Sacramento State vocal jazz group rocks the house


vocal jazz 2:Gaw Vang, senior jazz studies major, performs “You Find You” during the Sac State Vocal Jazz Ensembles concert in Capistrano Hall. Vang composed the song.:Nallelie Vega – State Hornet

Miriam Arghandiwal

Jazz program director Kerry Marsh, and jazz voice instructor, Julia Dollison joined the Sacramento State vocal jazz ensembles Tuesday night for a stimulating two-hour show at Sac State’s music recital hall.

The stage held a white backdrop and was set up with a piano, a bass and a set of drums.

The show started off with Sac State’s Jazz Singers; the ensemble walked on stage dressed in various shades of blue and black.

Six female singers and three male took the stage as they began with their first song “Episode Prelude.”

With the start of their set, it was clear the singers had mastered their craft.

They began their a cappella performance by standing and singing with calm and enthusiastic smiles. Not a shred of apprehension was visible from the nine performers.

The second song the group performed, entitled “His Eye is On the Sparrow,” was led by the strong vocals of Gaw Vang.

Vang executed the song beautifully as she sang with closed eyes. Her powerful voice and passion behind her voice gave the performance a life of its own.

The group revealed a great amount discipline and practice, as the ensemble sang complex songs that required them to sing various tunes simultaneously.

Their performance may have been a cappella, but it escaped me because the singers never missed a beat.

The ensemble’s last performance, and the most memorable performance of the night, was a remake of the television series, “Battlestar Galactica’s” theme song, “All Along the Watchtower.”

The song brought to life the theme song, by the ensemble with help from a few members of the next performing ensemble, “C-Sus.”

The ensemble provided a beat by claps and stomps, as the Jazz Singers continued to carry out the vocals Brekke had written.

Alicyn Yaffee took the lead with the ensemble’s second song, “Don’t Be On the Outside.” While Vang’s voice had been powerful in more of a gospel sense, Yaffee’s voice reminded me of a more classical jazz voice, the kind I’d hear in a black-and-white movie.

The lyrics of the song required classical vocals like that of Yaffee to help set the mood.

The pair announced the debut of their new CD “Vertical Voices: The Music of Maria Schneider,” and proceeded to perform various numbers that were composed by Grammy-award winner Maria Schneider. The songs they performed were lengthy but well sung.

Some of Schneider’s songs became a bit much for me at the end, but the show picked back up when Marsh and Dollison made an announcement.

The pair, who had recently made it known that they would soon be leaving Sac State, announced they would be staying.

“As you all know we’ve suffered budget cuts here at CSUS. We were planning to leave but the thought of this being our last faculty jazz recital was devastating and the thought of not having a vocal jazz program was even more heartbreaking, so we’ve decided to stay. If there’s one student we can save from getting cut, then it’s worth it for us to stay,” Dollison said.After a final number, the show ended as the crowd stood up applauding the night’s performances with a standing ovation.Romania Hopson, who was sitting among the audience, said the show was enjoyable.

“I loved it, the first ensemble was amazing, I have so many favorites from tonight,” Hopson said.

Brekke rejoiced over Marsh and Dollison’s announcement after the show.

“It’s exciting, especially for those who haven’t graduated, it gives them an opportunity because otherwise they would have been hanging dry,” Brekke said.

The night ended with an uplifting note as the musicians gathered outside the hall to rejoice with their families.

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