A Show Decades in the Making

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Jazz Band preps for their upcoming “Jazz Nite” concert, hailing performances from the band itself, choral students, and professional musicians.

   Pacific freshman and jazz band trumpeter Jackson Weger describes the energy in the rehearsal room as warm, welcoming, and safe. He explains that the laid-back vibe and bright, energetic music make rehearsal something he looks forward to everyday. “Some days I walk into jazz band rehearsal with a rain cloud above my head,” he says, “but once I step on that stage it’s like the sun comes out.” He paused and laughed, then elaborated: “I think having something in your life that can instantly change your perspective or your day is great. Jazz is that something for me: It instantly makes my day better.”

   Pacific University’s Jazz Band is excited to share that energy with audiences at their coming “Jazz Nite” concert. It will be the band’s debut concert of the 2023-24 year, showing a culmination of the semester’s work. Between a feel-good selection that audiences are sure to recognize—like “Feelin’ Good,” “Robin’s Nest,” and “Bernie’s Tune,”—and what Weger describes as “weird, funky rhythms,” the Jazz Band thrilled for students to see the final show.

   The theme of this year’s concert seems to be new, experimental approaches to the band’s sound. One such example being the professional musicians joining the student ensemble to add a new depth and intensity. Varying in background, from Mayne Mihacsi (first chair trumpeter for Director Dr. Burch-Pesses’s community band) to Shaun Congos (professional trombonist and freelance trombone instructor) to Jeff Hornick (trumpeter and current conductor at the  Hillsboro Symphony Orchestra), all of the professionals accompanying this year’s band have three major things in common: acclaim, prestige, and talent. 

   Weger expressed his excitement to be working with these seasoned musicians, as well as excitement for the Pacific community’s chance to hear them play and “hear something inspirational.” “I don’t get to hear crazy good trumpet players all that often. It’s motivating to hear what your sound could be if you put in that much work. It’s not a short journey by any means. You can’t pick up an instrument and be the best in three months. It takes decades.”

   This year’s show also will feature vocalists Cait Wilson and Sydney Timms, current musicians from Pacific’s choral. Saxophone section leader Jakob Anderson shared that these vocalists were added to help fill the relatively small band and add a new element to the band overall. “Our director reached out to Scott Tuomi, Director of Choral Activities, and asked if anyone in the choir would love to do jazz…The vocalists add a lot of variety, and for us it’s a much different experience playing with them. They are singing two songs audiences know and love, so that should be pretty engaging for the crowd.”

   Historically, the jazz genre has been defined by improvised solos and distinct sonical variety, with one piece sounding different each time it’s performed. The jazz band aims to keep that tradition alive, and honor the historical value of jazz music in their performances. “Jazz is America’s original contribution to the world of music,” Burch-Pesses explains. “The concert will include selections ranging from the beginning of the jazz era in the 1930s, to original compositions by today’s jazz composers.”

   Friday, December 1 at 7:30 pm in McCready Hall. Tickets are $10 for general admission, $7 for seniors and veterans, and free for students, faculty, and staff with a Boxer ID.


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