The Minnesota Conservatory for the Arts (MCA) is home to three jazz combos: the Duke, Dizzy and Miles Combos. These combos, comprised of students ages 11-17, will be bringing the sweet sounds of jazz music to life in two free performances.
The public is invited to hear these talented young musicians at Figliulo Recital Hall, in the Saint Mary’s University Performance Center, at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 4, and at the Acoustic Café, 77 Lafayette St., at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 2.
The jazz combo program, which began in September 2012 under the direction of Dave Gudmastad, has grown quickly. Each jazz combo rehearses for one hour each week beginning in September and continuing through March. The combos help students learn the art of jazz in a small ensemble setting. The rehearsal sessions provide basic instruction in jazz-related rhythm, tone, style, concept, listening skills, and improvisation. Performances throughout the community provide performance experience to the musicians and free entertainment open to the public. A new session starts in January for young musicians interested in joining a combo.
A list of the combo members follows. The Duke Combo: Carter Briggs, Aiden Carlson, Ceili DeMarais, Katelyn Dennis, Alison French, Viva Graff, Ben Johnson, Emma Lee, Marissa Lindaman, Nicholas Walechka, Sam Wantock, and Will Wisniewski. Dizzy Combo: Andrew Behling, Max Derbyshire, Garet Grant, Armon Parsi, Zach Schmit, Reyna Seelhoff, Stephen Shaw, Courtney Vaughn, Austin Weatherhead, and Sam Young. Miles Combo: David French, Jacob French, Noah French, Nathan Hagerott, Brandon Lamberson, Ryan Ortega, Gabriel Tullis, Alex Walechka, Conner Walechka, Joe Wantock, and Timothy Welch.
MCA Music Division programs are made possible by the Slaggie Family Foundation, the Hiawatha Education Foundation, and by the voters of Minnesota through a Minnesota State Arts Board Operating Support grant, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund. The Minnesota Conservatory for the Arts is an affiliate program of Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota.