Grand Valley professors co-direct seasonal jazz concert

Courtesy /

Courtesy /

Jacob Creswell

On Tuesday, Nov. 20, Grand Valley State University professors Michael Drost and Tim Froncek organized a jazz concert that took place at the Louis Armstrong Theatre located in the Haas Center of Performing Arts on the Allendale Campus.   The performance contained both a jazz orchestra and smaller-scale jazz combo performances, directed by Froncek and Drost. In order to organize the concert, the two combined their many years of experience with their respective directorial positions to help assist with directing, teaching and performing in every aspect of the event.

During the performance, Froncek directed students within GVSU’s jazz orchestra. Drost directed the jazz combos, which are smaller bands comprised of approximately three to four performers. Drost, who has over fifteen years of experience instructing and performing jazz music, believes that live performances are crucial in helping students perfect their technique. 

While Drost mostly performs jazz guitar, Froncek is noted as being one of the busiest drummers in west Michigan. Froncek directs the jazz orchestra, performs lectures on the history of jazz and privately tutors students on drum performances.

Froncek preforms in two bands, the Muskegon based “Truth In Jazz Orchestra” and the Grand Rapids Jazz Orchestra. Along with personal experience, he also directs the jazz program at the Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp.

Students were given first-hand experience watching two renowned professors perform, as well as fellow GVSU orchestra students. GVSU’s Large Jazz Ensemble performs both traditional and contemporary jazz music, along with original works that were written for the concert to preform.

The Small Jazz Ensemble aims its focus toward mastering jazz tunes. With the Small Jazz Ensemble, including the aforementioned Jazz Combos, there is more of an emphasis on improvisation, according to the GVSU Jazz website.

In addition to their previous performances, the jazz ensembles will be performing on Feb. 25, 2019 and April 14, 2019 at the Louis Armstrong Theatre. All performances are free and open to the public.