Independence Day is not the only time of the year that someone can show their patriotic spirit, especially not for the PSU Jazz Ensemble.
PSU’s Jazz Ensemble and Combo kicked off their Fall season with the “Red, White, and Jazz” concert. The event took place on Wednesday, Oct. 2, from 7:30 to 9 p.m. in the Bicknell Family Center for the Arts. The concert was free to the public. The ensemble played contemporary pieces, as well as more traditional patriotic tunes.
The ensemble was under the direction of Robert Kehle, professor of music.
“It’s really fun to work with these folks,” Kehle said.
Kehle has been the director of Jazz Studies and professor of music at PSU since 1978. In 2015, he was a recipient of the Excellence in Teaching Award for the College of Arts and Sciences.
The Jazz Combo kicked the night off with four opening pieces, “There Will Never Be Another You” by Harry Warren, “Sister Sadie” by Horace Silver, “Lonnie’s Lament” by John Coltrane and “Nostalgia in Times Square” by Charles Mingus.
“(The Jazz Combo) is an opportunity for students to grow as musicians in a small group setting,” Kehle said.
The Jazz Combo included two saxophonists, one trumpet player, one bassist, a pianist, a guitarist, and one drummer. The frontline of the combo was led majorly by three freshman musicians including saxophonists Brittney Bramblett, and Colton Jones, as well as trumpet player Alejandra Cornelio. Each person perform solos that were spread throughout the pieces that they played.
“The combo set the tone for a great performance” said Reginald Coleman, sophomore in accounting.
Many families, PSU students, and faculty gathered in the audience to listen to the ensemble.
“It’s fun to come to these concerts,” said Tonya Rappe, parent of one of the musicians. “I’ve always liked jazz music. I enjoyed watching the Jazz Combo perform. They did an amazing job.”
After the Jazz Combo opened the show, the Jazz Ensemble set up for their performance. The Ensemble played eight songs under the theme of patriotism.
“We have something for everybody,” said Kehle. “It features a couple of patriotic works, as well as other works from the American Treasure.”
The ensemble began their portion of the concert with “America the Beautiful” arranged by Bob Curnow, and then played seven more selections including, “Fanfare for the Common Man” arranged by Gary Anderson, “American Patrol” arranged by Bob Bunton, “Broadway” arranged by Myles Collins, a Latin song, “Amoroso”, “Look Ahead” by Pat Metheny, “Fast Cars and Crazy Women” arranged by Tom Kubis, and lastly “Doodle Oodle” by Billy Byers.
The ensemble has expanded since past concerts as Kehle said that fifty percent of the ensemble are freshman.
“I really enjoyed it (the performance) because I know a lot of people in the band,” said Morgan Cravens, freshman in elementary education. “I really liked the piece ‘Doodle Oodle.”