Jazz ensemble features singer and soloists in end of season concert

Jazz ensemble performs final song “Soul Bossa Nova.” Vanguard Photo | Brooke Elward

The SVSU jazz ensemble mixed up a concert full of standards with “Soul Bossa Nova,” made famous by Austin Powers.

A full audience filled the Rhea Miller Recital Hall as the ensemble performed classics from George Gershwin and Charles Mingus.

The Dec. 5 recital also featured sophomore singer Sarah Evans on four songs, including crowd-favorite “Basin Street Blues.” Evans, a member of Cardinal Singers, performed double-duty that night, as she also sang in the theatre department’s holiday play.

Evans said that jazz gives the students a chance to be creative while still having structure.

“My favorite aspect of being in the jazz band is that it is an environment of creativity and freedom while still being organized,” she said. “There are borders in jazz, but it never feels restrictive.”

Seth Ebersole, the jazz artist-in-residence, said it is important to expose students to jazz.

“Jazz is important as a historical and cultural phenomenon in America,” he said. “It can tell us about who we are as people and teach us lessons about the experiences of others whose perspectives we do not share.”

Emma Longoria, a music education senior, played the baritone saxophone in the concert.

“Previously, I never had an opportunity to play in a jazz ensemble since my main instruments are voice and flute,” she said. “When I learned alto saxophone in my woodwind methods class last year, I was excited to see if there were any open spots in the jazz ensemble. Luckily, they needed a baritone saxophone, and now I have really loved being a part of this group.”

Erik Gillette a music freshman, played the bass in the ensemble.

“I started to play jazz in middle school, and it has been a huge part of my life since,” he said. “My favorite aspect of being in the jazz band is how much everyone trusts each other.”

Michelle Van Hautte, an engineering junior, said she enjoyed the songs with singing and clarinet features, since that is the instrument she played in high school.

She also said that she enjoyed the fact that much of the music was older and from a different generation.

“We don’t have that in our culture anymore,” Van Hautte said. “It’s something different.”

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