Jazz program to perform series of concerts

The+Jazz+Band+II+class+has+been+hard+at+work+preparing+many+pieces+for+the+upcoming+jazz+festival.+They+will+be+performing+on+March+ninth.+
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Jazz program to perform series of concerts

The Jazz Band II class has been hard at work preparing many pieces for the upcoming jazz festival. They will be performing on March ninth.

The Jazz Band II class has been hard at work preparing many pieces for the upcoming jazz festival. They will be performing on March ninth.

The Jazz Band II class has been hard at work preparing many pieces for the upcoming jazz festival. They will be performing on March ninth.

The Jazz Band II class has been hard at work preparing many pieces for the upcoming jazz festival. They will be performing on March ninth.

Scott Wilson, Staff Reporter

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The CWU jazz program will be putting on two separate performances in the afternoon and evening on Saturday, March 9. This is an event put on at the end of every quarter in the Jerilyn S. McIntyre Music Building that usually draws a crowd of up to 400 people. CWU students and alumni get in for $7 and everyone else must pay $12 for a ticket. One ticket will get you into both shows.

Chris Bruya, director of jazz studies and two of the big bands, describes the afternoon performance as a vocal jazz celebration. This will feature two vocal jazz ensembles that each have around 16 vocalists starting at 4 p.m. The evening show is a big band celebration that includes three big bands and starts at 7 p.m.

Since 2014, the jazz program has split up the concerts into an afternoon and evening show, giving the audience a break in-between shows.

The musicians and vocalists are CWU students and are required to audition to be in the program.

Apart from these end-of-quarter performances, the top vocalist and big band group go out and perform in the community. The groups have performed in Reno, Nevada, Spokane and multiple times in Seattle.

Bruya has been directing jazz with CWU for 17 years now and enjoys the new talent every year.

“It’s trying to keep the standard, which is very high, consistent from year to year and so the fun of it is trying to pick music for the group that will fit the various strengths and inspire students to play at a high level,” Bruya said.

Graduates from the program have moved on to play at a higher level. Bruya explained that some are playing on cruise ships and some are music directors. Most students go on to teach music in public schools.

Bruya explained that the music that the groups play may not always be understood by the audience, but he wants the music to speak to them on an emotional level.

“If we play the music effectively, the way it was originally written to be played, there will be an emotional reaction,” Bruya said. “Sometimes that’s sadness, sometimes that’s just getting into the groove.”

Daniel Hendrick, one of the trumpet players in the big band, is graduating at the end of winter quarter and will be moving on to student teaching in the spring. Working in the Tri-Cities area, Hendrick will teach jazz band at a school alongside a teacher and hopes to have his own music program in Washington or Oregon by the fall.

After being involved in jazz band every quarter since attending CWU, Hendrick said the program has meant the entire world to him.

“There’s this feeling when everything is grooving and jamming and you’re just making music with each other. It’s a feeling you can’t get anywhere else,” Hendrick said.

Another graduating performer in one of the big bands is trombone player Sascha Burckhardt.

He will be attending graduate school in trombone performance. Burckhardt explains that jazz band at CWU has been the best time of his life.

“Being able to really improve and hone my musicianship skills while being able to make great friends [and] connections have ultimately been some of my favorite memories,” Burckhardt said.

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