SCSU music department: Small Ensembles Performance
Tyler Korponai – Photo Editor
The SCSU music department showcased the small ensembles, Latin Jazz, Blues and Jazz Standards on Tuesday, Dec. 2 in the Charles Garner Recital Hall of Engleman.
Each group had an opportunity to get out of the practice room and show off three songs for the audience.
At three songs each, one would only see a fraction of what goes into making a performance like this one happen. Putting everything into place permeates throughout the production.
“I’m very much musician-centered, so even though I’m preparing lists of music for the musicians well before the semester…very often I start playing with that so that the material fits the players,” said David Chevan, Ph.D., director of the small ensembles. “You can see that with the Latin Band we hadn’t planned to have vocals. It was very clear that Jorge, a native Spanish speaker and very good singer, well putting him in front of microphone for traditional Spanish music was perfect.”
At every level, for musician and director alike, there are countless hours that have to be dedicated to delivering just three songs.
Jorge Loor plays guitar and is on vocals for the Latin band. However, he and his band members’ challenge varies greatly from the organization and direction process.
“Getting to know the songs, that’s the most difficult thing,” said Loor. “It’s just a matter of putting the pieces together. So with ensembles that’s the first thing, learn the music. Next we’ll start working on solos and stuff like that, so you have to work it out. Even while we’re performing you’ll still us looking at each other putting it together.”
Loor said even though someone can be nervous on stage, they should always try their best when performing.
Playing is probably the most important thing when it comes to these groups too. What separates the Small Ensembles from other performances is the musicianship behind it. Songs aren’t designed to be played straight. They’re dynamic and have a different feel every time, and that’s encouraged, if not the goal.
“I’m training people to be what Southern believes in,” said Chevan. “Which is independent self-motivated learners. People learn by guidance and I’m teaching them to teach themselves and lead themselves. When I see a performance like Jack’s group, I’m doing my work the way I’d intentionally like my work to be done.”
At the end of the show, what really matters is the music itself.
“I think in these dark and difficult days that we live in we can’t underestimate the healing power of music,” said Chevan. “We can’t underestimate the communal power of music, we can’t underestimate the way that music can bridge people, who otherwise can’t communicate or would not communicate with one another.”
Photo Credit: Tyler Korponai – Photo Editor