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PSU jazz band performs at the Bicknell Center

The Pittsburg State University jazz band performs their first concert of the year at the Bicknell Family Center for the Arts on Sept. 30. Members of the group spent weeks preparing nine songs to perform. Dominic Santiago

The Pittsburg State University Department of Music jazz band performed nine unique musical pieces for their first performance this academic year. The songs included traditional bluegrass and jazz music as well as music from ‘Blues in Hoss’ Flat’, an arrangement by Mark Taylor.

“It was a lot of hard work and just showing up to rehearsal,” said Ryan Ford, sophomore in music education. “This concert cycle was about four weeks.”

Ford talked about how he and the rest of the musicians were able to connect to music and produce in an effective way.

“It just getting emotionally involved with the music and just trying to make it the best. They can make it be. And I’ve loved it.” Ford said.

Other jazz band members enjoyed the works that they performed. The high and bright sound of many of the songs connected with him.

“Apollos’s rose was my favorite, honestly,” said Denton Bodine, junior in music education. “I like to feel the three-quarter and six-eighths time, and then like I like playing some high notes.”

While Ford is a euphonium player in the large group performances, he joins the trombone section for jazz band. The euphonium is an instrument often overlooked when students first start learning and, as a result, it is not often found in small group bands.

“I’ve loved every moment there,” Bodine said. “Since I’m a euphonium player, there are usually like one or two of us (in the music department). This year we have got two players, and in past years we wouldn’t even have one. So, it’s really cool. I really like the environment. I’ve really enjoyed every moment of my wind ensemble experience.”

The transition from high school ensembles to collegiate level groups is one that many students must deal with. The Pittsburg State University jazz band performs at a high level of expectation.

“I came for a smaller high school, so it was more that we do this for fun and not necessarily for the ‘perfect product,” Bodine said. “However, here at Pitt State we want quality, and we want it to be fun. We don’t want it to be bad. We want it to be unique in our own way. I’ve loved my experience here at Pittsburg State.”

The concert contained many different styles of music. While many members enjoyed the upbeat and bright attitude of some of the songs, others enjoyed the slow pace of traditional jazz music.

“I really enjoyed them. I thought they were really good mixture of different styles and stuff,” said Kiel O’Neal, senior in accounting. “I really liked opening ‘El Abrazo’ because of how it was really lyrical with some Latin samba, and it just had some really good variety in there. I really enjoyed all of the music pieces we performed tonight.”

O’Neal shared his favorite music piece that he performed on the bass.

“It’s probably Rogers hard driving Groove because it just had enough old angst and drive, you know, rock and roll with the little jazz all the top so it was a good time.” O’Neal said.

The Pittsburg State University jazz band will perform at the Bicknell Center on Wednesday, Nov. 17, where the group will perform traditional and contemporary jazz music in a free concert for the public.

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