WLU Jazz impresses all

(Kha Vo -- Staff Photographer)

(Kha Vo — Staff Photographer)

Though Sundays are considered lazy days, audience members in the Maureen Forrester Recital Hall on Sunday November 17 found themselves energized with the upbeat jazz stylings of the Wilfrid Laurier University (WLU) Jazz Ensemble. This marked the Ensemble’s first concert for the 2013-2014 school year and was conducted by Ron Schirm. The Jazz Ensemble consists of 21 extremely talented musicians; their versatility and diligence made the concert phenomenal.

“We had about ten rehearsals,” Schirm noted as he explained the preparation that the performance required. Dressed in maroon and black, the ensemble was enthusiastic throughout the recital. In between songs, Schirm interacted with the audience to give brief summaries about the upcoming pieces as well as the names of members who would be playing solos.

The song-selection process for the concert was multifaceted. Schirm clarified, “We want to present a diverse program. We also want to give the students exposure to different music styles. I do look at strengths within the band to try to promote them in the selection of the songs as well.”

This was demonstrated as Schirm included what he referred to as a ‘Latin twist’ on a song titled “The Blues Walk.” The arrangement of the song was slightly modified to cater to the Ensemble, specifically the talented percussion instrumentalists who stunned the audience with their rhythmic and passionate performance. It is common for the Ensemble to tweak song arrangements to include solo opportunities for the musicians. This also made the performance incredibly unique.

While the crowd remained endlessly captivated by Schirm’s humour, he continued to impress everyone as he picked up his own trombone to contribute with expertly played solos. “I hadn’t played with them yet this term and they kept asking. Those were not rehearsed: we inserted the solos into the program,” he continued. “It’s good for the student’s as well because when they get out into the real world, a lot of times, there are changes on the fly like that.”

Schirm outlined his overall satisfaction with the concert and the musicians saying, “They played that performance better than any rehearsal. They came a long way. Everybody did their homework and was enthusiastic. I was absolutely thrilled with it.” The ensemble provided a flawless recital that was professional and enjoyable. Every inch of stage space, every talent and every sound was harnessed to produce an incredibly talented performance.

The musicians gave a spectacular show and according to the reaction of the audience, this was time very well spent.

The Jazz Ensemble will be performing again at the end of January and again in March 2014.  Performances are free for Laurier students with their OneCard.

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