Jazz fills Gray Chapel

By: Katie Kuckelheim, Transcript Correspondent

jazzOhio Wesleyan’s Park Avenue jazz ensemble performed Tuesday, Nov. 17 in Gray Chapel and was directed by faculty member Larry Griffin. They played a large variety of jazz pieces, from smooth to classic uplifting pieces.

According to freshman Espen Stalder, a trumpet player in the ensemble, the jazz band rehearsed twice a week for an hour and a half to prepare for the performance.

Freshman Emily Sutliff, a trombone player, said, “We worked really hard on these pieces and I think it’s great that we all came together as a band even though this was really difficult music.

We did our best and everyone had a great time.”

After intermission, Griffin introduced Rachel Ballitch, a vocalist, to the stage who sang six songs with the band including “Over the Rainbow” by Harold Allen.

When asked about how jazz differs from other types of music, sophomore tenor saxophone player Zachary Worley said, “You can express yourself more. You can do a lot more with jazz than classical … You can do what you want, what you feel.”

Music education major and audience member Mary Wadell added, “I think the best part of it is that so much of what we hear is actually improvised … they can do anything they want, express how they feel. And I think that’s brought out most in their ability to improvise in jazz, which is really unique to the style.”

This ensemble will not perform again for another year.

“There’s usually two [jazz band concerts]. But Dr. Griffin is going to be on sabbatical…” said senior Logan Baker, a trumpet player in the ensemble.

Griffin added, “The band rehearses twice a week. However, next semester when I’m on sabbatical, we’re not scheduled to have a band. There is an individual that would like to rehearse the band once per week. However, I have not finalized my plans for the semester at this point.”

President Rock Jones said, “I thought they were terrific. There was great energy. Lots of new faces in the band this year and they did really well.”

The music department puts on many performances every year, the next being Tuesday, Dec. 1 at 8 p.m. at Jemison auditorium in Sanborn Hall. Admission is free.