Trio of jazz combos take stage, impress students

Dr. Phillip Wise, director of jazz studies, performs a trombone solo during the April 4 jazz combos concert in Webster Hall auditorium.

Dr. Phillip Wise, director of jazz studies, performs a trombone solo during the April 4 jazz combos concert in Webster Hall auditorium.

Nate Billings

Old songs with contemporary feelings were the focus of the April 4 Jazz Concert in Webster Hall auditorium.

Dr. Phillip Wise, director of jazz studies, lead the night off saying it was the students’ show.

Three combos took the stage to showcase their semester of practice.

“I thought tonight was wonderful,” Wise said. “When I think back to the beginning of the year and where they were then and where they are now, it’s wonderful.”

The combos are named after the days they practice – Monday, Wednesday and Thursday. Each combo would introduce itself, the songs it would play and talk to the audience during the time it took to set up the equipment.

An audience of 100 took its seats during the night to hear the hour-and-a-half long concert.

“I really liked it,” said Tim Cote, junior music and worship major at Ozark Christian College. “It shows the diversity of Missouri Southern and it shows the professional quality of Missouri Southern as well.”

The bands practiced from the beginning of the semester to accumulate their talent.

Wise said the band members learn melody lines to the songs first and once that is down, they practice giving and taking from each other as a group, lending to improvisation on stage.

“It’s like the final for the class,” he said.

Some audience members took notice of the improvisation of the drummers.

“I thought it rocked,” said Brenda Embry, sophomore music major. “Seth definitely stood out tonight.”

Seth White, sophomore percussion major, plays in the Thursday Combo.

“It’s always fun when you get to express yourself on stage,” White said. “It’s all about having fun with the music your playing. If you don’t have fun, then it’s not worth it.”

Damon Graue, senior music major, also took the drummer’s seat during the night with the Wednesday Combo.

“I’m exhausted, both physically and emotionally,” he said. “People don’t realize the amount of emotion that goes into music, especially jazz.”

Wise said the students did a good job at creating a playful atmosphere on the stage. He said they have learned their parts well.

“That’s part of the interplay between musicians,” he said. “That creates a lot of spontaneity.”

There will be a full Jazz Orchestra concert at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday in Webster Hall auditorium.

The audience members encouraged people to attend.

“It keeps getting more and more hyped up every time people keep coming out,” Embry said. “It’s great and I hope Southern keeps doing this.”

Wise said the concerts should be a part of every college student’s experience at Southern.

“I would just encourage people who haven’t heard them to come out and listen,” he said. “They need to experience that.”

Graue agreed.

“I think it’s an excellent opportunity for the campus community and the Joplin community to get a taste of an American art form that does not get the true recognition it deserves in this area,” he said.