Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Duquesne Jazz Ensemble Takes a Professional Lesson from the Beatles

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Duquesne Jazz Ensemble Takes a Professional Lesson from the Beatles

Article excerpt

This is more than just a day in the life - especially for members of the Jazz Ensemble at Duquesne University.

It's "The Music of the Beatles" in the Power Center Ballroom at Duquesne's Chatham Square, a chance for the students to perform - and for you to enjoy - an evening of songs from the act you've known for all these years.

Fifty years, as you might know, since the iconic British pop group's arrival in America.

But this evening's concert is not just an opportunity to get back to yesterday. It's a chance to come together for a learning experience.

"It's not necessarily about The Beatles specifically," said Steve Groves, manager of musical events at Duquesne's Mary Pappert School of Music. "It's about the commercial aspect of playing as a professional musician. Learning how to adapt music that's a staple in the popular culture so much as The Beatles.

"This gives the students the opportunity to play that music in front of people. Music that people relate to, music that they know."

The program of 22 Beatles songs has been put together by Mike Tomaro, director of Duquesne's jazz department, who arranged all the music except "She's Leaving Home" (arranged by Dave Budway) and "Norwegian Wood" (arranged by Herbie Hancock).

Mr. Groves said the Jazz Ensemble is made up of 18 students, ranging from freshmen to graduate students - five trumpets, four trombones, five saxophones, a piano, drums, a bass and a guitar. The guest vocalists include students and members of the faculty. (As well as members of the audience who take part in the sing-a- longs.)

"Our ensembles comprise, I would say, 60-ish concerts per academic school year," Mr. Groves said. "That ranges from small jazz guitar ensembles up to and including our symphony orchestra.

"This is the second year for 'The Music of The Beatles.' Last year we had it at the Dr. Thomas D. Pappert Center for Performance & Innovation in our music school and we pretty much over-sold the room. I'd say there were 175 people pretty packed in. And this year, because of the anniversary, there's even more interest."

So the event has been moved to the Power Center Ballroom, which can accommodate closer to 500. …

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