The concert takes place at Fairfield Gonzaga Auditorium and celebrates two distinctive musical figures: jazz giant Thelonius Monk (1917-1982) on the 30th anniversary of his death, and the acclaimed hip hop producer and artist, J Dilla (1974-2006). The Fairfield University Gospel Choir will also perform.
“Both Monk and J Dilla represent innovative artists in Black music,” said Brian Torff, Jazz Ensemble Director and Fairfield University’s Director of Jazz and Popular Music. “Though they are in different genres, the writing of Monk and the sampling of J Dilla indicate the creative span of jazz and hip hop. I thought it would be interesting to put them on the same program, though this has probably never been done before.”
Fairfield University’s Jazz Ensemble consists of Chris Finelli and Kyle Tzanetis, trumpet; Brian Haswell (student leader), Michael Mauro, and Camile Gomes, sax; Jenna Taylor, flute; Alicia Bissonnette, trombone, and Arthur Ashman guest trombonist; Micheal Wray, piano; Jamie Debicella and Doug Caputo, guitar; Joey D’Alessio (student leader), bass; and Jon Rivers and Chuck DeFilippo, drums.
Jon Rivers, a film and music double major at Fairfield, has been a drummer for 12 years and has been with the ensemble since he was a freshman. “I joined the group because I had been in the jazz ensemble in high school and I wanted to continue performing in college. I have always appreciated the professionalism of the group and the leadership of Professor Torff. He always offers insight from his extensive experience as a professional musician not only to improve the sound of the jazz ensemble, but to inspire in all of us a love for the music we play through a comprehensive understanding of it.”
The Jazz Ensemble’s program for the evening includes the following works: “Waves/the Diff’rence,” composed by J Dilla and arranged by Brian Torff; “Workin’ On It,” composed by J Dilla and arranged by Brian Torff; “Straight No Chaser,” composed by Thelonius Monk and arranged by Joey D’ Alessio ’12; “No Worries,” composed by Robert Glasper and arranged by Alicia Bissonette ’12; “Well You Needn’t,” composed by Monk and arranged by Jamie Debicella ( Graduate Student – American Studies); “Rhythm A-Ning,” composed by Monk and arranged by Brian Torff; and “Round Midnight,” composed by Monk and arranged by Brian Torff.
Tickets are $5 at the door to the Gonzaga auditorium.
The Fairfield University Orchestra will perform its “Classical Meets Pops” Spring Concert on Friday, April 27, at 7:30 p.m. in the Gonzaga Auditorium.
The concert is free and open to the public and will feature Felix Mendelssohn’s Fingal’s Cave; Selections from The King and I by Rogers and Hammerstein; J.S. Bach’s Orchestral Suite in D Major, Mozart’s Two German Dances; Music from World of Warcraft and The Muppet Show; and original compositions by Andrew Robinson ’12.
Orchestra manager Valentina Stefanidis ’12 spoke about the camaraderie that exists among the orchestra members and their excitement about the spring concert. “Many of the people in orchestra are happy to have the opportunity to continue their passion of playing an instrument, regardless of what their majors may be. It is a great chance to get involved with a group on campus and meet others with similar interests.”
Stefanidis, who is from Norwalk, Conn., and is a music major and marketing minor noted that while the conductor, Jamie Ratcliffe, makes the musical selections, all members can make recommendations on what they would be interested in playing.
Ratcliffe received her Master’s degree in conducting from the University of Oregon. In addition to her part-time teaching at Fairfield University, Ratcliffe teaches private voice, piano, and guitar lessons. She also serves as music director for the Village Light Opera Group in New York City.
The music selection for this concert has something for everyone. There’s Rogers and Hammerstein for those who love musicals; Mendelssohn and Mozart for classical music fans, and new and fun selections from The Muppets and the popular movie and video game World of Warcraft. Finally, Andrew Robinson ’12, a student scholar, will debut his own musical creations with the help of the Orchestra. His pieces are titled, “Candle”, “Saline”, and “Little Cloud.”
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