Troy University’s Vocal Jazz Ensemble will be presenting a collection of songs with the Troy University Guitar Ensemble as guest performers in its fall concert at the beginning of next month.
The all-student audition-only jazz ensemble, known as Frequency, will be performing a variety of vocal jazz selections that include both musically accompanied and acapella songs. These selections include solos, a jazz version of the national anthem and a song from the musical “Guys and Dolls.”
Diane Orlofsky, the music director for Frequency, does not conduct the group as she would a choir and said that the students have to “direct themselves.”
“There’s a real cohesion that has to develop,” Orlofsky said. “A lot of learning to breathe the same … there’s a little bit more precision.”
The concert, titled “Beginnings,” will feature only two singing veteran Frequency members, with the other 11 being first-year participants.
“You have to start from scratch,” Orlofsky said. “We had to pull back and teach some of the fundamentals.”
Orlofsky said that teaching the young group was a new experience.
“It was good for me,” Orlofsky said. “It allowed me to go back and review the fundamentals and learn how to work at a slower pace.”
One of the first-year members, Chris Smith, said that joining the group improved his singing and music skills.
“I joined to improve my singing, and it definitely has improved,” said Smith, a junior theater major from Andalusia. “I wasn’t used to the harmonies, and staying on my part the whole time was probably the biggest challenge for me.”
Orlofsky said that seniors Anna Orlofsky and Brandon Hannon, the only returning members, have served as good leaders for the group.
“They’ve been really great to mentor the young students,” Orlofsky said. “The vibe in the group is a very supportive one. They’re a real family.”
Smith also said that the two seniors were helpful leaders to the ensemble.
“Brandon will make part tracks for everybody and make sure we know these parts,” Smith said. “And Anna is definitely a good leader.”
The Guitar Ensemble, composed of nine Troy students, will be performing three pieces, all written by student Tucker McKee.
Orlofsky said she approached the guitar ensemble about performing at the concert after hearing one of McKee’s original songs.
“I had heard one of his compositions at a student recital,” Orlofsky said. “It was great … It had cool harmonies and was very jazz-infused.”
The concert will present a diverse collection of students, as only six of the students in Frequency have music-related majors.
“You really do have to work together as a team,” Orlofsky said. “And that will benefit them in the long run, no matter what their major is.”
Smith said that he has learned a lot about the industry by being in this ensemble.
“Singing is not just a hobby to some people,” Smith said. “It’s definitely opened my eyes to what my future could be someday.”
The concert will be performed in the Long Hall Choral Room at 7 p.m. on Dec. 1.