Students who haven’t had the opportunity to immerse themselves in jazz music or
who need a break from end of-semester stress can see Xavier’s jazz ensemble perform right on campus when Xavier University hosts its annual free jazz festival April 25-27.
According to longtime ensemble director Dr. Tim Turner, the three-day event includes evening performances, guest musicians and workshops for students and the community. The university’s ensemble will perform Thursday, April 27, at 7 p.m. in the Blanche M. Francis Music Building. Their set will be a tribute to Frank Foster and feature Donald Brown. They perform at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival Presented by Shell on Saturday, April 29, at 12:20 p.m. on the Lagniappe Stage.
Dr. Turner said he keeps his students motivated by selecting quality music by quality composers, and he also makes sure his students have fun with the performances by featuring solos and special riffs. During rehearsals, he is strict and meticulous, expecting nothing but perfection. However, he often makes jokes to keep a lively atmosphere—and to keep the musicians on their toes. He hopes these and other public performances help to prepare the students for their professional careers in music, whether as a teacher, performer, or historian. He also hopes the students learn more about jazz music through this experience.
Students in the XU Jazz Ensemble volunteer to be part of the performances. Trumpet player Johnny Fisher says he and his colleagues strive to demonstrate the hard work they put into preparing for performances—and to show the community what Xavier has to offer. He practices when he completes his homework and studies, and even practices on the weekends with his bandmates. Sedrick Holmes, a trombonist, has been playing since middle school and hopes these and other XU performances will demonstrate his continuing improvement.
Other ensemble members include: Dr. Marcus Ballard – Alto Saxophone; Maddison Boyd – Alto Saxophone; Markell Allen – Tenor Saxophone; Pierre Hall – Tenor Saxophone; Zachery Gaston – Baritone Saxophone; Dr. O’Neal Douglas – Trombone; Sedric Holmes – Trombone; Monica Rocco – Trombone/ Euphonium; Kevin Borne -Bass Trombone/Tuba; Alijah Jett – Trumpet; Johnny Fisher – Trumpet; Shane Anderson– Trumpet; David Thomas – Trumpet; Caleb DeBose, – Acoustic
Piano; Wayne Matthews – Drums; Ronald Davis – Electric Bass; Ajene Johnson– Guitar
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