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NSU Jazz program performs fall concert

Published 11/7/18

Caleb Eutsler

TNE Writer

The NSU Jazz Lab is preparing for their fall concert. Since August,  John Petrucelli, jazz director, has challenged and pushed his students to learn cover songs by Thad Jones. The jazz band has studied the music and practiced week after week, and they are ready to perform their concert.

“It really is an honor to be a part of the history of the jazz program,” said Petrucelli. “We are making a legacy with this group. For this group of students, this is an opportunity to demonstrate a certain level of professionalism that they work to perfect daily. Now it is time for us to perform and we are prepared.”

Roger Webb, 1992 NSU president, was determined to find a place for jazz students to practice their craft. In 1993, Jazz Lab construction was funded and built, allowing students to practice, listen and showcase jazz work. Multiple performances have been presented amongst these students. Not only is the building used for jazz freedom, but it is also used for several organizations in the community.

“This is my first semester being the director of Jazz at NSU,” said Petrucelli. “Previously, I worked in Pennsylvania. People keep telling me it seems like such a big move. I am proud of the exciting things that are happening with this group. This is the first group I have been able to direct. These are students that are well known and involved.”

An audition at the beginning of the semester gives students the challenge to compete for the chance to perform at the concert. When Petrucelli chooses the performers, they beginning preparing and analyzing music. The students selected perform with three drummers, five saxophones, five trumpets, two guitarists, one bass player and one piano.

“I am a jazz studies major and I study music, especially jazz music and I was one of the students selected to perform in the fall concert,” said Jess Wisley, Verdigris junior. “It is a show with only Thad Jones music, band leader who has made history. We have rehearsals three times a week that range from an hour each as we play through the tunes and push to be our best. I think it is cool to see all of our hard work come down to this moment and be able to perform it for all the students and the community.”

Thad Jones was an American jazz trumpeter, composer and bandleader. He is well known among the jazz students as one of the best trumpet soloists of all time. The ensemble concert is a contribution to him and his discography. Jones has worked on more than 58 albums, making his name well known among the world of jazz.

“I am in ensembles all throughout the school year, but specifically jazz, so this makes this concert completely my thing,” said Jacob Martin, Fort Gibson junior. “I am a jazz studies major, which is a performance degree. With this concert it all comes back to music in general, and I think jazz is the embodiment of extreme virtuosic rhythms, the best of the best. This is a complex performance but it is also something for everyone. There is so much to jazz and it gives us high energy and the ablilty to see something you don’t see everyday.”

The performance is open to all students and community members. The performers and jazz lab encourage everyone to come and see the concert.

“In past concerts this semester, we have taken a contemporary approach towards Jazz but with this concert we wanted to make it historical and influential,” said Petrucelli. “This is one of the strongest bands in the history of the program. I would encourage everyone to come to the concert because it means a lot to them and is something that everyone would experience. I also want to give a thank you to all of my colleagues and to NSU for the support the students and I have received.”

The concert is at 7 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 8.

For more information on the concert or the jazz department, email the Jazz Lab at nsujazz@nsuok.edu.


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