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Jazz ensemble one of 10 to perform in New York City

Jazz ensemble one of 10 to perform in New York City

Nicholas Sumner

The jazz band’s saxophone section works together in their sectional during their rehearsal Feb. 17 in Heath Recital Hall. During their sectional, they practiced pieces that they will be playing during their trip to New York in April.

The Emporia State Jazz Ensemble was selected last fall to be one of 10 student jazz groups in the world to perform at the New York City Jazz Festival, April 11-14, in New York City, N.Y.

Before the ensemble shares their music at the festival, audiences in Emporia get to hear them play. Last Saturday, they performed at the Sesquicentennial Gala celebrating ESU’s 150th birthday.

“It was fun for the band to play in a dance setting, because we’re really more of a concert jazz ensemble, so it was good for them to get out and perform for a different crowd,” said Gary Ziek, director of wind ensemble and jazz ensemble.

Band members agree that performing for this type of crowd was a good experience.

“Sometimes people can connect more to jazz because you can dance to it or tap your foot to it,” said Christine Tompkins, senior music education and trumpet performance major. “It was a lot of fun just because everyone else had fun.”

Tonight, the group will perform a split concert with Emporia High School’s jazz ensemble at 7:30 p.m. in Albert Taylor Hall.

In addition to their repertoire from last semester, the ESU jazz ensemble will perform four new charts – three of which they will perform again in New York City this spring.

The festival is a first for the Emporia big band. They will receive a jazz clinic and play in The Allen Room in the Lincoln Center, close to Central Park in Manhattan.

“It’s the most prestigious venue you can play in the country for jazz,” Ziek said.

The jazz ensemble has been fortunate in their fundraising for the trip. They received a grant covering most of the cost from the President’s Office that combined gifts from several donors.

After the Gala on Saturday, President Michael Shonrock also offered to buy the ensemble new dress shirts to wear instead of their regular polos for the jazz festival.

For the remaining amount, students have conducted fundraisers, including a bucket drive on the corner of Commercial and 12th streets, and have taken donations at all of their performances.

“We’re all really thankful for all the help we’ve received so far. It’s been amazing,” Tompkins said. “It’s definitely going to be a great experience, one that we hope to represent well for the university.”

After tonight’s concert, the next chance to hear and see the ESU jazz ensemble perform in Emporia will be April 24 in Albert Taylor Hall.

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