Sacramento State’s intermediate and advanced jazz ensembles are ready to return to performing after spending a year and a half away from rehearsing due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to the intermediate jazz band’s director, Steve Roach, the intermediate ensemble will be performing six pieces while the advanced will be performing five.
The set list includes a mix of standard jazz tunes such as Charles Mingus’ “Moanin’” and some newer pieces such as Wycliffe Gordon’s “Somebody New.”
“It’s a very eclectic program of music that touches upon many different styles, tempos and moods,” Roach said
Tyler Miles, a graduate student in the music department and bassist in the intermediate ensemble, said that the limitations necessary during quarantine are no longer an issue.
“I’m really excited, especially since it’s been a year and a half of either no or very limited in-person stuff,” Miles said. “We have this full band that are equally as excited as they are totally uncomfortable because it’s been so long since they played in that style.”
Duncan McElman, a saxophone player and master’s student in jazz performance, is also in the intermediate ensemble. He said he is grateful to be back in person because he feels it makes experiencing the music better.
“I am a first semester master’s student, so I’ve never actually had to do much remotely,” McElman said via text. “I’m very thankful for the fact, since I can imagine it would totally rob the musicians and audience of much of what makes music so rewarding.”
According to Miles, the ensembles have very limited time together to prepare and only meet a couple times a week to rehearse.
“The rehearsals are technically confined within a class period,” Miles said. “There’s two bands, they both meet twice a week and we get about an hour and 15 [minutes] to an hour and 30 [minutes] of rehearsal twice a week.”
He said the first rehearsals are allotted for sight-reading and figuring out what they want to play, then from there Roach pieces together a “powerful” concert set.
According to Roach, there is no time outside of class to rehearse other than sectionals where members of each section get together to practice their parts.
“We only have a limited amount of time to get everything ready, so a lot of the work falls on the individuals,” McElman said. “When we come together, the primary purpose should be fine-tuning the music and getting the maximum emotional impact and musicality out of every single thing.”
Miles believes that the program provides a competitive atmosphere along with a taste of being a “traveling musician”.
“Especially on the national scale, especially before COVID, we would have both jazz bands [and] all vocal jazz groups touring around the state and even across the country to do performances and clinics with other schools,” Miles said. “It’s a lot of outside work to not only market Sac State, but to also give the students a real professional experience.”
The intermediate and advanced ensembles are set to perform a concert at Capistrano Hall on Thursday 7 p.m.