On Nov. 18 at 7 p.m., music students and faculty alike plan to get all jazzed up — literally. The Fine Arts Department will present the fourth annual Evening of Jazz, a free 90-minute concert in the E Auditorium featuring the talents of Santa Fe’s Rhythm and Blues band, Jazz Combo, and Big Band. Making its debut alongside these talented student musicians will be the Faculty Jazz Octet, a diverse group of Santa Fe professors brought together by a love of jazz.
“We’re offering quite a lot of good entertainment for free. This isn’t stuff you’d see anywhere else,” said Music Professor Steve Bingham, director of the student jazz bands and organizer of the event. “Every year is a challenge to do better than the last. The Evening of Jazz keeps growing, and the audience keeps coming back. We’re about ready to outgrow this auditorium!”
For one night only, the E Auditorium will be transformed into a smoky nightclub, where the audience can sit right next to the stage and be carried back to the heyday of jazz by the sultry wail of trumpets. Five vocalists will front the student bands, and the vocal professor herself, Lynn Sandefur, will be crooning as part of the Faculty Octet. Each musical group will play four songs for the event, except for the Big Band, which, with its 20 member musicians, will perform up to nine jazz staples.
This year’s song selection ranges from the height of the Jazz Age in the 1930s all the way to present day. Classics like Dizzy Gillespie’s “Night in Tunisia” and Miles Davis’s “Four” are among the offerings from the 10-piece Jazz Combo. Meanwhile, the Big Band will mix old school with new, playing modern jazz selections including Bette Midler’s 1991 hit, “Stuff Like That There,” and the theme song from the popular anime TV show Cowboy Bebop. The R&B band will tackle Motown in the style of the Saturday Night Live spinoff movie The Blues Brothers, using two male vocalists and borrowing songs from the film including Ray Charles’s version of “Shake a Tail Feather.”
This event marks the first formal performance for Santa Fe’s Big Band since their concert at New York City’s Carnegie Hall. On May 21, 2010, the band took the stage with physically and mentally handicapped students from Gainesville’s Sydney Lanier School, representing the traditional jazz category for an international audience.
“A good big band is an ensemble that affects you in no other way,” said Bingham. “It can really lift you up. You come out of a concert feeling really good about things.”
“Mystery” Faculty Jazz Octet debuts that night
The Faculty Jazz Octet has been a labor of love for the eight musicians, who have been practicing together clandestinely over their Friday lunch hours.
“I figured there were a lot of latent jazz performers out there, and I wanted to see if there were any in our school. And there are,” said Bingham.
While the Octet will feature the talents of music professors Bingham, Sandefur and Brian Holder on drums, several mystery musicians from the Administration and the English, Math, and Visual Art departments will reveal their identities onstage that night.
“Music doesn’t have time barriers. After a while, you’re going to have to stop playing basketball or football because your body gives in,” said Bingham. “I don’t think there’s a time limit with music, though. You can play all your life.”
While the concert is free, the students will be collecting donations from the audience, and those donations, along with the proceeds from the sale of refreshments such as cookies and brownies, will help fund the musicians when they go on tours.
“Jazz has a certain mystique, a certain lore. It’s America’s true art form,” said Bingham. “We try to keep it alive. If that doesn’t happen at the college level, who is going to keep jazz education going?”
For more information about this concert, please contact Dr. Steve Bingham at 352-395-5313 or email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
This press release was written by Allison Griner, Communication Specialist, College Relations
Dr. Steve Bingham, 352-395-5313 or email to email@example.com
Julie Garrett, 352-395-5430 (office) or 352-870-2924 (cell) or firstname.lastname@example.org