The VCU Jazz Orchestra I performed their spring concert at the Singleton Center on Tuesday, after having to reschedule because of inclement weather last week.
The student orchestra performed eight pieces, including a student composition, “Nicole’s Melody” by Jon Nielsen, which was dedicated to his wife. Nielsen said he had originally planned on premiering the piece at his senior recital in May, which coincidentally falls on her birthday.
“She knows I wrote it, but she doesn’t know it’s named after her,” Nielsen told The CT before the concert. “I think she’ll be surprised.”
Antonio Garcia, the director of the jazz orchestra, said he was excited to include the piece in the concert because he likes to get as many different styles incorporated as possible.
“It keeps the audience interested, but it exposes our jazz students to a lot of styles as well,” Garcia said. “Swing, Latin, blues and ballads are some standpoints that create an enjoyable concert for the audience.”
The concert included works by Duke Ellington, an piece arranged by Garcia himself and a song from the movie “The Mambo Kings.”
Garcia said that the early semester concert definitely affected the seventeen-person orchestra and is one of the most difficult aspects of putting together the concert. The first rehearsal for the concert was Jan. 14 and there were two rehearsals a week for two hours.
“The professional music world typically demands high quality with little rehearsal time; so I like to ‘simulate game conditions,'” Garcia said. “In fact, we even sight read a tune on some concerts. If a student wants to be a pro, now’s the time to start–not after graduation.”
The concert also included guest artist-in-residence Jon D’Earth on the trumpet, and CDs featuring live recordings of the jazz orchestra were sold after the concert.