posted April 2, 2012

Jazz Chamber Ensembles to Perform on April 9

Multiple jazz chamber ensembles at Hope College will perform Monday, April 9, at 7:30 p.m. in Wichers Auditorium of Nykerk Hall of Music.

The public is invited.  Admission is free.

The concert will feature the Prestige Ensemble, the Vanguard Ensemble, the Verve Ensemble and the Blue Note Ensemble.

The Prestige Ensemble will open the program by performing “Doxy,” by Sonny Rollins; and “Straight No Chaser,” by Thelonious Monk.  The Prestige Ensemble is directed by senior Zach Pedigo of Chippewa Falls, Wis. The ensemble includes sophomore Nathan Axdorff of Grand Rapids, piano; freshman Lisa McLellan of Fort Wayne, Ind., alto saxophone; Zach Pedigo, bass; junior Michael Reynolds of Tampa, Fla, drums; freshman Ashley Ritsema of Grand Rapids, alto saxophone; and freshman Macall Smith of Holland, guitar.

Next, the Vanguard Ensemble will perform “Someday My Prince Will Come,” by Churchill/Morey; “Oleo,” by Sonny Rollins; and “Sweet Georgia Brown,” by Bernie and Casey Pinkard.  Vanguard Ensemble is directed by Mike Van Lente, instructor of jazz percussion. The Vanguard Ensemble includes sophomore Forrest Dodson of Kalamazoo, bass; sophomore Joshua Holicki of Coldwater, drums; sophomore Christian Nikkel of Holland, guitar; and sophomore Rachael Whitmore of Clarkston, violin.

 The Verve Ensemble will then perform “Pent-Up House”, by Sonny Rollins; “Corcovado,” by Antonio Carlos Jobim; “Many Mansions,” by Sonny Sharrock; and “In a Mello Tone,” by Duke Ellington.  Verve Ensemble is directed by Tom Lockwood, instructor of saxophone. The Verve Ensemble includes sophomore Nathan Axdorff of Grand Rapids, alto saxophone; sophomore Matt Costello of Holland, bass; Tom Lockwood, drums; and sophomore Meghan Stagl of Deerfield, Ill., piano/vocals.

To close the program, the Blue Note Ensemble will perform “A Night in Tunisia,” by Dizzy Gillespie; “The Nearness of You,” by Washington/Carmichael; and “Joy Spring,” by Clifford Brown.  Blue Note Ensemble is directed by Steve Talaga, instructor of music, jazz piano and composition. The Blue Note Ensemble includes Matt Costello, bass; freshman Jarred Mackey of Jackson, drums; freshman Matthew Milliken of Fenton, alto and soprano saxophone; and freshman Andrew Valesano of Sherwood, Ore., piano.

The jazz chamber ensembles afford students the opportunity to perform in the classic small group combo setting.  The ensembles vary in size and instrumentation and place a creative focus on improvisation and group communication.  All of the ensembles perform works from the classic jazz repertoire.   The more advanced jazz chamber ensembles also perform repertoire from the contemporary jazz world.  These ensembles also place an emphasis on original student and faculty compositions.  A member of the Hope College jazz faculty coaches each of the ensembles.  The jazz chamber ensembles are open to anyone interested, regardless of experience with jazz.

Nykerk Hall of Music is located in the central Hope campus at the former 127 E. 12th Street between College and Columbia avenues.