Published: September 25, 2015
The University’s performance choir and jazz band wowed an audience filled with parents and friends of performers Saturday in a special family weekend concert with special guest performers Wycliffe Gordon and Loren Schoenberg.
The concert began with a group of songs performed by the performance choir. The singers’ precise harmonies and dynamic variations were accentuated by the stunning acoustics of the performance hall of the Houlihan-McLean Center and supported by the piano mastery of seasoned accompanist Ron Stabinsky.
In addition to more classical selections, the choir performed a powerful rendition of Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody,” one of the standout pieces of the evening.
The Performance Choir’s performance was followed by a diverse and lively selection of music performed by the jazz band. Their performance featured world-renowned trombonist Wycliffe Gordon, who demonstrated his incomparable talent on the trumpet, trombone and soprano trombone throughout the set, and the critically acclaimed performer Loren Schoenberg on the tenor saxophone.
Both artists improvised solos throughout the performance, but a truly unique moment was a duet featuring Gordon and his student, junior, Matthew Owens.
For the final group of songs, the performance choir returned to the stage and performed combined pieces with the jazz band.
These included Gordon’s original piece, “Hello Pops: A Tribute to Louis Armstrong,” and a phenomenal tribute to the armed services featuring the official songs of each branch of the United States military.
The performers received a standing ovation from the audience at the end of the evening.
The high levels of energy and excitement throughout the entire evening would not have been possible without the passionate and charismatic conducting of performance music Director Cheryl Boga, who danced, bantered with the audience, soloed on saxophone with the jazz band and even sang with a select group of the choir’s men for an impressive and humorous rendition of “Goodbye, My Coney Island Baby.”
Her joy and enthusiasm were truly infectious.
Gordon is an award-winning musical ambassador and jazz performer. He tours worldwide, garnering critical acclaim and headlining at jazz and performing arts festivals.
He has over 20 solo releases and a plethora of contributions to other artists’ works. He is also a gifted conductor, composer, arranger and music educator.
Schoenberg is the founding director and senior scholar at The National Jazz Museum in Harlem. A renowned bandleader, historian and educator, he has a vast knowledge of the history of jazz music. He has taught at prestigious music schools including The Juilliard School and the Manhattan School of Music.