Fall jazz concerts to take place on Nov. 9

By Dr. Todd Hill | Oct 26, 2023

Jazz Orchestra

Pictured is this fall’s Murray State Jazz Orchestra

MURRAY, Ky. – The award-winning Murray State University Jazz Octet, Jazz Band and Jazz Orchestra will present their fall campus concerts on Thursday, Nov. 9 in historic Lovett Auditorium. The Jazz Octet's program will begin at 6 p.m. followed by the Jazz Band and Jazz Orchestra at 7:30 p.m. The concerts are free and open to the public. Dr. Todd E. Hill, Professor of Music, is Director of Jazz Studies at Murray State and directs all the groups.

At 6 p.m., the Murray State Jazz Octet will perform a collection of small group classics including "Corcovado (Quiet Night of Quiet Stars)" by Antonio Carlos Jobim, "Groovin’ High” by Dizzy Gillespie, "Fortune Smiles” by Keith Jarrett, "Corn Bread” by Lee Morgan, “Sack o’ Woe” by Nat Adderley, “Un Poco Loco” by Bud Powell, and the beautiful ballad "Star Dust" by Hoagy Carmichael. 

Members of the Octet are:

    • Bek Schmidt (trumpet) - Memphis, Tennessee

    • Caleb Dries (alto sax) - Louisville, Kentucky

    • Declan Bingham (tenor sax) - Paducah, Kentucky

    • Devin Richards (baritone sax) - Benton, Kentucky

    • Amberly Tilford (piano) - Paducah, Kentucky

    • John Sowers (guitar) - Lancaster, Kentucky

    • Sean Howell (bass) - Mayfield, Kentucky

    • Elijah Vowels (drums) - Henderson, Kentucky

At 7:30 p.m., the Big Bands will take the stage. The Murray State Jazz Band will be performing a number of big band classics and standards including including Sammy Nestico’s arrangement of “Sweet Georgia Brown,” a standard recorded by Louis Armstrong, “C’est Si Bon,” Antonio Carlos Jobim’s bossa nova “Girl from Ipanema,” Thelonious Monk’s “Blue Monk,” Marshall Brown’s “Cinnamon Kisses” and “El Choclo” by Angel Vilodo, an Argentinian Tango, but better known in the United States as “Kiss of Fire.” 

Members of the Jazz Band are:

Saxophonists Ethan Sexton (Lexington, Kentucky), Alecia Fordham (Cadiz, Kentucky), Colton Vaught (Hartford, Kentucky), Cooper Barnet (Evansville, Indiana), Sarah Call (Salem, Indiana) and Cammy Pillow (Evansville, Indiana). Trumpets are Trent Browne (Nashville, Illinois), David Kidd (Henderson, Kentucky), Maxxwell Stobaugh (Madisonville, Kentucky), Tim Hanley (Hopkinsville, Kentucky) and Austin Kozusek (Nashville, Illinois). Trombones are Airen Yocum (Utica, Kentucky), Richard Ramirez (Hopkinsville, Kentucky), Ethan Pennycuick (Eureka, Missouri) and Nathan Kasitz (Louisville, Kentucky). Members of the rhythm section are pianist Frank Newton (Owensboro, Kentucky), guitarist Cody Trimmel (Gilbertsville, Kentucky), bassist Noah Siegfried (New Baden, Illinois) and percussionists Maddie Beck (Mayfield, Kentucky), Lily Cohoon (Boonville, Indiana) and Devin Owens (Elizabethtown, Kentucky).  

The Murray State Jazz Orchestra will close the program with a widely varied repertoire including Count Basie’s “Strike Up the Band,” Herbie Hancock’s “Maiden Voyage,” Woody Herman’s “North Beach Breakdown,” Ernie Wilkins’ “Sassy,” Tito Puente’s “Mambo Inn,” Lionel Hampton’s “Flying Home,” Kenny Dorham’s “Blue Bossa,” and Stevie Wonder’s “Isn’t She Lovely.” 

Members of the Jazz Orchestra include:

Saxophonists Caleb Dries (Louisville, Kentucky), Gavin Jones (Benton, Kentucky), Declan Bingham (Paducah, Kentucky), Nick Mehne (Evansville, Indiana), Devin Richards (Benton, Kentucky) and Jake Glatczak (Bonne Terre, Missouri). Trumpets are Max Welch (Evansville, Indiana), Bek Schmidt (Memphis, Tennessee), Ryn Jenkins (Murray, Kentucky), Zack Mitchell (Hopkinsville, Kentucky) and Alyssa Schrader (Elizabethtown, Kentucky). Trombones are Dillon Smith (Murray, Kentucky), Jeremiah Morris (Murray, Kentucky), Joey Noble (Maryland Heights, Missouri), Shelby Starks (Benton, Kentucky) and Sam Haley (Cedar Hill, Missouri). Rhythm section members are pianist Abbie Tompkins (Madisonville, Kentucky), guitarist Preston Frensley (Mayfield, Kentucky), vibraphonist Zhou Merchant (Shelbyville, Kentucky) and percussionists Nelson Youngblood IV (Union City, Tennessee) and Evan Carlton (Madisonville, Kentucky).

Under Dr. Todd E Hill's leadership, during the past 18 years the Murray State Jazz Orchestra has produced five album releases, performed four times at the famed Elmhurst College Jazz Festival (winning “Outstanding Big Band” along with a plethora of soloist awards), and the prestigious MidWest International Band Clinic. The Jazz Orchestra has been asked to perform at the Kentucky Music Educators Association Conference as a featured group for the state's music teachers a record six times since 2006. They will perform there again this February.

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