by: Jonathan Bryant
A group of Troy’s most talented musicians will soon
Frequency (often stylized as “frequency”), the John M. Long School of Music’s vocal jazz ensemble, will be delivering the second of its two performances in the Pike County area on Feb. 19.
The concert starts at 7 p.m. in downtown Troy at The Studio on Walnut Street, directly across from the Johnson Center for the Arts.
Despite being a relatively young group, Frequency has been honing their unique blend of contemporary a cappella choral pieces, often with an emphasis on vocal jazz, to near perfection in a variety of locales beyond the halls of Troy.
More impressive is the fact that the ensemble does it all largely without faculty supervision.
Senior Aaron Wine, a vocalist in the ensemble since the fall 2010 semester, said that he was proud of the group’s rather autonomous nature.
“It’s all students, other than our director, Diane Orlofsky,” Wine said.
“I say that because other vocal jazz groups like Miami and Central Washington feature faculty as singers. It’s all us here.”
The 14 voices of Frequency combine to create unique arrangements of pieces, ranging from well-known works as the traditional British piece “Scarborough Fair” and the Beatles’ “Come Together” to lesser-known jazz pieces.
Keeping in the spirit of jazz, the ensemble likes to shake things up a bit so that no two performances ever sound alike.
“We’ve got a really exciting night planned, and will include a cappella, combo and small ensemble pieces to keep the audience on their toes,” Wine said.
“We like to keep things fresh, so even if you’ve heard us lately, like at Studio 116 last week, you’ll want to come again and hear some new stuff.”
For the ensemble, the venue can often play as big a role in the audience’s enjoyment as the actual performance. As such, the local atmospheres of Studio 116 as well as The Studio contribute to a laid-back and personal vibe.
“Both spaces offer an intimacy with the performing artists… the kind of performance venue that serves the goals of Frequency well,” said Dr. Diane Orlofsky, professor of the John M. Long School of Music and director of Frequency.
“The students enjoy this art form and spend long hours trying to perfect their blend and their vision of what the music should convey. Singing in Frequency is a very collaborative music-making experience for these young musicians and they emerge much better listeners and vocalists as a result of their participation.”
But Frequency has been as much of a benefit to its members as it is to the audience. Although it hasn’t always been an easy experience, Wine said that it was one quite unlike anything else offered at Troy.
“We’re a really close-knit group that works hard together,” Wine said.
“I’ve learned just how hard ensemble work can be. It’s frustrating, and sometimes it gets really down to the wire, but I wouldn’t trade the experience I’ve had with those folks. It’s been a blast, and it’s one of the few reasons I dread May coming—I just don’t want to leave.”