Three Nights of Nothin’ But Jazz at Studley

Three nights of jazz? Count me in.

SUNY New Paltz jazz ensemble students showed their chops in a three-day concert series in Julien J. Studley Theatre Monday-Wednesday, Nov. 27-29. 

“These are student performances that are done as part of their grade, as they are enrolled in their respective ensemble performance classes,” said music department secretary Lee Degnan. “These concerts are a representation of their coursework which focuses on producing and refining their performance on-stage.”

Soulful sounds filled the auditorium as family and friends enjoyed the vocal jazz ensemble concert on Tuesday. Two ensembles performed, Not From Concrete and 220, and brought new life to songs such as “In a Sentimental Mood” by Duke Ellington and “Four” by Miles Davis.

“We meet twice a week and we pick our own repertoire and get to arrange it ourselves,” said fourth-year music major and 220 vocalist Emily Malings. “Whoever wants to solo on the song can take a solo. Jazz is great because you can take a lot of turns with it! I was really excited about the performance last night and getting to show everyone what we’ve been working on all semester.”

Not From Concrete performed first and consisted of Emily Passik, Carly Walsh, and Dia Delgado (vocals), Matt Krane (piano), Joe Adamczyk (bass) and Ben Paretti (drums). 220, which had several members in jazz ensemble for the first time, consisted of James Etienne, Emily Malings and Tameka Ramos (vocals), Kristian Tampasis (clarinet), Kyle Ossont (piano), Brittany Earl (bass) and James Ebel (drums). 

The concert, directed by Teri Roiger, was dedicated to the late jazz legend Jon Hendricks. Pieces in both ensembles showcased some of his poetic lyrics.

“Jon Hendricks, legendary jazz singer and lyricist, passed away last weekend at the age of 96,” Roiger said. “The fact that each group worked on two songs with his lyrics all semester, and then performed them last night, was very special.”

The other nights of jazz performances had a similar smooth style. Monday’s concert was Jazz Ensemble I and Guitar Ensemble directed by Rich Syracuse and Steve Raleigh respectively, and Wednesday’s concert was Jazz Ensemble III directed by Jeff Siegel. 

“Once I get on stage and start to sing I feel a sense of confidence and happiness” music major and Not from Concrete vocalist Delgado said. “Especially when I am singing with an ensemble. We all collectively feel a sense of love for performing that radiates within all of us.”

The two ensembles were perfectly synced and achieved an excellent unity throughout the night. With the instrumentalists brilliant improvisation and the incredible notes and scatting from the vocalists, the two ensembles truly hit the mark. 

“I thought last night went really well and I was proud of all my students!” Roiger said. “We all learned a lot this semester, and I was pleased with how everything came out. Everyone advanced a lot during the semester, and it was gratifying and fun for everyone, including me!”