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1200 S. Jay St.
Aberdeen, S.D. 57401
Phone: 605-626-2552
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Jazz ensembles to perform Thursday at NSU

​ABERDEEN, S.D. – Three Northern State University jazz ensembles will present a concert on the Johnson Fine Arts Center stage at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, March 6. 

“This is our one ‘free choice’ concert in the school year,” said Dr. Grant Manhart, director of NSU Jazz Ensemble I.

Manhart said that after fall student auditions, groups work up a tremendous amount of big band swing literature for the November swing dance at the Ward Hotel. Their focus then shifts to learning music for the South Dakota Jazz Festival in January.

Musicians have been preparing for the March jazz concert, during which NSU Jazz Ensemble I will play “Jazz Noir: A Tribute to the Free Jazz of Eric Dolphy and Anthony Braxton.” This unique piece is seldom covered in the modern jazz curriculum, Manhart said, adding that  it is risky to perform a piece that has a beginning, middle and end, with no printed music whatsoever – it is all improvisatory.

“I strongly feel that through jazz improvisation, a student grows and matures very quickly, due to the tremendous risk and creativity involved in making music up on the spot, in a performance,” Manhart said.

Saxophone professor Fred Hemke is directing a piece for Jazz Ensemble I. This piece was selected as a frame for Hemke’s world-class saxophone talents, and because it also has a “movie detective” flavor to it.

The third piece is a familiar big band, roadhouse-style blues, but with a twist: it was composed by famous odd-meter jazz trumpeter Don Ellis. Therefore, the rolling blues line has extra beats, which give a traditional jazz form a new feel.

“These three pieces, with the highly varied styles performed by the two other bands directed by Dr. Terry Beckler, should make for a very enjoyable jazz concert,” Manhart said.

Jazz I Personnel
Alto I – Steven Zimoski, music, Mobridge
Alto II – Derek VanDenTop, music education, Canton
Tenor I – Taylor Johnson, music education, Aberdeen
Tenor II – Katie Wegleitner, music education, Lake City
Baritone – Michelle Mennis, music education, Wahpeton, N.D.
Trumpet I – Nick Ries, music education, Watertown
Trumpet II – Paul Fellbaum, music education, Waubay
Trumpet III – Amanda Wentz, music, Bismarck, N.D.
Trumpet IV – Tabitha Reule, music education, Bismarck, N.D.
 Trombone I – Delayna LaBelle, music education, Spearfish
Trombone II – Justin Kones, NSU music alumni, Aberdeen
Trombone III / Tuba – Alan Birmeier, music education, Plankinton
Mallets – Luke Bergjord, music education, Aberdeen
Piano – Ami Umezawa, piano, Tokyo, Japan
Bass – Erin Wolter, music education, Frederick
Drums – Joel Schlottman, music education/business, Rapid City
Jazz II Personnel
Alto I – Carl Mathwig, music education, Waconia, Minn.
Alto II – Jamie Stadel, music education, Aberdeen
Tenor I – Molly Royals, music, Rapid City
Tenor II – Brooke Mathey, music education, Mitchell
Bari – Torriano Barrett, business, Bahamas
Trumpet I – Hillary Sward, music education, Dell Rapids
Trumpet II – Chenise Berens, music, Mitchell
Trumpet III – Calvin Cramer, music education, Camp Crook
Trumpet IV – Alec Nelson, music education, Jamestown, N.D.
Trombone I – Christina Renz, biology, Renner
Trombone II – Schuyler Boyd, music education, Yankton
Trombone III – John Gorr, music education, Rapid City
Piano – Jiye Song, Busan, Korea
Bass – Austin Fordham, music education, Groton
Drums – James “Cam” Abreu, music education, Rapid City
Jazz III Personnel
Alto I – Kayla Nuese, music education, Hendricks, Minn.
             Micaela Lindgren, medical lab science/biology, Watertown, Minn.
Alto II – Kim Schilling, psychology/special education, Aberdeen
Tenor I – Jacque Bratcher, music education, Lead
Bari – Harrison Homelvig, music education, Bowman, N.D.
           Alen Zeledon, music education, Watertown
Trumpet I – Tabitha Reule, music, Mobridge
Trumpet II – Paige Tooker, music education, Warner
Trumpet III – Addyson Diaz, marketing, Breckenridge, Minn.
Trumpet IV – Sam Johnson, music education, Mitchell
Trombone I – Kaitlynn Loos, English education, Rapid City
Trombone II – Cameron Jarvis, community member, Aberdeen
Trombone III – Myles Beckler, Central High School, Aberdeen
Bass – Taylor Johnson, music, Aberdeen
Drums – Carrie Pospishil, music education, Yankton