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Mississippi College Jazz Band Puts On Valentine’s Day Performance
The jazz band performed a set of nine songs, including a short teaser of the song “15 Minutes Late” with differing soloists.
In the midst of many on-campus events in February, students and faculty gathered to celebrate Valentine’s Day. Multiple student organizations planned events throughout the day to give students the chance to celebrate love. One of the events was the Mississippi College jazz band’s performance.
The jazz band performed a set of nine songs and a short teaser of the song “15 Minutes Late,” featuring different soloists throughout. There were segments between the songs to give background information on both the songs and student soloists. This also gave the director, Mr. Wayne Linenhan, an opportunity to introduce the members of the musical ensemble individually by instrumental sections, which included the saxophones, trumpets, trombones, and rhythm sections.
When asked about song selection, Linenhan said that the selection was a mix. “I got a lot of input from students themselves. Like ‘Tank,’ I haven’t heard of that before; a couple of students recommended that,” he disclosed. In terms of song order for the program, Linenhan said that he likes to start his students out with something that feels comfortable, but he mostly works around potential opening and closing songs, pacing, and style variations for the performance.
The band consists of 22 members from different classification levels and majors, including graduate students. Sophomore trumpet player Alexis Guthrie commented, “Since I’m a biology and chemistry major having music on the side, it’s an outlet to relieve stress.”
Mr. Linehan stated that there is no official audition process for the jazz band, but he is mostly interested in knowing his students’ skill level and playing style. “It [the audition] is not necessarily a requirement, but we do wanna know where they stand and what’s their strengths and weaknesses, those kinds of things,'' Linenhan explained. He said that an attitude he looks for in auditioning students is “willingness to work hard” while also discussing the importance of holding oneself accountable to meet the standard of the ensemble.
Jazz band meets and rehearses on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons from 4:15 to 5:30 pm. Mr. Linenhan said that a typical rehearsal day starts with students warming up their instruments with a warm-up tune followed by a music breakdown to polish each section's sound within songs. “I try to keep it at a balance of having fun and getting a lot of work done,” he stated.
Linenhan’s motivation behind directing the MC jazz band for the past 35 years is getting to work with his musicians. “They’re a great group of kids; they keep me energetic and on top of things. I love it! I love working with them,” he said.
As musicians, Linenhan wants to inspire his students to develop a higher standard of performance. As people, he wants his students to gain the ability to work well and form camaraderie within groups.
Senior percussionist J.T. McNamee expressed how he feels about the future of this jazz band season, saying, “As a group, we have definitely come a long way, but there is always room to be better and improve as an ensemble.”
“To me, it [music education] is everything. It’s life; it’s a great escape. There’s a lot of tension in the world, a lot of bad things that happen, and music is the great escape from all of that,” Mr. Linenhan stated.
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