Summer Trip to Texas and Louisiana Underway for USAO Vocal Jazz Ensemble
It may not be as big as Britney's Spears "Circus" tour, but the Vocal Jazz Ensemble at the University of Science and Arts is mapping out its own mini tour of Texas and Louisiana. The trip started April 20.
The group is planning performances in Tyler, Texas and New Orleans and are scheduled to end up at the New Orleans Jazz Festival April 25.
“The students have worked hard for this trip to New Orleans and are looking forward to singing at several places along the way,” said Dr. Ken Bohannon, associate professor of music and director of the group. "A big thank you goes out to everyone who helped to make this trip possible.
"The ensemble will perform for junior colleges, community colleges, schools, churches and end up at the birthplace of jazz -- New Orleans. April is Jazz Appreciation Month. What better way for a jazz ensemble to celebrate than a trip to New Orleans?"
The group departed Chickasha early on April 20. The first performance was scheduled that evening in Tyler, Texas at Tyler Junior College.
From there the group travels to the New Orleans Jazz National Historic Park to perform as part of the park's Jazz Appreciation Month Celebration. The celebration is a series of concerts, ranger programs and the International Music Colloquium. Jazz Appreciation Month, or JAM, was created in 2001 by the Smithsonian Museum as an annual way to pay tribute to jazz, both as an historic and living American art form.
The Vocal Jazz Ensemble is scheduled to perform April 23 at noon. They are the only group from Oklahoma in the celebration. The group is scheduled to perform at the Neutral Ground Coffee House on April 23 at 10 p.m.
The Neutral Ground is the longest survivor of the coffee house trade south of New York. They host more than 100 musical acts each month.
The group is scheduled to perform April 24 at Trinity Episcopal Church in New Orleans. Located in the heart of New Orleans, this historic church is home to a vital, active, and growing congregation. The church marks the end of the performance schedule as the group is scheduled to attend the New Orleans Jazz Festival April 25.
The ensemble is scheduled to perform jazz standards that include "The Autumn Leaves," "In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning," "Don’t Know Why," "A Day in the Life of a Fool," "Gravy Waltz," "It’s Ragtime," "In My Life," "My Favorite Things," "Swing Dancing," "It Never Entered My Mind," "I Got Rhythm," "Is You Is or Is You Ain’t My Baby," and "Chili Con Carne."
The Vocal Jazz Ensemble specializes in the performance of SATB vocal jazz and is accompanied by a standard rhythm section (keyboard, bass, drums). The ensemble performs regularly for banquets, civic clubs, schools and community service organizations. The mission of the ensemble is to promote the university and at the same time provide college students with valuable performance experience.
Although Bohannon’s area of specialization is solo voice, he has become more and more interested in the singing of jazz -- especially in a choral setting. Bohannon has a doctor of music in performance and a minor in choral conducting from Indiana University. He has attended workshops with jazz arrangers/conductors Paris Rutherford and Steve Zegree.