The new USAO Vocal Jazz Ensemble performs April 5 in the Alumni Chapel at 7:30 p.m. with a concert highlighting ragtime, swing and blues selections, as well as popular tunes. The spring concert is free and open to the public.

Vocal Jazz Ensemble Heats up USAO Stage April 5

Saturday, March 1, 2008

CHICKASHA -- This April, the University of Science and Arts is jazzing things up with a spring performance by its new Vocal Jazz Ensemble. The vocal group hits the stage April 5 at 7:30 p.m. in the USAO Alumni Chapel.

The concert is free and open to the public, and features jazzy arrangements of popular tunes throughout the evening.

" Selections for our Vocal Jazz Ensemble concert include songs from ragtime and blues to jazz, of course," said Ken Bohannon, associate professor of music and director of the student group.

Choral pieces include " It's Ragtime, Detour Ahead," " Never Never Land" from " Peter Pan," " In The Mood," " In My Life" by the Beatles, and several others.

Solo selections also are planned for the evening, including " Home" by Michael Buble, " You Raise Me Up," " Someone To Watch Over Me" and others.

More than a choral group alone, the ensemble features a rhythm combo with drums, bass and keyboard.

Bohannon said the Vocal Jazz Ensemble is designed to travel and represent USAO and the Chickasha community. Next spring, the ensemble is scheduled to tour Europe, with several performances along the way. Beginning this fall, the group will be available to the public for various occasions such as banquets and parties as fundraisers for the trip.

" One of the missions of this ensemble is to give the students an opportunity for touring and an experience abroad through performing," he said. " The tours that USAO faculty are offering to tour Europe are a great experience, but to do a tour in conjunction with some type of musical performance is an experience that the students will never forget."

Bohannon said each student will have to pay a portion of his or her own trip, but that he hopes to earn enough funds to cover at least half of the cost for the tour.

He said there is still room in the ensemble for additional singers, especially tenors.

Additional information about singing in the ensemble or hiring the ensemble for public or private performances is available from Ken Bohannon by phone at (405) 574-1293.

Members of the ensemble include Ardmore communication sophomore Schuyler Austin, Mustang early childhood development sophomore Ryan Romasz, Tulsa music junior Elizabeth Sellers, Hinton drama freshman Tana Ferguson, Okay music freshman Brittany Mealer, Comanche music sophomore Scott Pitts, Rush Springs psychology freshman Blake Trammell, Fletcher psychology freshman Chance Wilson, Comanche music freshman Matthew Pitts, Duncan music freshman Logan Rogers, Chickasha political science sophomore Paul Spradlin, Covington music sophomore Kristy Stewart, Headlton music freshman Mac Stephenson and Andrea Jones, a junior from Pleasant Hills, Ohio.

USAO graduate Rhenada Finch (2006) accompanies on piano and keyboard.