow cooler jazz that showed off the students’ vocal talents. During a song called “Sing a Song of Song” by Kenny Garrett, the students performed by not singing words but instead using their voices as if they were actual instruments.
Students within the ensemble performed various solos that ranged from a swinging saxophone solo to a smooth guitar solo in the song “Sidewalks of New York” by Oliver Nelson.
“This kind of music gives the musicians the opportunity to make spontaneous comments,” said Terry M.L. Jones, NIC, ensemble conductor.
The ensemble created the same aura the old big time bands that were fronted by greats like Frank Sinatra and James Dean created.
The show included many surprises such as appearances from special guest from universities and high schools all over the state.
“I like to invite back old college band mates to help work with the students and perform with us,” said Jones.
Jones invited artists such as Al and Gary Gemberling to play alongside the ensemble on songs like I’ll be around” and A portrait of Jennie.
The set also included an entertaining performance that included the vocal talents of Gary Gemberling, Jon Brownell, Max Mendez, and John Kracht. The singers performed the song “Four Brothers” by Dan Bukvich alongside the jazz ensemble that had a humorous twist to it.
The music department will be having plenty of more shows this semester including a Winter Choral concert in March and a Spring Choral and Jazz concert in April.