Concert features student compositions

EMMA'LE MAAS, Executive Editor

On Tuesday, Feb. 19 in Bengtson Auditorium, the UNI School of Music held a Jazz Combos Concert featuring four jazz combos. The four groups, Combo 1, The Enablers, Uncharted and Night Mayor, all featured several different types of jazz  as well as compositions by UNI students.

Combo 1 featured three different pieces, which were fairly traditional jazz songs with some modern twists, such as in “Lady Bird” and “Nocturne.”

Freshman performance major Elliott Britt is an alto sax player in Combo 1 and credited his peers for his success and motivation.

“I’m encouraged to play out, take a lot of risks and even if I mess up, it’s a really supportive group,” Britt said. “I feel really comfortable to play here.”

Gerardo Gomez, a fourth-year music education major with an emphasis in jazz studies, performed in Uncharted. He was featured on the saxophone with a solo in “Jourmear, Jourfar,” composed by fellow student and performer, Andrew Wiele. Student compositions were featured throughout the night, as only three of the nine pieces were not composed by students. Gerardo said his favorite piece was “Morning Ritual,” composed by Isaac Schwartz, a graduate assistant.

Gerardo also said he feeds off the energy of his peers.

“Everyone in the School of Music really loves what we do.”

He said he truly appreciates the community’s support and claims it is an honor and privilege to perform in front of large audiences like that of Tuesday’s performance, or last week’s Sinfonian Dimensions in Jazz concerts.

“Having people ready to listen and actually enjoy it is what we’re here to do.”

Going forward, some student performers said that they hope for even larger audiences. “We want to learn to grow,” Britt said. “We want to play for more people, that’s what we enjoy doing and we want to make people happy.”

Gerardo also hopes that with larger audiences, the stigmas surrounding jazz will disappear.

“This is one of the [widest] genres in music out there,” Britt said.

Each jazz combo group have ensemble coaches which include Michael Conrad, Robert Dunn, Isaac Schwartz and Christopher Merz. Each group rehearses twice a week, with members ranging from freshman to graduate students.

The jazz combos will be performing next at Octopus College Hill Sunday, April 14, and Sunday, April 28. Performing alongside the jazz combos ensembles will be Jazz Slides, a jazz trombone ensemble.