Jazz students improvise during performance

GVL / Kaitlyn Bowman
GVSU Jazz Orchestra

Kaitlyn Bowman

GVL / Kaitlyn Bowman GVSU Jazz Orchestra

Shelby Pendowski

The Grand Valley State University Jazz Combo and Jazz Orchestra played, sang and danced their way through their Oct. 16 concert in the Louis Armstrong Theater.

The Jazz Combo, comprised of Cam Miller on alto saxophone, Dutcher Snedeker on piano, Lill on bass, Joshua Dreyer on drums, and William Scanlon on tenor saxophone, started the performance with “Finale Blues,” written by electric bass member Kaja Lill.

“I am happy by the turn out of people, even though many were here for classes, it is good that people took time to come,” Dreyer said.

The Jazz Combo also performed “Spain,” which allowed for each member to have a solo. Lill interacted with his band mates during his bass performance and sang with the beat to himself.

Dreyer and Scanlon performed with the Jazz Combo and the orchestra, which was conducted by Tim Froncek, a GVSU jazz professor.

Froncek conducted the group on stage, and helped out by playing several instruments, such as the drums and the vibe. But he didn’t limit himself to only conducting and playing – he was interactive with the audience and comical with dance moves.

Throughout the concert, he told stories of different performers while in classes and introduced every soloist, including Scanlon, Dreyer, Julia Gjebic, Janet Christensten, Willis Dotson, Tyler Keur, Richie Arndorfer, Garrett Riley, Ryan Birko and Eric Saksa.

Froncek thought the show went great, but would like to include more solos next time to give students more opportunities to practice performing.

“I have been playing the saxophone for years,” Saksa said. “You have to prepare for always, not just one performance.” The orchestra performed five rehearsed songs and one improvisation number, which stole the audience’s attention.

The improvisation was by freshman Riley, or as he was referred to onstage, “Big Daddy G.” He played the drums and vibe during the performance. It started with Froncek on piano and Dreyer on drums, then Riley wowed the audience with his creative beat.

“The performance was exciting, and overall it was an amazing experience,” Riley said.

Most of the Jazz Combo and Jazz Orchestra members said the show went really well, and the audience agreed.

“It was a wonderful show, and it was the best when all the performers came together,” said Sadiah Cannon, GVSU freshman audience member.

This was the first of many performances for this year’s Jazz Combo and Jazz Orchestra.

“I thought it went great,” Froncek said. “This performance broke the ice to audience members and for other performances.”
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