May 20, 2019
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Annual Jazz concert continues scary tradition

Jazz-O-Ween still popular Music department concert


Matt Weir / The Collegian

The department of music brought a little jazz to the beginning of the Halloween weekend with this year’s Jazz-O-Ween concert.

Jazz-O-Ween is an annual concert that showcases Fresno State’s Jazz Orchestra and Jazz Ensemble. The big difference between this show and other shows put on by the department is that at this show the performers wear costumes.

Performers at this year’s concert got into the Halloween spirit with costumes ranging from The Flash to Willy Wonka to an African tribesman. The costumes, however, didn’t stand in the way of the musicians’ ability to bring a little jazz to the Concert Hall.

This was the first concert of the year for the less experienced Jazz Ensemble, and their director, Dr. Alan Durst, thought they did a wonderful job along with the Jazz Orchestra.

“I think they did an outstanding job,” Durst said. “It was a very hard program and I think they definitely rose to the occasion.”

Durst, who was dressed as Captain Jack Sparrow, was pleased that both bands were able to meet the level of the tough show he lined up.

“We challenge them every single semester with a harder and harder program, and every time they come through,” he said. “We’re lucky to have such hard working students.”

The musicians agreed. William Melendez is a music major that plays alto saxophone in the Jazz Ensemble.

“I thought we did really well,” Melendez said. “I really look forward to this concert. It was the first concert of the semester, and I think it really shows that we’re going to do well and that the next concerts are going to be just as good.”

Durst told the audience that leading up to the show he was afraid he was going to have to cut two songs from the set list. However, the bands worked hard and were able to keep the songs in the show.

“It was a great show,” said Justin Copeland, a trumpet player in the Jazz Orchestra. “We rehearsed pretty hard and all the stuff we rehearsed came out in the performance.”

Durst and the bands put a lot of work into performing these shows, and it all begins over the summer with Durst picking the music.

“During the summer I go through what will be the different concerts and I pick out an underlying theme that will bring balance to the two bands,” Durst said. “Like for example, the Jazz Ensemble tonight played older school jazz from 50 years ago and [the Jazz Orchestra] played music from the last 20 to 30 years. So it was a progressive theme.

This year featured a six song set list for the Jazz Ensemble that featured popular songs like “How High the Moon” and “Teddy the Toad,” while the Jazz Orchestra played a seven song set with songs like “After You’ve Gone” and “Jumpy Blues.”

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