A Jazzy Spring Concert Sprung!

The University Singers performed with the University/Community Jazz Ensemble on April 26. Photo Credit / Crystal Smith
The University Singers performed with the University/Community Jazz Ensemble on April 26. Photo Credit / Crystal Smith
The University Singers performed with the University/Community Jazz Ensemble on April 26.
Photo Credit / Crystal Smith

By Melissa Valentovic
SC Staff Writer

The Spring Jazz Concert took place at East Stroudsburg University in the Cecilia S. Cohen Recital Hall on Sunday, April 26 at 7:00 PM.

This semester’s jazz concert followed the format of last semester’s concert, combining both the University Singers and the University/ Community Jazz Ensemble in one evening, rather than each ensemble having their own concert as in past years.

Kicking off the evening with their opening number, “Stompin’ at the Savoy,” were the University Singers under the direction of Dr. James Maroney.

In their second song, “Doctor Blues,” the singers, who were dressed in all black with the girls wearing red scarves and the boys wearing red ties, scatted during the song in addition to just singing, which I thought added an extra jazzy element to the number.

One number that I especially enjoyed was the performers’ rendition of the Kirby Shaw’s jazz arrangement of Henry Mancini’s “Moon River,” from the movie “Breakfast at Tiffany’s,” starring Audrey Hepburn.

The song featured alto soloist, ESU junior Denise Gonzales, who said the piece was her favorite of the night to perform.

Gonzales says that as much as she loves performing solos and singing, she still feels the pressure, but once she gets into it she lets herself go in the music.

During the singers’ performance of the next piece, a slow ballad performed A Capella entitled, “And So It Goes,” I noticed a couple of people in the audience actually shedding tears.

Following ESU junior Marcus Howard’s solo in the piece, I heard sniffling coming from the audience.

The ensemble closed out the first half of the evening with a gospel-jazz number called, “Walk Him Up The Stairs,” that eventually had the audience clapping along.

Following the University Singer’s performances and the intermission, it was time for the University/Community Jazz Ensemble to perform, conducted by director Matt Vashlishan.

The ensemble consists of ESU students, members from the community, as well as philosophy professor, Dr. Storm Heter on drum set.

Immediately when the jazz ensemble began playing, I did not feel like I was sitting in the audience at a concert hall at ESU.

Instead, the atmosphere the group created simply through their jazz music made me feel like I was in a café somewhere or in a jazz club out of an old movie.

Throughout the whole concert, I noticed the audience was unable to remain still. They began to move along to the music, tapping their feet and nodding along.

The first number, entitled, “Blue Train,” featured four different soloists on four different instruments, David Canady on Alto Saxophone, Eric Kump on Guitar, Emily Fox on Tenor Saxophone, and Damian Kitt on Baritone Saxophone.

Vashilishan arranged the second piece, “Cantaloupe Island,” composed by Herbie Hancock, and the final song, “Smoke Gets in Your Eyes,” highlighted the ensemble’s saxophone section.

Closing the evening was the piece, “Choo Choo Ch’ Boogie,” which combined the University Singers and the University Jazz Ensemble.

Senior marine science and biology dual major Emily Fox says her favorite pieces she performed with the jazz ensemble that night were their opening number, “Blue Train,” because she looks at John Coltrane as an inspiration and their third song, “A Most Pleasant Day,” by Mark Kirk.

Fox admits she still gets nervous when she performs solos, and that this concert was no exception, however, with a laugh she continued, “but I guess after fourteen or fifteen years of playing and performing, it is just part of the rush!”

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