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Ensemble searches for talent

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by Rima Thompson
Staff Writer

The Music Department held auditions for the Jazz Ensemble on Sept. 3 in Founders Hall. Jazz musicians, experienced or not, showed up.

The ensemble has been an intricate part of the University’s music department for over 20 years, and according to acting chair Scott Farthing, was originally established “to provide another performance group for students interested in performing instrumental jazz.”

Students without experience can participate within the jazz field, but the ability to play a musical instrument is required. The program hopes that students will be able to work on music improvisation, gain ensemble playing experience and the get the chance to transfer their work in private music lessons to a performance venue, Farthing said.

The group will feature Michael Bennett, a junior music major on drums; senior marketing major Angela Perry on piano; junior music major Kendall Smith on electric guitar; and freshman music major Orlando Vega on trumpet, Farthing said. The ensemble meets on Tuesday evenings.

Because of unforeseen circumstances, Gayle Serdan will not be the director of the ensemble as previously announced. A replacement has yet to be found, but the Music Department is in the process of finding someone to take Serdan’s place for at least the semester.

Farthing said he expects the 2002-2003 year to be one full of excitement and energy as new majors and minors are introduced. The department has had several changes, he said. The hiring of new teachers and expanding the music library and listening center with the acquisition of Founders Hall 16 are among them. Three new teachers on board are Jackie Petitto, who will join the piano staff; Paul Stein, enlisted as a violin instructor; and Carol Stephenson, an addition to the voice faculty. The current artist in residence, Timothy Durkovic, will coordinate piano students and work with Farthing to expand the recital series.

Currently, only one concert date for the jazz ensemble has been set, for Dec. 2. An upcoming project includes a November meeting with the Music and Theater departments in “Naughty Marietta,” a play by Victor Herbert. For more information, contact the Music Office at ext. 4917.

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