Student group to perform in jazz festival

Photo by Maria Porter

Clowes Memorial Hall will overflow with skeetin’ and scattin’ and a hint of doodley dattin’ Saturday night as part of the 11th Annual Butler Vocal Jazz Fest.

Butler University’s student vocal jazz group, Jordan Jazz, is busy preparing for the more than 150 high school students coming to Butler on Friday to participate.

“It’s an extravaganza,” said Katherine Doty, a sophomore music education major and president of the group. “It’s a vocal jazz retreat on steroids.”

In all, 11 high schools will attend. The students will rehearse for two days, spend the night in a hotel on Friday and perform in an evening gala concert on Saturday.

Doty said the Vocal Jazz Fest provides a great opportunity to show off Butler and promote jazz education.

“Jazz gives you the freedom to express yourself in a different way than in any other genre of music,” Doty said.

Doty said the group wants to go beyond promoting vocal jazz at Butler and encourage the formation of deep bonds between people that can only be developed when creating expressive music together.

Trevor Fanning, a graduate student seeking his master’s degree in choral conducting, also is singing with Jordan Jazz.

“It’s an important opportunity to see the process of music come together, to see how rhythm and different harmonic structures shape the piece to create an ever-moving phenomenon— something that’s different every time you perform,” Fanning said.

The festival features three special guests: Naturally 7, composer and arranger Greg Jasperse and the Smiley Glee Club from the “Smiley Morning Show” on WZPL 99.5.

First appearing at Butler in 2007, Naturally 7 will work with Jordan Jazz on Thursday evening from 6 to 7:30 p.m. and work-shop with the high school students.

Their rehearsal with the student jazz group is open to the public and will be held in Clowes, like their Friday night concert.

Jasperse will also lend his talents to the high school groups and Jordan Jazz.

Doty said Jasperse arranged and composed many of the pieces that Jordan Jazz will perform this year.

“He’s a big name,” Doty said. “Working with him will help get our own name out there.”

Admission is free and the Saturday night show begins at 8 p.m.

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