Ruth Lilly Performance Hall hosted the University of Indianapolis Jazz Ensemble on April 12 for students, family and community members. The ensemble was led by the Director of Jazz Studies Freddie Mendoza, who conducted the student performers and made announcements throughout the performance.
Mendoza mentioned at the start of the concert that anyone from the audience was welcome to dance on stage during the ensemble’s performance. A young girl from the audience accepted the offer and danced for almost the duration of the performance.
Songs played by the whole ensemble included “Almost Like Being in Love,” by Frederick Loewe and Alan Jay Lerner; “Bei Mir Bist Du Schön (Means That You’re Grand),” by Ella Fitzgerald; “Candy,” by Mack David, Alex Kramer and Joan Whitney; “In the Mood,” by Joe Garland; “All of Me,” by Count Basie; “Moon River,” by Johnny Mercer and Henry Mancini; “April in Paris,” by E.Y. Harburg and Vernon Duke; and “I Let A Song Go Out of My Heart” by Duke Ellington, Irving Mills, Henry Nemo and John Redmond.
There also were songs that included vocals from sophomore music education major Ivy Bott. They included “I’m Gonna Sit Right Down and Write Myself a Letter,” by Joe Young and Fred E. Ahlert; “Love Is Here To Stay,” by George and Ira Gershwin; “Chattanooga Choo Choo” by Glenn Miller, “How High the Moon,” by Nancy Hamilton and Morgan Lewis; “Girl Talk,” by Neal Hefti and Bobby Troup; “We’ll Be Together Again,” by Carl T. Fischer and Frankie Laine.
Senior biology major Jordyn Bever enjoyed dancing on stage during the ensemble’s performance.
“It was a blast [the jazz ensemble concert]. They [the performers] did a really great job,” Bever said. “Dancing was a lot of fun. It was not only fun to hear my peers play, but also get to dance and have fun along with the music.”
Bever had some advice for those wanting to attend one of the Jazz Ensemble concerts that involves dancing.
“I think everyone here had a great time; it’s just a really enjoyable event,” Bever said. “Come prepared to just relax, let loose and have fun. Don’t worry about being too perfect. It’s not about dancing perfectly, it’s about having fun and enjoying yourself.”
Freshman music performance major Greg Benham played trumpet for the concert and found that it was different than his previous jazz performances at UIndy.
“I think the biggest difference [between the jazz ensemble and other jazz events] was the fact that we had to rehearse a lot of different tunes,” Benham said. “Usually we have like eight, and we can dive really deep into them. But with the jazz dance, we prepared like 30 different tunes. And we were just trying to get them all to where they were performance ready. My favorite song of the night was probably ‘In the Mood.’ That’s just a personal song for me I’ve played almost every year since I was thirteen.”
The African Drum Ensembles will perform on Wednesday, April 27 at 7:30 p.m.