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Tribute jazz concert in memory of Charles Mingus coming to CWU

Lauren Nolton, Staff Reporter - January 23, 2013

Music – alongside Dr. King and other civil rights activists – has been a part of the fight which helped to shape the meaning of freedom in America.

In the 1960s, Charles Mingus was a talented musician, and outspoken human rights activist. Mingus played on bandstands and often spoke or played music to display his feeling towards oppressed people in America.

This is why graduate student Dean Snavely will conduct an elegy concert tonight for Mingus around the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday. The piece he’s conducting was composed by Timothy Broege, who arranged five of Mingus’s most well-known pieces. Snavely specifically picked this 30-minute piece because Mingus expresses his feelings toward the oppressed.

“Mingus himself was a very outspoken activist, not just for civil rights, but for everything,” Snavely said.

Putting on this concert inspired Snavely to research more into the jazz musician’s role in the civil rights movement, which he said has long been forgotten.

“It has been a mind-expanding experience,” Snavely said. “I am excited and a little overwhelmed.”

A talented jazz quartet, formed of three Central alumni and one Central faculty member, will be performing the elegy.

The quartet features Gary Hobbs on drums, Saul Cline playing tenor saxophone, Revel Lubag on the piano and Johm Hamar on bass. The CWU Wind Ensemble will accompany the quartet.

DeLane Doyle, a percussionist with the wind ensemble, has been practicing percussion since fifth grade. He will be playing xylophone, timbales (Latin drums) and cowbells alongside the jazz quartet.

This isn’t Doyle’s first Charles Mingus tribute concert.

“It was a really weird experience because I had never heard that type of music before,” Doyle said. “Now that we are playing his music, everything that I heard years ago makes a lot more sense.”

“It’s a really great experience,” Doyle said. “It is really cool music and a challenge musically. I am excited to be with the jazz quartet on stage.”

Daniel Higgins, dual major in music education and clarinet performance, will be the only bass clarinet player on stage during the concert.

“I am really looking forward to hearing our guest artists,” Higgens said. “They are going to be amazing and I can’t wait to play with them.”

Michael Towey, also a percussion performance major, is looking forward to playing in a chamber ensemble setting with the jazz quartet.

“It’s one of those things that you don’t normally get to do – it’s called third stream,” Towey said.

Third stream is a mixture of jazz, wind ensemble and orchestral ideas coming together to form one piece.

The jazz quartet will perform a free concert at Prosody Events on Jan. 23 at 7 p.m. Several jazz ensemble students from Central will be opening for the quartet before they play. The quartet will also hold several clinics on the day of the concert.

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