Jazz Band takes new route in rehearsal, annual concerts

Jazz+Band+will+be+doing+a+virtual+concert+sometime+in+November.

Photo by Joceline Helmbreck

Jazz Band will be doing a virtual concert sometime in November.

Every fall, the Marquette Jazz Band has its annual fall concert in the Union Sports Annex. However, this year that is not the case. 

Jazz Band will be doing a virtual concert sometime in November.

Emily Seidl, a junior in the College of Business Administration, has been in the jazz band since her first year at Marquette.  In previous years, she sang for the jazz band, specifically at the fall and spring concert of her first year. Seidl said that while they usually set up a little court in the back of the Annex, the concert will look much different this year.

“We usually practice in the Varsity Theatre and it would be like a big-band style of performance … it would be all the instruments, all the trumpets, saxophones and rhythm section,” Seidl said.

Bailey Lewis, a junior in the College of Nursing and a trombone player in the jazz band, said rehearsals are very different this year.

“They have split everyone signed up in jazz into smaller groups,” Lewis said. “We meet in the basement of Johnston Hall and you meet for 20 minutes with a 10 minute air exchange period where no one is rehearsing.”

This allowed for groups to have equal playing time while still allowing for less time in contact with other band members. There are about five to eight people within the group of instruments.

Lewis joined the jazz band in the spring semester of 2020. However, midway through that semester, classes went online and the band could not meet to play music. They had to find an alternative use for class time.

“We’d still meet once a week, but it turned into listening and learning the history of jazz,” Lewis said. “We got a little bit of a history lesson.”

The jazz band also takes numerous precautions to meet in person besides the 10 minute air exchange period.

“Obviously the rhythm section just wears normal masks but for me and for trumpets, we have a specialized mask that has a slit in it and you put your mouthpiece through and it covers it up,” Seidl said.

The rhythm section will consist of percussion, a type of bass and an instrument that focuses on chords such as a guitar or even piano.

Seidl, an alto saxophone player, said they have coverings for the holes of their instruments to prevent any air coming from the other parts of the instrument. The rehearsals are also socially distanced, and the groups of instruments are smaller.

Seidl said that with smaller groups, there are more styles of jazz bands, such as an all-saxophone group and a Dixieland group. Seidl explained that this is the kind of jazz that originated in New Orleans.

Michael Karris, a senior in the College of Engineering, is involved in two of the small groups. He is in the trombone group and the New Orleans style group.

Karris said he thinks there are around 40 people in jazz band this year and each group will most likely perform for the virtual concert.

“It looks like we’ll be putting on one concert this semester and it’s in November, probably before we go on Thanksgiving break,” Karris said. “I believe it will be virtual so someone’s going to be recording us, and each group will probably come on and perform.”

Karris said it is tough not being with everyone, especially in his senior year, but he enjoys exploring different jazz forms.

“While it sucks that we can’t all be together to play bigger and longer tunes, it’s really cool to explore different types of music and jazz that I haven’t experienced before,” Karris said.

This story was written by Ariana Madson. She can be reached at ariana.madson@marquette.edu.