Music Department holds Small Ensembles Concert

Taylor Richards – Copy Editor

The audience cheered as Will Durant closed out his electric bass solo with the SCSU Jazz Standards Band. The band unified once again in song, then Brendan Donovan quickly took over the spotlight and began a solo with his alto saxophone.

Twice a semester, the music department holds the Small Ensembles Concert at the recital hall in Engleman C112. For the show on Oct. 6, four bands played: two separate blues bands, the Jazz Standards Band and the Latin Jazz band. Each band has about five members, music and non-music majors alike.

The audience is full of the musicians’ friends, but it is also common for the parents’ of music majors to come out to these smaller shows to support their son’s or daughter’s progress in the major.

“We wouldn’t be here without the parents supporting us every show,” said Dr. David Chevan, a full-time music professor and director of the concert.

“Southern’s music program is a hidden gem,” said Chevan. “We require lessons in our major that you would have to pay for separately at other universities.”

After the Jazz Standards band came the first Blues Band, vocalist and electric guitar player Jack Kelly sang “Nosey Joe” by Bullmoose Jackson, and the catchy chorus was even sung by band members after the concert: “He’ll stick his big nose in your business/his big nose in your business/it’s Nosey Joe / the nosiest guy I know.”

Chris Parisi closed out the first Blues Band with a heavy drum solo in their final song, “Ain’t Nobody Here But Us Chickens” by Louis Jordan which left the crowd cheering.

Next came the Latin Jazz Band, which was more subdued. Six students played along with Chevan onstage as well. Jorge Loor played acoustic guitar and did vocals.

The last to perform was the second Blues Band, with only four members. This band picked up the pace again with all electric instruments and two vocalists, Andrew Mushin and Meg Hackett.

The electric bassist Zak Vitez proclaimed after the first song: “These next two are what we call ‘Blues Core.’” They played “I’m Going Home” by Alvin Lee and “Spoonful” by Willie Dixon which featured loud drums, heavy guitar and bass riffs and Hackett yelling into the mic.

According to drummer and music major Marcus Dipollina, all the members of this ensemble love heavy metal and wanted to incorporate that in their blues covers.

Music major Chris Parisi said that this concert has been his favorite small ensembles show the entire time he has been at Southern. “All the bands were really tight. We all had good dynamics,” he said after the show. “Each band had their own unique sound and were able to vibe off of each other really well.”

Dipollina, a senior, also said that he loves playing in the small ensembles each semester.

“It’s a good community here at Southern,” said Dipollina. “I love the kids in the major, we’re all good friends.”

Photo Credit: Tyler Korponai – Photo Editor 

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