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MCC to host Night of Jazz tonight

Murray County Central Rebal Voices members include, (front, from left) Katie Beech, Nicole Rohloff, LeAnna Homandberg, Caitlin Vander Wal, Rachel Carlson, (back, from left) Brady Johnson, Dan Beech, Jake Erickson, Matt Wettschreck. (Brian Korthals/Daily Globe)

SLAYTON -- Some people may find being center stage intimidating, but members of Rebel Voices at Murray County Central are looking forward to their upcoming performance.

Beginning at 7:30 p.m. Thursday at the MCC auditorium, the Rebel Voices choir will host the second annual Night of Jazz. The choir has nine members and is led by MCC choral director Chad Felton.

Rebel Voices is a small group that focuses on pop and jazz music and has recently added classic rock to its repertoire. Thursday night will feature music by Gershwin and Henry Mancini, but also selections by the Eagles, Three Dog Night and Van Morrison. The audience should be prepared for a rocking, rolling good time, with both a cappella and accompanied selections.

"The jazz is a focus, but we also wanted to add the popular music and classic rock," Felton said. "The kids are having fun with it."

The students are excited about Thursday's show, and pleased to offer the jazzy genre of music.

"It is more fun," said member Dan Beech.

"More interesting," member Caitlin Vander Wal added.

"More upbeat," offered member Rachel Carlson.

To help prepare for shows such as this, the members have attended jazz clinics, in which they perform and are critiqued by judges and other music experts.

"And we have done a lot of shows," added member Katie Beech, who is a senior at MCC. "The Night of Jazz will be a fun and exciting musical experience."

"All the music you want to hear," member LeAnna Homandberg chimed in.

Most of the selections will be songs the whole audience is familiar with, the students said. Some will be sung by the whole group, one song is done just by the ladies, and there are several solo or duet performances planned.

"It is a wide variety of music," Brady Johnson explained. "And we're very good."

"We've been practicing for a long time," Katie added.

The small admission fee covers not only the show, but an intermission that includes ice cream sundaes served by junior high choir members. Proceeds from the show will directly benefit the Rebel Voices and the MCC choir program.

"Last year, we had about 100 people in the audience," Felton said. "This year, we are hoping for even more."

Part of the evening will also be spent sharing some photos and answering questions about a recent trip to the Southwest Community College Vocal Jazz Festival in Creston, Iowa.

The students had the opportunity to both perform and see a Swedish vocal jazz ensemble, The Real Group -- an experience that left the members of Rebel Voices in awe.

"I have seen a lot of performances, but seeing The Real Group perform was one of the most gratifying experiences of my life thus far," Felton stated.

"They were absolutely amazing," added Homandberg. "My life is complete now."

The Rebel Voice singers agreed The Real Group is arguably one of the best vocal groups in the world. According to its Web site, the group does not often tour in the United States and rarely goes on any tour lasting more than a week.

"It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity," Homandberg added. "I'll probably never get a chance to see them again."