‘Best of both worlds’: Symphonic Winds and Jazz Band concert

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A concert featuring the Symphonic Winds and Jazz Band will merge classical and big-band music into one performance at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 6, in Rice Auditorium.

The concert will offer a variety of soloists and music ranging from Imagine Dragons to Greek folk music to fanfares. This is the second year the two ensembles have combined for the first musical concert of the semester on campus, and both ensembles’ leaders hope to continue the partnership in the future.

“There is so much variety between Symphonic Winds and Jazz Band,” Frank Perez, director of the Symphonic Winds Ensemble, said. “There is something there for everyone. It gives students and community members a chance to come listen to a wide variety of genres of music — all in one place, all at the same time.”

JD Parr, director of the Jazz Ensemble, said this concert will highlight two very different styles of music from the serious and esoteric to the light and toe-tapping. He said that anyone going to the concert will be getting the “best of both worlds.”

Junior Madison Wendt has been asked to provide vocals for one of the Jazz Ensemble’s songs, “Top of the World” by Imagine Dragons. Wendt is not enrolled in either band but is frequently asked to provide vocals for a some jazz concerts.

“It is really an awesome experience for me,” Wendt said. “I am glad I get to be a part of it again. The last concert we did was mainly jazz standards, like Frank Sinatra and Michael Bublé. Dr. Parr always chooses popular stuff that people are going to enjoy. I really like jazz style and the pop style so it is really nice to do both.”

Perez said the joint concert allows both ensembles the chance to start the concert season early, allowing for more time to refine and practice for future concerts.

“It gives us an opportunity to play more flexible music of a broader variety,” Perez said. “It also gives the ensembles the opportunity to build their skills. Each concert will progressively get harder.”

In addition to their joint concerts, each ensemble has its own guest artist concert, Symphonic Winds in the spring and Jazz Band in the fall.

In the Symphonic Wind Ensemble’s guest artist concert next May, musicians will play the world premiere of a piece by Argentinian composer Adrian Placenti. Perez said this piece will be more challenging for the ensemble.

Parr, who recently announced his upcoming retirement, is eager for the Jazz Band’s guest artist concert in November. The ensemble’s guest artist is clarinetist Ken Peplowski, who has recorded more than 50 solo albums and has played on more than 400, included those of Madonna and Benny Goodman.

As for Tuesday’s concert fusion of jazz and classical music, Perez urges student to support their friends and broaden their horizons by coming to the concert.

“One of the beauties of a liberal arts education is that there are great opportunities to be exposed to art, music, theater, sports, you name it,” Perez said. “Not only are you supporting your friends, you are broadening your horizons with these experiences. Attend something you normally wouldn’t, you’ll be exposed to something new and maybe you’ll find you have a love for it.”