In addition to the highly-anticipated football game, theater production of “Gypsy,” and the street fair this homecoming weekend, AU students and alumni are invited to attend a musical performance starring the Wind and Jazz Ensembles. This year, the concert will also feature Valerie Maze, who is the recipient of the Outstanding Music Alumni Award.
The concert will be held at Park Place Church of God on Friday, Oct. 7 at 7:30 p.m. The concert is free of charge and open to the public.
The concert is an annual event put on by the vocal and instrumental groups at AU. The groups scheduled to perform are rotated each year. This homecoming weekend, the Wind Ensemble and Jazz Ensemble will each be performing a selection of songs. Next year, the concert will feature the AU Chorale and vocal ensembles.
“This is always a wonderful event,” said Professor John Huntoon, Director of Bands at AU. “Park Place offers a beautiful space to hear music, and both [the Jazz and Wind Ensembles] will take advantage of that space with sounds designed to fill the room.”
Maze will be accompanied by Professor David Coolidge, director of musical theatre, in some musical selections.
Maze is currently a conductor at The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis, as well as a music director, pianist, and vocal coach. She has leant her talents to a variety of musical productions in Chicago, where she lives. She is credited with conducting Drury Lane Theatre’s production of “White Christmas,” Goodman Theatre’s “Brigadoon,” Chicago Shakespeare Theatre’s “Gypsy” and many other musical theatre performances.
Maze has also taught as an adjunct professor at Loyola University and been a coach and accompanist at Northwestern and DePaul Universities. She has also performed on WGN TV accompanying musical artists Kate Baldwin, Paulo Montalban, Billy Zane and Steven Pasqual. Maze currently serves on the board of the TMA Chicago Chapter as a director.
“The concert is a great opportunity to see one of our extremely talented alumni, who has gained such success in the professional world, perform,” said Professor David Coolidge. “[Maze] is a great example of a Christian artist living and succeeding in the real world.”
In addition to providing an opportunity to listen to music performed by an experienced and talented musician, the concert will also be a great chance to hear music performed by the Wind and Jazz Ensembles. Both of these groups have put in many hours of rehearsal and work hard throughout the entire school year to prepare for various performances.
Both the Jazz and Wind Ensembles are composed of students of all majors who are interested in performing instrumental music. Every student must also pass an audition process in order to be a part of an ensemble. The Wind Ensemble currently has 53 members, while the Jazz Ensemble consists of 16. The Wind Ensemble meets to rehearse four days a week, while the Jazz Ensemble meets to rehearse twice a week.
“Both groups play an active role on campus, performing for special events in addition to our regular on-campus concerts,” said Huntoon, who is in charge of directing the Concert Band as well as the Wind and Jazz Ensembles. “We are also ambassadors for AU, with several off-campus appearances every year.”
After the homecoming concert, both groups will begin to rehearse for additional musical performances. Later this year, the Jazz Ensemble will prepare to perform at the Madison County Jazz Festival in Pendleton, Indiana, where they will be the host band. There, the Jazz Ensemble will be performing for hundreds of high school students and families who traditionally attend the annual festival. In addition, the Jazz Ensemble will perform with the Indianapolis Children’s Choir at the Hilbert Circle Theatre next March.
The Wind Ensemble will also perform in March at the First Baptist Church of Indianapolis, where they will be providing the service music and also performing a full concert.
This Friday, the homecoming concert is open to students, faculty, staff and visiting families and alumni.
“In addition to faculty, current students, and the general public, we look forward to welcoming back many alumni for this concert,” said Huntoon.
The concert is traditionally put on during homecoming weekend in part so that visiting alumni may attend and witness the hard work the Ensembles have put in to their rehearsals and the outstanding musical talent of current students.
The concert will also be an opportunity for current AU students to support the music groups and to listen to some beautiful musical selections performed by their friends and classmates.