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Jazz Ensemble Shows Its 'Chops,' Wins 'Premiere' Performance Spot

Oct. 22, 2014
SHSU Media Contact: Jennifer Gauntt

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SHSU Jazz Ensemble posing with their instruments in the Performing Arts Center
The students comprising the SHSU Jazz Ensemble include both music majors and non-majors. These students will be traveling to Chicago in December where the ensemble will premiere at the 68th Annual Midwest Clinic International Band Convention. —Submitted photo


The Sam Houston State University Jazz Ensemble recently channeled the greats and blew through the competition as one of only two college jazz bands to win a performance spot at the 68th Annual Midwest Clinic International Band Convention.

The group will travel to Chicago on Dec. 16 to give a live performance the following evening. They were selected to be the first evening jazz performance after auditioning by CD, on both the national and international scale.

Before then, the jazz ensemble will preview a portion of that performance for the Bearkat and Huntsville communities as their first concert of the semester on Thursday (Oct. 30).

The concert will feature pieces from such noted jazz musicians as Jeff Jarvis, Dizzy Gillespie, Billy Strayhorn, and George Gershwin. It will also include performances by three SHSU jazz groups: the Jazz Lab Band, the Jazz Improvisation Class and the Jazz Ensemble.

It will begin at 7:30 p.m. in the Gaertner Performing Arts Center Concert Hall.

A preview of the preview

“This concert is flavored with arrangements of classic jazz standards,” said Aric Schneller, assistant professor of music and director of jazz studies. “It will include my arrangement of ‘What Is This Thing Called Love?’ by Cole Porter— which was my first published arrangement with Alfred Music/Belwin Jazz Publications—and several original/modern jazz works for the big band genre as well as some wonderful Latin music.

“Because this is the first of two preview concerts of the music that will be performed by the SHSU Jazz Ensemble the week before Christmas for the 68th Annual Midwest Clinic International Band Convention, we would love the support from our hometown crowd,” he said.

The 68th Annual Midwest Clinic is one of the most prestigious music conventions in the world, according to Schneller.

It includes clinics and performances by leading professionals and amateurs in the fields of wind band, jazz, and chamber music.

“This is the first time that SHSU’s Jazz Ensemble has won this prestigious honor (of performing there),” Schneller said. “It is a once-in-a-lifetime experience for the students and myself as the process is extremely competitive and can take many years of auditioning.”

The SHSU Jazz Ensemble and Jazz Lab Band are each comprised of 20-members, both music and non-music majors, and the Jazz Improvisation group is a 13-member class taught by Schneller.

Membership into the Jazz Ensemble or Jazz Lab Band is selected by auditions held every semester, and non-major participation is especially encouraged, Schneller said.

Under Schneller’s direction, the SHSU Jazz Ensemble won the prime time performance spot on their third consecutive submission to the Midwest clinic.

Tickets for the preview concert are $15 for general admission, $12 for senior citizens and $5 for SHSU students.

For more information, call the School of Music at 936.294.1360.



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