Sunny Wilkinson Quartet headline Rhea Miller

The Sunny Wilkinson Quartet performs live as part of the Rhea Miller Concert. The band kicked off the fall series. More are scheduled to take place on campus. Vanguard Photographer | Anna Alexander

The Rhea Miller Concert Series kicked off the fall season with a performance by the Sunny Wilkinson Quartet. This group was eager to get back on stage after the pandemic forced most musicians to perform virtually or not at all.

The Sunny Wilkinson Quartet performed in the Rhea Miller Recital Hall Saturday evening, but before the concert, they worked with SVSU music students looking to learn more about music, jazz, musical performance and more.

Sunny Wilkinson performed as the lead vocalist, Ron Newman on the piano, Ed Fedewa on the bass, and Larry Ochiltree on the drums. Their selection of music ranged from 1960s bosa nova to classic hits of the 1960s like “Both Sides Now” with a jazzy twist, among many other tunes.

Ashley Goldberg is an undecided freshman who attended the concert because she heard about it from her jazz history professor, who suggested their class attend it to help their understanding of the class content.

Goldberg said she had a personal favorite piece from the concert.

“I really liked “Mountain Greenery” because of the duo of the vocalist and the pianist as well as the drum set riff at the end,” she said.

Goldberg is a percussionist and said she is used to standard concert pieces.

“I’ve been playing since sixth grade and I’m looking forward to expanding on mymusical intellect.”

Goldberg said she is planning on attending more concerts throughout the semester to build her musical understandings in her jazz course as well as in everyday life.

Allison Blanck is a criminal justice freshman who attended the concert with Goldberg. She also heard of the event through her jazz professor.

Blanck said that she really enjoyed the drum set intro, which had a very upbeat and allegro feel. Blanck has eight years of experience on the alto saxophone, and she plans on attending a few more concerts in the Rhea Miller Concert Series this season.

Goldberg and Blanck said that it is beneficial for Rhea Miller concerts to be free to the public because it encourages more SVSU students and members of the community to attend the concerts and get involved in music.

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