Student jazz band gains experience while on tour

Music students tour for the first time since 2007

Kristen himmelberg Assistant Life and Times Editor

This semester, the Loyola Jazz Ensemble Band is breaking out — not just into music, but into the spotlight as well.

The band, led by John Mahoney, the director for Jazz Studies at Loyola, consists of 19 students: five trumpeters, five saxophonists, four trombonists, two drummers, a pianist, a bassist and a guitarist.

This semester’s jazz band is keeping busy. Its first big event was during Mardi Gras break, Feb. 22 to 27, when members went on their first nationwide tour since 2007, Mahoney said.

“The band only occasionally gets the funds to go on tour. The last tour was about five years ago, I believe, so no one who is currently in the band had done this before,” said Wayne Mitchell, jazz studies senior and three-year member of the band.

They started off the six-day tour in Memphis, Tenn., where they performed at two different high schools, Mahoney said.

Then they went on to Chicago where they performed at three different high schools and were a part of the Elmhurst College Jazz Festival. The festival was similar to the Loyola Jazz Festival because the band performed a 20-minute set for adjudication and listen to some great professional guest artists, Mahoney said.

“We can’t ever stop learning,” Mahoney said.

He also said the band finished their tour in St. Louis, performing at two more high schools.

“Having to live together and get out and perform often is a great way for the band to mature and become more cohesive. I always appreciate the tours and wish we could do them more often,” Mahoney said.

The band also recruited prospective students at many high schools, Mitchell said.

“Hopefully it will bring a great quantity and quality of applicants to the Loyola music program,” he said.

Kristen Himmelberg can be reached at [email protected]