While most of the students have been busy with the mid-semester academic rush, the Troy band jazz ensembles, I and II, have been working hard and practicing for the upcoming concert.
“Jazz ensemble is usually an ensemble of about 18 to 20 musicians that consists typically of about five saxophones, five trumpets, five trombones, and rhythm section,” said Dave Camwell, an assistant professor of saxophone and jazz.
According to Camwell, the ensemble plays music from all different genres like swing, funk, hip-hop and even classical.
“There isn’t one piece that sounds the same as another piece,” Camwell said. “So, there is a lot of variety, and it’s all beautifully written and performed music.”
Camwell is directing the Jazz I ensemble, while Jazz II is being directed by Jason Sulliman, an assistant professor of trombone.
“Jazz II is usually made up of less experienced players, and they start the concert with a small set of three to four songs, and Jazz I concludes the concert,” Camwell said.
The concert is about an hour and a half long with 20 minutes of Jazz II performance and 45 minutes to an hour of Jazz I performance.
The musicians performing in the ensemble are picked through auditions toward the beginning of the year. The auditions are open to students of all majors.
However, auditionees need to be skilled in the instrument they are playing and be willing to fit the performances into their schedule. Once chosen, the musicians practice for about one hour and 15 minutes twice a week for four to six weeks per concert.
“It is a very involved ensemble, and we have a lot of performances,” said Zachary Vranich, a junior computer science major from Pensacola, and a trumpet player in the ensemble.“You might have to miss a few classes, and that can be a bit challenging, but, other than that, it’s a lot of fun,”
Landon Grigby, a senior music education major from Ocean Springs, Mississippi, also plays trumpet for the jazz ensemble.
“We are exposed to a lot just being in here,” Grigby said. “We have a really unique dynamic where we have people in our faculty where we can bring in really inspirational and cool musicians from all around the world to come play with us.”
This is the first of the two concerts which are going to be held this semester. The band members encourage everyone to come out Feb. 28 and enjoy the music.
“It’s going to be a really hyped up concert,” said Wyatt Anderson, a junior music major from Pell City, and one of the altos in the ensemble. “It’s not like band concerts where you must stay quiet the whole time,” You can cheer and whoop.
“This is not a concert where you will just be looking at your phone,” Camwell said. “In today’s shortened attention span era, there’s enough going on both visually and musically, but I think the sheer power of the group is something that takes you back.
“This is great music played really well, and there’s a power and importance to that.”
The concert is going to be held this Thursday, Feb. 28, at 7 p.m. in the Claudia Crosby Theater. The concert is free and open to the public.