Seats at the Athens Theater filled up fast as the audience eagerly waited to hear the Stetson Jazz Ensemble on Nov. 20, conducted by Patrick Hennessey, Ph.D.
The setlist included an impressive 11 songs, each written by a different artist. The songs varied in length, and each relied on the instrumentation differently. The majority of the ensemble members were given the opportunity to solo and/or were able to improvise. When a senior performed a solo, Dr. Hennessey would give special acknowledgement to them within small commentaries between songs. Every solo was met with applause, and the entire event closed in a standing ovation. Allison Deal (‘23) said, “I’m a trumpet player, and I know it’s really hard to improvise, so I was very impressed. Each of those musicians are very talented.”
While adults populated the first floor of the audience, Stetson students and faculty occupied the balcony. Zach Legg (‘23) commented, “I was a jazz drummer in high school, so seeing the drummer in this band was great. I love jazz music and this ensemble is fantastic.” The group is very talented and performs at numerous jazz festivals across Florida such as Orlando, Deland, and Miami, in addition to appearances at the Jazz Education Network national conferences. Their next performance is at the aforementioned national conference in New Orleans in Jan. 2020, but like Dr. Hennessey mentioned, “if you can’t make it to that one, they will have another local performance in late February.”
Although no photography was allowed at the event, the entire concert can be found on the Stetson School of Music Youtube page along with every music performance.