Last Friday, March 3rd, the Kalamazoo College Jazz Band performed in Dalton Theater. The concert was conducted by professor Tom Evans and was titled “We’re Outta Here”.
The music took audiences on an imaginary trip: flew from Kalamazoo (“Road Trip” by Howard Rowe), spent a layover in Spain (“Spain” by Chick Corea), encountered an oasis (“At the Oasis” by Andy Farber), arrived in Africa (“Africa” by David Paich & Jexx Porcaro) then drove back to Kalamazoo in a fast car (“Baby Drives a Fast Car” by Paul Clark).
The band this time consisted of both K students like Matthew Peters K’18 (trumpet), Chris Coburn K’19 (guitar), Colin Waller K’19 (tenor sax), Ashley VerBeek K’20 (alto sax) as well as students from Western Michigan University like Sami Blosser (alto sax), Vincente Hernandez (trombone) and Alex Snyder (drums).
The quarterly concert was threatened, and almost canceled when they lost their drummer. An hour before the show Snyder came to save the day. The show went on as planned with Snyder sight-reading the music with just an hour of practice with the band.
The opening number “Blues from Around the Corner” by Rich Woolworth stirred up the whole atmosphere. For the fourth number “Spain”, Evans made the whole audience clap at the hook.
The highlight performance was definitely “What A Wonderful World” sung by vocalist Thania Stavropoulos K’17. During the final number “Bay Drives a Fast Car”, students started running close to the stage and dance with glee. With a powerful standing ovation at the end, Evans returned to stage and conducted the band to play one last time as a thank-you.
Evans took up the role not only as the conductor but narrator and entertainer throughout the concert. He took the time in between numbers to interact with audiences, captivating them with his stories about travel and jazz. He also gave warm-hearted shout-outs to each member of the band every once in a while. Being a professional performer, Evans charmed every audience member with his remarkable talent, effortless wit and passionate movements on stage.
The concert was a delight of the evening with large rounds of applause continually, especially after every solo performance. “I think it went extremely well”, said Ashley VerBeek K’20, who played alto saxophone in the jazz band. “People in the jazz band are just crazy. It’s fun seeing them rock their solos, especially Colin and Sami from Western. It’s just good vibes all around.”