On Saturday, April 9, the NC State Music Department ended the semester on a high with its spring jazz band concert. The performance featured music from the jazz orchestra as well as combo bands and a special appearance by Jeffrey Phillips, adjunct professor of trombone and commercial brass at Belmont University and member of the Faculty of Brass Quintet. Belmont.
The jazz orchestra is made up of 19 musicians and the concert showcased the incredible talent of the saxophone, trumpet, trombone and rhythm players.
The musicians performed a variety of musical selections, including a rendition of “Oh, What a Beautiful Morning” and several original pieces.
Wes Parker, director of jazz studies at NC State and a professor with a doctorate in musical arts, said the jazz band typically holds concerts once or twice a semester. Throughout the year, the group meets twice a week on Tuesdays and Thursdays at the Price Music Center.
The band had been preparing for their spring concert for weeks and their efforts paid off. The musicians shone with passion and spontaneity.
“I was blown away by the fun they had, the way they played musically and the way they interacted with each other,” Parker said.
The bonds between the band members were emphasized throughout the concert. The band is made up of students from all majors and all years who have connected through their love of music.
Drummer Coleman Williams, a fourth-year environmental and marine science student, said what he would miss most after graduation were the friendships he made in the band .
“It’s one of the most fun things to do, to have a group of people who are passionate about something, in this case music,” Williams said. “When I have a lot of work and projects, and especially now at the end of the semester which is piling up, it’s great to have a little comfort and to know that every Tuesday and Thursday I meet my combo and the big band. And I know I got that time and I can just fade into it.
While at NC State, Williams founded and led a new combo called the Cates Avenue Octet, a group of eight musicians specializing in jazz improvisation. The Octet performed on Saturday night with some originals and covers.
Chris Suggs, a graduate student in mechanical engineering, played trumpet and flugelhorn at the concert.
“I like the freedom we have to do things the way we want to, to some extent obviously, but we have a lot of freedom to do with it what we want to do with it,” Suggs said.
Despite the jazz band’s immense musical talent, none of the members major in music since NC State does not offer a music degree.
“What I’m really proud of is that we give them the opportunity to perform musically at a very high level,” Parker said. “They’re going out into the world and they’re getting this out to people who wouldn’t get it otherwise.”
Last week, the jazz orchestra was accepted into the 76th edition Midwest Clinic Bands and Orchestras International Conferencethe world’s largest music education conference, taking place in Chicago in December.
Those interested in auditioning for the Jazz Orchestra should consult the music department audition site as well as contact Parker. Those interested in attending one of the Music Department’s upcoming concerts should check out its event page.