Alyssa Tyler copy editor
The Bicknell Center for the Arts opened its doors to the Pittsburg Multigenerational Choir and Crossroads Jazz Orchestra on Oct. 19 for their program, “It’s a Swing Thing.”
The two groups performed a variety of jazz songs with solos, duets, trios, and choreography by high school seniors Tate Campbell, Keller Erwin, and Ella Rhuems.
The performance started at 7:30 p.m., where community members, Pittsburg High School students, Pittsburg State University faculty, staff, and students all joined to perform a range of songs, such as ‘Minnie the Moocher’ and ‘Route 66.”
“I was thrilled. I was really pleased. I knew it would be high entertainment value. But I did not expect the audience, the crowd, to just be so enthusiastic. And so, when that happens… I hate the term win-win, but I mean, it really is. Everybody is ecstatic at the energy and the enjoyment of what’s going on,” said Susan Laushman, vocal music teacher at Pittsburg High, founder and director of the Multigenerational Choir.
Two Pittsburg State University music professors, Lydia Bechtel and Patrick Howle, performed a duo together on ‘Girl from Ipanema.’
This is the first time the choir and jazz orchestra have come together to perform.
“Yeah, it’s, you know, musicians love to collaborate. And so, you look for other musicians that might fill your needs. And Todd had this Jazz Orchestra, you know, already in place with a nice reputation. So, I just invited him to join us and that’s how it happened,” Laushman said.
Addy Campbell, junior in psychology, performed a solo to the song “Feeling Good.’ She has also performed and has worked with the choir for the past seven years.
“Susan Laushman always comes up with the best themes in the whole wide world. Obviously, this was jazz…we’ve just always had the greatest themes. She composes all the music herself, like that arrangement was all hers. So, seeing what she comes up with and fulfilling it to the best of our abilities is the best,” Campbell said.
Throughout the performance, a mix of different members of the choir would dance during the songs.
“So, I had the three students that you saw at the end of the show, you know, come forward with me and put the bows and you know, of course they’re within the choir. They’re, they’re very talented, and I oversaw, you know, which songs they wanted to do. And because they were already part of my vocal music program when we had rehearsals during the school day because we built it into class time. That’s when they created and taught choreography,” Laushman said.