Express Jazz Band kicks off season at home

By Alex Crozier

The Hawk Express Jazz Band’s fall concert will be played on November 3rd in the Connie Niemann Center for Music. The band has been working on a setlist of songs since the beginning of the semester and will be performing them in public for the first time.

The setlist is from a variety of music styles and periods and keeps things interesting. Christine Damm is the assistant professor of music and director of the Jazz Band Ensemble.

Bassist Austin Kohlhepp warms up before practice.

“I always like to pick songs, so each concert has a huge variety. So that if you are in the audience there will be something that you definitely like,” Damm said. “I try to pick an old classic, something that’s new, I always pick a funk tune, I always pick a slow ballad, and then I also try to feature talented students.”

One song highlighting vocal talent is the song “Cheek to Cheek,” made famous by Frank Sinatra, which will be performed by guitarist Sam Dust. The funk tune for this performance is the energetic “Critical Mass” by Jeff Jarvis. The band’s version features three solos.

“I also like to keep in mind the strengths of the band. Right now we have an awesome trumpet section so I’m picking tunes that showcase their range,” Damm said. “I’m excited this year, we have five trumpets, so we have a full trumpet section. This is the first time in my five years that we have had a full trumpet section. That has definitely changed this year.”

That section can be heard on every song in the concert, and especially on the solo feature song “Your Time Will Come” lead by Madison Brueck on trumpet.

“I have two piano players that are really talented too, so I like to showcase them as well,” Damm said.

“I think the setlist this year is pretty phenomenal. I’m really excited about ‘Critical Mass’, it gets everyone jumping around and really happy. I think the setlist has a really good variety,” Laura Mackrides, pianist, said.

The view of members early to practice from the drum set.

One of the biggest difficulties of any collegiate group is turnover. Every member will eventually move on and new talent will need to be brought up to speed. But this cycle is not keeping the band down according to Mackrides.

“Every year we get a little more cohesive as a band, we lose people but the general ability of us to work together for harder and harder songs is getting better and better. I feel like this year we have harder stuff than last year and it’s going to keep getting harder,” Mackrides said.

Damm says this concert is a great introduction into what the QU music program has to offer.

“You’re missing out on an amazing concert. If you have not gone to any of the QU Music Department concerts this would be a great concert to go to because the music is fun, it is energetic, the band has a great time performing,” Damm said.

The show is set to begin at 3 p.m. and is free to the public.

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