Whether you're pursuing a Bachelor of Music Performance (Jazz) degree or are looking to diversify your experience, we have full offering of five jazz ensembles, listed below. These are open to music majors, music minors, and students that are not registered for music at all.
Director: Dr. Neil Wetzel
The Moravian University BIG Band rehearses once a week in Foy Hall. It is a traditional sized big band with five saxophones, five trumpets, four trombones and a full rhythm section. The repertoire consists of standard big band swing (Basie and Ellington) and modern compositions as well (Mintzer and Tamaro).
The BIG Band has had the opportunity to play behind such jazz legends as alto saxophonist Bobby Watson (Jazz Messengers/solo artist), trombonist Al Gray (Basie), vocalist Milt Grayson (Ellington) and Clark Terry (Ellington and Tonight Show Orchestras). They have also performed at the Lehigh Valley Intercollegiate Jazz Festival and the Villanova Collegiate Jazz Festival.
In addition to their concert and festival schedule, the BIG Band also plays for dances on campus.
BIG Band News
This year, BIG Band is recording their first CD, featuring original compositions by students and faculty. The ensemble received its first invite to perform at the Berks Jazz Festival on Saturday April 2nd, and will have its first performance at the world famous jazz club, the Deer Head Inn in Delaware Water Gap, on Sunday May 1st.
Director: Tony Gairo
Jazz Combo I is a small jazz group with 4-7 members depending on the available instrumentation. The focus of the combo is threefold:
- To give the student the opportunity to stretch out and explore their own improvisational skills.
- Develop the skills and tools of communication (aural and visual) that is necessary in a group.
- To help the student expand their repertoire of jazz tunes.
The combo gives the student the ability to experiment and explore in a small band setting. They meet once a week and rehearse for scheduled concert performances.
Director: David Roth
Jazz Combo II - as its companion ensemble Jazz Combo I - is a small jazz group with 4-7 members depending on the available instrumentation. The focus of both of the combos is the same. But the combos offer students a chance to gain perspective from two different directors.
The combo gives students the opportunity to experiment and explore in a small band setting. Students meet once a week and rehearse for scheduled concert performances.
The Jazz/Rock Fusion Ensemble is a group dedicated to playing the music called fusion - jazz mixed with rock. The group might play tunes by Chick Corea, Al Jarreau, David Sanborn and Cannonball Aderley, just to name a few. The group is made up of 4-8 players depending on available instrumentation and current enrollment.
The fusion ensemble meets once a week and plays at concerts every semester.
Jazz Vocal Ensemble
Director: Najwa Parkins
The Vocal Jazz Ensemble is a group dedicated to singing and studying the art of creating lyrics and vocal improvisation. Included is the study of microphone use and stage movement. The ensemble rehearses once a week.