Friend University Jazz puts on a toe tapping performance
By sophomore Bradi Schultz, editor
The cymbals crashed as Joon Kim, senior, began to dance around in front of the piano during the performance of “Friend Like Me.” This was the energy that sizzled in Sebits Auditorium on Friday, April 13, as the Friends University Jazz Band was preparing for its final concert of the semester, Senior Jazz Night.
The concert included all the musicians who are either graduating in May, December or beginning their student teaching.
Lisa Hittle, assistant professor of music, was presented with the Homer Osborne award for outstanding musicianship and teaching.
Audience members were still filing in as the band prepared to play to an almost full house that evening.
As the show started, Mary Rose Biltz, senior, directed the Jazz Ensemble I to “Boogie Stop Shuffle” composed by Charlie Mingus and arranged by Andrew Homzy. As the song bounced along, the audience saw Kim begin to get into the song, soon standing and dancing along to the tune while playing the piano.
Throughout the concert, Hittle and Biltz switched off with directing duties. During the pieces, a different senior jazz member stood up and showed the audience his or her amazing talent during a solo for the last time at Friends.
At one point in during the first ensemble’s performance, Nathan Nonhof took the stage, not with his trombone, but to sing as the band played. Nonhof may have been the only vocal performance of the night, but he still gave the audience something to remember with his beautiful voice, and he even performed a little scat.
The departing members included Kayla Loper, Joon Kim, Nonhof, Seth Binford, Riki Eto, Nate Hills, Parker Loesch, Mary Rose Biltz, Aaron Sullard and Kristin Unruh.
The band performed five pieces before intermission, and the second ensemble performed six.
After the Jazz Ensemble II opened with “Friend Like Me,” a fun and fast-paced Latin inspired number set Hittle up for her surprise to the returning members. Hittle informed the audience and the band that next December, the Jazz Band will travel to Cuba. The performers faces lit up with excitement, even the departing members, as the crowd applauded hearing the news of the trip.
As the show wound down, all the members of the band took the stage to speak about the departing members, giving the audience a little background information on the performers and their new endeavors.
Many of the departing members are looking forward to pursuing their jazz career after graduation while others will be taking different routes. None of the members left that night without giving the audience and the band their all to finish their last performance at the University.