Seniors make final appearance with DePauw and GMS Jazz Ensembles Wednesday night

Friday, April 20, 2018
Among the graduating seniors making their final appearance Wednesday with the DePauw Jazz Ensemble are bassist Thomas Ring, drummer Sam Short, trombonists James Grundke and Chris Kaercher, and saxophonists Tyler Schaefers and Spencer Schillerstrom. Admission to the 7:30 p.m. April 25 performance at the Green Center is $5. Tickets for seniors, youth and all students are free.
Courtesy photo/SuZANNE Hassler

A trio of pieces from different eras of the Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Orchestra highlight a collection of all-classic big band music to be performed on the DePauw University Jazz Ensemble concert at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 25 in the Green Center’s Kresge Auditorium.

The program, which marks the final performance together by a pillar group of graduating seniors, also includes works by Stan Kenton and Duke Ellington. An arrangement from Nelson Riddle rounds out the repertoire.

The 11 graduating members of the DePauw Jazz Ensemble are Jeremy Irving (trumpet), James Grundke and Chris Kaercher (trombone), Tyler Schaefers and Spencer Schillerstrom (saxophone), Alex Bushkin (piano), Thomas Ring (bass), Zach Suchanek (guitar) and Sam Short (percussion). Senior trombonist Ciara McManus and trumpeter Allen Whitehead have also played with the ensemble every semester prior to student teaching this spring.

“These seniors are the first class of students who came in with me in 2014,” Steve Snyder, director of jazz studies, said. “We were freshmen at DePauw together.

“This class has really carried the flag in this ensemble. Many of them have played jazz all four years here, tackling a wide range of literature. They have maintained a tradition of excellence that was here before they arrived, and because they’ve been so committed, they have been able to further it.

“Having that core maintained,” the bandleader continued, “means we’ve been able to push deeper into the jazz cannon, and I thank them for their dedication, their consistency, and their passion for music making.”

Along with junior Jamie Edwards, first-year trombonist John Tebbe and saxophonist Adri Rodgers, seniors McManus, Schillerstrom and Whitehead have also spent many earlier morning hours as volunteer instructors developing the jazz program at the Greencastle Middle School.

The Greencastle Middle School Jazz Band will join the DePauw students on Wednesday, sharing the rewards of their hard work in performances of Victor Lopez’s rock-styled “Polar Vortex,” along with the Harlem Globetrotters’ theme, the classic “Sweet Georgia Brown,” by Ben Bernie and Maceo Pinkard.

General admission to the student jazz concert is $5. Tickets for seniors, youth and all students are free.

Obtain tickets online at, or in person at the Green Center box office from noon to 4 p.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, and 90 minutes prior to each ticketed performance.

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