Tag: department of music

JSU music department begins transition back into Mason Hall

Scott Young, News Editor

The Jacksonville State University Department of Music has begun transitioning back into their home Mason Hall, nearly two years after the facility was heavily damaged by an EF-3 tornado.

Continue reading “JSU music department begins transition back into Mason Hall”

Becoming a brother: the final steps

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Member candidates (from L to R) Andrew Epperson, Kristen Page, Jessica Cagle, Melissa Arias, Michael Johnston, Koree Martin, Chiristian Tenorio and Kayla Cooper pose with KKPsi’s Music Chair, Nick Doyle (far right).  (All photos by Sydney Williams)

By Alissa Camplin, Arts & Entertainment Editor

The David L. Walters Department of Music of Jacksonville State University presented the Kappa Kappa Psi Membership Candidates (MCs) in recital on Sunday, Feb. 5, 2017.

The lights of the Performance Center of Mason Hall dimmed at 5 p.m. as Nick Doyle, KKPsi’s Music Chair, welcomed the guests warmly and wished the audience an enjoyable night.

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Koree Martin performs.

The first MC to perform was Koree “Simba” Martin, a former 20J and upcoming head drum major for the Marching Southerners. He played Vladislav Blazhevich’s “Blazhevich No. 9,” on tuba.

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Kayla Cooper performs.

Kayla Cooper was the next to grace the stage. She, accompanied by pianist Preston Winkles, played “Aria” by Eugene Bozza on alto saxophone with impeccable precision.

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Michael Johnston performs.

A bassoon rendition of Joannes Rochut’s “Melodious Etude No. 4” followed, and was performed by Michael Johnson.

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Andrew Epperson performs.

“Trumpet Concerto in Eb II. Andante” by Joseph Haydn was then presented by trumpeter Andrew Epperson and was accompanied by pianist Kasey Robinson.

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Jessica Cagle performs.

Trombonist Jessica Cagle was next. She performed “Melodious Etude No. 12” by Joannes Rochut.

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Melissa Arias performs.

Melissa Arias, alongside accompanist Preston Winkles, presented a light rendition “The Swan” by Camile Saint-Saensh on baritone, which is not her primary instrument.

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Kristen Page performs.

The night continued with “Nocturne No. 2” by Frédéric Chopin being played by clarinetist Kristen Page.

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Christian Tenorio performs.

The evening was concluded by Christian Tenorio and his small army of accompanists playing Sonny Rollins’s “Sonnymoon for Two.” Tenorio played tenor sax, and was joined by Ian Williams on bass, Jared Shiver on trumpet, JJ Williams on trombone, and Connor Jannot on alto saxophone.

KKPsi has had the Mu Iota chapter at Jacksonville State University since 2009, but was originally and nationally founded on the campus of Oklahoma State University in 1919.

The eight new MCs have been practicing and preparing for months. MCs were asked to pick their recital piece before Thanksgiving break and were required to rehearse on their own until the big day.

The MC recital is one of the latter steps to becoming a brother, says Melissa Arias, a senior Spanish major.

“The hardest part was preparing for the big day. It’s been six years since I’ve played baritone, but my favorite part was knowing I accomplished something I never expected to. I can’t even read music,” she laughed. “But the long hours and late nights in Mason Hall made it worth it to have a great performance to show the brothers, my family, and my friends that even though I have been out of touch for so long, it’s still possible.”

The magical night ended as the current brothers of Kappa Kappa Psi surrounded the member candidates to sing their traditional “Fraternity Hymn.”

*All photos by Sydney Williams

Review: Q Ensemble accompanies ‘Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde’

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James Woodard/JSU

Last Friday night, a very unique performance took place in Mason Hall Performance Center. Led by Dr. James Woodward of the David L. Walters Department of Music, Jacksonville State University’s very own Q Ensemble was the accompaniment to the classic 1920s silent film, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.

The Q Ensemble is a group of students that specializes in contemporary music performance.

“There’s always been a contemporary music ensemble at JSU,” says Woodward, and their purpose is just that – to promote unique, contemporary music.

When approached about his vision of the performance, Dr. Woodward explained one of the many connections between film and music. “I chose the medium and the film in general because it is easiest to improvise jazz (that’s what jazz musicians do) and horror movie sounds.”

“Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde provided lots of scenes in bars and clubs for jazz and lots of terror for horror movie sounds,” says Woodard.

Dr. Woodward was very pleased with the outcome of the performance. “My favorite part was the really creepy parts of the film because it made the instrumentalists think about the sound that was coming from their instruments,” says Woodward. “Instead of just playing pitches and rhythms, they were playing screeches and scratches and other things that can’t even be written out on staff paper.”

When asked about their favorite parts of the performance, the students were just as enthusiastic about the performance as their instructor. “Just getting to uncontrollably hit instruments and do things I don’t really practice doing on a daily basis was pretty entertaining,” says percussionist AJ Chandler.

The Q Ensemble made their entire performance – the improvisation, the horror movie sounds, the scratches and screeches – look incredibly easy. However, every performance has its own challenges.

“The most challenging part was getting the instrumentalists to abandon playing a melody and instead getting them to play a horrible, wretched sound to depict Mr. Hyde terrorizing people,” explained Woodward.

“It’s pretty difficult to play your instrument poorly after you’ve learned to perform so well,” agrees bassist Nick Staff.

The Q Ensemble presented a truly unique and inspiring performance; the most impressive part being that they improvised in their minds what they felt was happening musically in each scene and manifested it in a way that made the film much more comprehensible to their audience.

Music helps us to understand a little bit more about ourselves and the world around us and the Q Ensemble has certainly brought a new taste of understanding to the city of Jacksonville.

Patrice Green
Staff writer