Orchestra plays memorable concert

Tom Smith, freshman secondary education major, performs during the Missouri Southern Jazz Orchestra concert on April 6.

Tom Smith, freshman secondary education major, performs during the Missouri Southern Jazz Orchestra concert on April 6.

Philip Martin

It was a concert to remember.

The Missouri Southern Jazz Orchestra performed on April 6 in Webster Hall auditorium to a near-capacity crowd. Joining the orchestra this semester was guest soloist Dr. Carl Knox from Central Connecticut State University on saxophone.

Knox and Dr. Phillip Wise, head of the music department and director of jazz studies, have known each other since the time they were in college together.

“When I went to William Penn, part of the reason I went was because Phil was down there,” Knox said. “He left the year I went. When he came back that’s when we became friends and began working together.”

Wise said there were many reasons why he chose Knox as the guest soloist for the concert. One reason is because, Wise said, he only chooses soloists he knows or who come highly recommended.

“I’m very guarded with the people I select,” Wise said. “I’ve known Carl for a long time and knew he would come in and do a great job working with the students.”

Wise said he likes to rotate the soloists. The last time Knox performed with the jazz orchestra was five years ago. Since then the band has performed with a vocalist, trumpeter, trombonist and a percussionist. Wise decided it was time to bring a saxophonist back.

Along with Knox the concert also featured two other guests with the band. Jenni White, a senior from Webb City High School, and Dr. Paul Carpenter, Wise’s and Knox’s former college band director, played on “My Old Flame.”

Wise said White was able to play with the band because the orchestra’s baritone saxophone player, Sean Wilson, senior elementary education major, had a partial class conflict with the Tuesday afternoon practices. Tom Smith, freshman secondary education major and trumpet player, told Wise his cousin was free in the afternoon on Tuesday and Thursday and if it would be all right for her to sit in with the band to fill out the section.

Wise agreed, and when it came down to selecting songs for the concert, “My Old Flame” called for two baritone saxophone parts, Wise asked White to perform with the band.

Wise said the concert was probably the best concert he has directed at the University. Audience members agreed.

“They’re always good,” said Patty Garrison, Carthage resident. “They always exceed my expectations.”

“I really liked it,” said Misty Bradley, sophomore international studies major. “I’ve never been to that many jazz concerts before.”

Wise said the way the orchestra played, the guest soloist and the selection of music made the concert one to remember.