Jazz Band Performs At Spring Jazz Concert

By Rodney Hill
Staff Writer

tv_Around Campus 10dbThe University of Arkansas-Monticello’s Jazz Band dazzled a large audience at its annual Spring Jazz Concert March 5 at the Fine Arts Center.

   The first of three different jazz bands opened up the concert with Instructor of Music, John Webb conducting. The first piece played, “First Time Around,” set the tone for the rest of the performance and captured the attention of the audience. The band finished off with two other pieces, “Embraceable You” and “Splanky. After a short intermission, Jazz Band 2 took the stage led by Instructor C.E. Askew. They performed songs such as: “Doxy, “Pure Imagination, “Summertime,” “Bein’ Green” and “Blue Bossa” with different solos mixed in. Following a strong round of applause and another short intermission, Jazz Band 1 would take center stage. Led by Gary Meggs, assistant professor of Music, the band performed many difficult pieces like “Pullin Punches”, “Cherry Juice”, “Someone to Watch Over Me”,”Shot Gun Blues” and “Sweet Home Chicago”. Different seniors received honors during the pieces as well, showing off their talents with different solos throughout the course of their performance.

   A standing ovation filled the air at the conclusion of the concert. Beverly Lobitz, assistant professor of Music at UAM, called the performance “Superb.” The performance evident of a “10-year project,” Meggs said. The show delighted many student and faculty members of UAM along with other people in attendance.

   UAM started building back up its jazz program in 2003 and now features one of the top programs in all the count. Never would a person think that in a rural place like Monticello that one of the top programs would rise out of the dirt and benefit not just jazz program but all UAM. “It’s bringing people from all over the country here,” Meggs said “performance-wise jazz band is probably top ambassador for school.”

   The Jazz program since produced many successful musicians of both present and past. It also established work ethic and responsibility that will stick whether they play music professionally or not. However, like any other successful program, they stress there still some improvements to be made and almost where they want to be as a group. One of the nations top programs since adopted an old phrase as said by Meggs, “Failure is not an option.”

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