'Night of Jazz' is Tuesday night at MCC
SLAYTON -- From Journey's "Don't Stop Believin'," complete with electric guitars and keyboard, to the swinging sounds of "Yes, No or Maybe," Murray County Central's Night of Jazz promises to be a toe-tapping good time.
The third annual Night of Jazz starts at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday in the auditorium at MCC in Slayton and includes performances by the Rebel Voices, the MCC Jazz Band and individual and group vocal performances. During intermission, there will be ice cream sundaes, served up by MCC music students and parents.
MCC Band Instructor Liz Ennenga is looking forward to the jazz band's first performance.
"We've been practicing for about the last month," Ennenga said Friday afternoon. "The kids have done really well, and it is fun working with a group that is there by choice."
The jazz band consists of nine students, who come to the school a couple of evenings a week to practice and participate. Eight of the kids are in senior high, and one, a saxophone player, is in junior high.
"It is a big commitment," Ennenga acknowledged. "But I've gotten very positive feedback from the kids."
Part of the lure of jazz band is the chance to play music the regular bands don't experience. The numbers included in the Night of Jazz performance will include the swing song "Yes, No or Maybe," a ballad and a Latin-style tune called "Blue Bossa."
The jazz band students aren't the only ones who enjoy the opportunity to perform music a little different from the norm. The 13 students who make up Rebel Voices add an enthusiasm that is contagious. On Friday afternoon, MCC Choral Director Chad Felton showed remarkable patience as the teen-aged singers bounced around the stage during a rehearsal.
"This really offers them a chance to do individual performances, duets and small group songs," Felton said during a brief quiet moment. "I like to get suggestions from the kids in choir, but can't always use them. Night of Jazz is different. I asked them back in December to start thinking about what they wanted to do."
As a group, the Rebel Voices will perform songs that range from rock and roll to a swing rendition of "Fly Me to the Moon." A jazzy arrangement of "Danny Boy" is balanced by an a cappella version of the Average White Band's "Picking Up the Pieces."
"Night of Jazz isn't as traditional as most choir concerts," Leanna Homandberg commented.
"We really get to move around, which adds to the show," said junior Haley DeGreeff, who is also a member of the jazz band. "It's just a good time."
The talented Rebel Voices keyboard accompanist Molly Bass, a sophomore, is joined by the lead guitar of Rebel Voices member Matt Wettschreck and bass player Cole Ludolph for a "Glee"-style rendition of "Don't Stop Believin'," featuring the voices of Rachel Carlson, Nicole Rohloff and Max Whitehead. Wettschreck and Ludolph are members of local rock band Parade of Heroes.
"These songs really get the crowd more involved," junior Jake Erickson said during a quick break in the rehearsal. "The songs are fun."
"For this, we rock your socks off," Carlson added with a laugh.