Even with rehearsal sessions canceled due to snow, the end-of-term concert for the Mt. Hood Symphonic Band and Jazz Ensemble is shaping up to be an especially entertaining evening on Wednesday, March 7.
Adding to the fun for the student musicians and audience is a guest appearance by the University of Oregon’s JazzArts combo, and trumpet/flugelhorn soloist Paul Mazzio will join the Jazz Ensemble.
MHCC Jazz Band director Dan Davey said that the current term had been going smoothly, until the recent snow.
“We lost a lot of rehearsal time last week, but we had rehearsal (on Monday) and not too much momentum was affected, so it’s been going well,” he said.
There was still uncertainty whether the group will perform four, or five, pieces of music due to the practice demands of some tougher songs and the lost rehearsal time.
“If one of these isn’t feeling good for us then we probably won’t do it this time. We’ll do it next term or something,” Davey said, while praising the practice time students have logged on their own.
Davey said one of the tunes he’s most looking forward to is “Always and Forever,” made popular by Pat Metheny, with the arrangement written by Bob Curnow.
“It’s a flugelhorn feature, which is that mellow-sounding trumpet, and we’re going to feature Paul Mazzio on that,” Davey explained. “This piece is just absolutely gorgeous. It’s a ballad, and it’s really well-written. That’s maybe the one that tears the heartstrings.”
Bringing in outside musicians has been a high priority for Davey since he came to Mt. Hood three years ago. On the day of the concert, students will get to do a master class with the University of Oregon’s JazzArts combo, as well as another with Mazzio.
“The students are getting some exposure to that next level, the professional field, and getting some input and guidance from (the musicians) too,” Davey said.
Opening Wednesday’s show is Mt. Hood’s Symphonic Band, which has already been busy this term. The group played with the Oregon Symphonic Band last month, but this will be the students’ first chance to publicly play all of the songs they’ve been working on this term.
Danielle Davey, the Symphonic Band director (and wife of Dan) said, “We’re playing four different selections from very different time periods, because I like to kind of mix it up.”
The first is a Sousa march called “El Capitan,” something to keep an eye out for because Mt. Hood student Michael Tran will be conducting it.
“He has been rehearsing this music from the very beginning, so he’s been working with the band,” said Danielle Davey. “He and I have (been) conducting meetings once a week and teaching meetings, and we go over how rehearsals went, or what to do differently.”
She said the overall quality of musicianship from band students has grown a lot since Fall Term. She and Dan Davey attempt each term to build on the level of difficulty in the music to help their musicians continue to grow, and be able to perform these more challenging pieces of music, they said.
Her favorite piece among those the Symphonic Band will perform Wednesday is “Hounds of Spring.”
“It’s a standard in the wind band repertoire, so it’s really well known and it’s beautiful and it’s challenging,” she said. “It’s like a 9-minute song, so it takes a lot of energy and focus.”
If you’d like to hear these groups for yourself and support Saints music students, and other local musicians, the Symphonic Band, University of Oregon’s JazzArts combo, and the jazz ensemble featuring Paul Mazzio will perform for free at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday in the MHCC College Theatre.
At the same time and place the following night, Thursday, March 8, the MHCC orchestra and choirs will present their concert.