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Music professors perform jazz with ‘Art of Trio’

Braden Saint-Val- Contributor

As grueling midterms approach, the average student wants to take a break and relax, so what better way to do that than with some evening jazz? 

On Feb. 28, Music Professors David Chevan, Rex Cadwallader and William Cleary performed “Art of Trio” in the Garner Recital Hall, where they created a free-flowing and spontaneous jazz performance. 

The “Art of Trio” series has a history going back to the 1990s in Milford. 

Professors Rex Cadwallader, David Chevan and Will Cleary perform in the Garner Recital Hall on Wednesday, Feb. 28. Photo: Braden Saint-Val

“Rex Cadwallader, our pianist, was very involved with the Arts Council of the city of Milford. And at that time, they had a jazz series, and he was the host of it, and he invited me to be the bass player,” Chevan said. “That’s when the series started with this whole idea that it would be the two of us with a different guest for each performance.” 

Ever since Cadwallader joined the music faculty, “Art of Trio” has taken place at the university. 

“Rex always brings the harmony. I bring the rhythm, and then whoever the guest is, very often they’re bringing the melody,” Chevan said. 

In this edition of the series, William Cleary brought the warmth and expressiveness of the saxophone to the performance. 

“Will Cleary is just such an artist. We’re so fortunate to have him on faculty here at Southern because he really inspires both his playing and also in his teachings,” Chevan said. 

Cadwallader played with precision, his fingers gliding across the keys, producing beautiful sounds that filled the room. Providing a steady beat, Chevan added depth and richness to the music playing with passion and intensity. 

Their incredible musicianship and the power of a trio was in full display, creating a captivating and multifaceted atmosphere followed by constant applause. 

At one point, Chevan had a groovy solo, then Cleary and Cadwallader sprung back in, a fitting example of listening and reacting in jazz. 

Several music students attended the performance, seeing what they learn in class demonstrated. 

The performance was also sponsored by the Stutzman Family Foundation, which has continuously donated to the music department, providing merit-based scholarships and funding to the applied lessons program for music majors and minors. 

The department will have events throughout the semester, including “Ellynne Rey and Friends: Music and the Wilderness” from jazz vocalist and music faculty member Ellynne Rey, accompanied by Darren Litzie, Jeff Fuller, Brian Woodruff and Mark Kaplan on April 10. 

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