The sounds of jazz filled the Dorothy Dickson Darte Center on Tuesday, May 1, as Wilkes University’s own student jazz orchestra performed their 12th annual spring concert.
The concert featured two acts of jazz pieces ranging from traditional to contemporary, concluding with a special tribute to ’70s funk group Sly and the Family Stone with a new arrangement of their song “Stand.” Student musicians under the direction of Nick Driscoll performed some of their own arrangements in the second act which they composed themselves.
One of these compositions was created by junior psychology and Spanish major Ryan Burdick.
“Two concerts ago, a song that my friend and I came up with was put into the concert, and this year a song I came up with and that my friend helped me with was put in the concert,” said Burdick, who plays piano for the jazz orchestra. “It’s a Panic at the Disco song with a really long title, ‘The only Difference Between Martydom and Suicide is Press Coverage.’ But I did a jazzy hip-hop cover of that.”
Burdick has been involved with the Wilkes jazz orchestra for more than four years and like the other musicians involved, appreciates the activity for the creative outlet it provides to his daily life as a student while remaining flexible enough for his two majors and two minors. This sentiment is also reflected by director Driscoll as he revealed, providing creativity and flexibility were some of his main goals when establishing the jazz program.
“I wanted all majors to be a part of it. I feel like music is such a great way to express yourself and learn, and it benefits everybody … I make my rehearsals and performances collaborative,” Driscoll said.
The Wilkes Jazz Orchestra will hold another concert in the fall semester of 2012 before winter break. Driscoll hopes that the new incoming freshman class will show an interest and add more talent to the ensemble.