WVWC Department of Music Presents Two Distinct Nights of Jazz

Tuesday, December 4th, 2012

On Friday, December 7, 2012 at 8 p.m., WV Wesleyan’s “Big Band” will present their annual winter jazz concert, sharing the stage with the Buckhannon-Upshur High School Jazz Ensemble. This concert, which is free and open to the public, will feature the music of Mike Tomaro and promises to be a great event.  The chance to catch two of the region’s best student jazz ensembles should not be missed.

But when the music dies down Friday night, audience members will want to come back the following evening for an entirely different show. Rather than stopping with the traditional Friday-night affair, Wesleyan’s Department of Music will present an additional, Saturday-only performance of Duke Ellington’s famous version of Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Suite. The piece, which has come to be known as “the Jazz Nutcracker,” was last presented in December 2010 by WV Wesleyan’s “Big Band.” This year, a special new ensemble will perform “the Jazz Nutcracker.”  At $5.00 for general admission ($3.00 for students) this special performance on Saturday at 8PM will be a fitting capstone to a weekend of great jazz at WV Wesleyan.

For this year’s Saturday event, Dr. James Moore, director of jazz ensembles at Wesleyan, has assembled a cast of regional professionals, Wesleyan faculty, and students, to perform the Ellington classic.

“We’re calling this group the ‘WV Wesleyan Concert Jazz Ensemble,’” explains Moore. “This is a first for us. While we often host guest soloists who perform and work with our students, this is the first time that we’ll be welcoming multiple professionals and faculty to the stage to perform with our students.”

The talent that makes up the newly minted WV Wesleyan Concert Jazz Ensemble is a “who’s who” of the regions most celebrated jazz performers. It is Moore’s hope that the performance and the ensemble will become an annual event at Wesleyan.

“Ellington’s treatment of The Nutcracker is one of the most celebrated works in our repertoire and it truly captures the ingenuity of the African American musical spirit. By bringing in world-class jazz performers to assist us in presenting the work, we’ll be able to enrich the musical experiences of students and the community alike.”

Moore, who will lead the Concert Jazz Ensemble on December 8, will be joined in the trumpet section by lead-trumpeter and Slippery Rock University faculty Dr. Steve Hawk, Wesleyan Alumnus Adam Loudin (’07), and Wesleyan students Aaron Piot and Matthew Gillich.

Jeff Bush, who teaches trombone and jazz studies at Wesleyan, will be joined in the trombone section by Pittsburgh jazz trombonist Emmett Goods, and Wesleyan student Tanner McGrew.

The saxophone section, led by Wesleyan saxophone professor Curtis Johnson, will be rounded out by Philadelphia saxophonist Mike Cemprola, and Wesleyan students Larnelle Patterson and Nick Snyder.

In the rhythm section, Wesleyan drummer Kyle Andrews will be joined by Marshall University’s Dr. Sean Parsons and Pittsburgh bassist and Maynard Ferguson Alumnus Paul Thompson. Andrews will also present a senior showcase of original music and arrangements before the Concert Jazz Ensemble takes the stage.

Tickets for the Saturday performance are available at the Wesleyan box office one hour before show time or by emailing Dr. James Moore at moore_j@wvwc.edu.