On November 11, there was a Jazz Ensemble concert in the Blackbox Theater. If you did not attend, you really missed out on a good time! The first performance was the Mount Union Jazz Combo, directed by John Anthony. This small but mighty group consisted of Rachel Vaughan on trumpet, Jack Madison on tenor sax, Hannah Zuppe on guitar, Zach Brown on Bass and Jacob Brown on drums. They played three tunes: “Cantaloupe Island” by Herbie Hancock, “Little Sunflower” by Freddie Hubbard, and ended with “Watermelon Man” by Herbie Hancock. Each piece had its own little flavor to it. My personal favorite was “Watermelon Man”. The group did a nice job, especially when blending their sound together.
Next came The Mount Union Jazz Ensemble, directed by Daniel Carioti. The group consisted of Brandon Duktig, Adrian Sherer and Marc Saxe on alto saxophone; Jack Madison and Alexandria Tilton on tenor saxophone; Abbey McElroy on baritone saxophone; Katie Norton and Gwyn Hollenbach on trombone; Brady Pierce on Euphonium; Richard Ulam, Rachel Vaughan, Colleen Gareau and Maeve Smith on trumpet; Connor Johnson on bass; Zach Brown on guitar; Michael Jarman on piano; and Mickey McIntyre on drums. I personally spend a lot of time in Cope Hall, and I was able to hear this ensemble practice on many occasions. With both doors of the band room closed, you could still plainly hear them from practically everywhere in the building. I had always pictured this group to be much larger than they really were. My jaw dropped when I saw their true size! The Jazz Ensemble produced the full, balanced sound of a band twice their size! The Jazz Ensemble played “Strike Up The Band” by George Gershwin and arranged by Sammy Nestico; “Blue Bossa” by Kenny Dorham, arranged by Mark Taylor, featuring soloists Brandon Duktig on alto saxophone and Mickey McIntyre on drums; “Groovin’ Hard” by Don Menza, arranged by Dave Barduhn; “Lush Life” by Billy Strayhorn, arranged by Mike Kamuf; “A Big Cuppa Joe” by Paul Murtha, featuring soloists Jack Madison on tenor saxophone and Brady Pierce on Euphonium; “Stolen Moments” by Oliver Nelson, arranged by Paul Jennings, featuring soloists Maeve Smith and Rachel Vaughan, both on trumpet; and lastly, “Cold Duck Time” by Eddie Harris, arranged by Erik Morales, featuring soloists Brandon Duktig on alto saxophone, Abbey McElroy on baritone saxophone, and Zach Brown on bass guitar.
Both the Jazz Combo and the Jazz Ensemble sounded wonderful, and I am so glad I had the pleasure of hearing them! Both ensembles brought wonderful music to share with the audience, and they should be pleased with themselves. Most of the audience had their feet tapping throughout the night, and we all left a little more jazzed than we came.