Kanola band brings the music of New Orleans to SVSU

Kanola band performs New Orleans style jazz and encourages audience participation. Vanguard Photo | Adam Stepanski

The Kanola Band had attendees clapping and singing along to New Orleans–style jazz in the Rhea Miller on Feb. 5.

The Kanola Band is made up of five members based out of Kalamazoo. The name of the band signifies their origins, the KA, for Kalamazoo, and for the style of music they play, the NOLA, for New Orleans.

Several members teach music at universities or institutes. Seth Ebersole, the SVSU jazz artist in residence, plays woodwind instruments for the band.

Benje Daneman, a trumpet player, engaged the audience by encouraging singing, telling jokes and introducing the other members. He got pianist Matthew Fries to show off some dance moves as well. Other members of the band were Jeff Moehle on drums and Chance Trottman-Huiet on tuba.

One of the songs the band played included “You Are My Sunshine,” which the whole audience could sing along to. Nearly everyone in the audience was clapping along to several of the songs the band played. There were three songs that people were encouraged to participate in. Daneman got the audience warmed up and comfortable interacting with some light–hearted vocal warmups.

Felicia Snyder, a music freshman, said she enjoyed the concert.

“I thought it was great that they involved the audience in what they were doing on stage,” Snyder said. “It made the concert more enjoyable for me knowing that they wanted all of us to interact with the music.”

Vincent Frank, a music senior, said the concert was fun because he likes to sing along.

“We got to sing–along and, you know, I’m a voice maker, so it’s always nice,” Frank said. “Usually concerts you can just sit there and watch and listen, this was different. It was good.”

SVSU has a variety of concerts each semester for the community and students to attend. Music majors are required to attend a lot of them.

Frank said the concert was different and less serious than some of the classical concerts.

“They do a good job of having a good diverse concert series, but this was a little bit more light-hearted than some other, more classical serious type stuff, which is good too, but it’s nice to have a mix,” Frank said.

The band mingled with some of the students afterward who had questions or wanted to talk to members they knew. Many people stuck around chatting about how much they enjoyed the concert.

“I just had a great time,” Frank said. “I wasn’t expecting to have such a great time.”

Melissa Vennix
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