With responsibility for three university bands, it’s understandable that Nils Landsberg was a little out of breath.
An assistant professor at the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor, he also teaches advanced instrumental conducting as well as wind and orchestral literature. Asked about today’s jazz ensemble concert, he answered quickly: “It’s a mish-mash of jazz and contemporary Christian music.”
The jazz will be courtesy of the UMHB Jazz Ensemble, a traditional jazz orchestra with four sections: saxophones, trombones, trumpets and rhythm. The Christian music comes from One Voice, a “select” vocal group for the UMHB music department, conducted by Matthew Crosby.
“We sing in lots of churches,” Crosby said. “And have a strong repertoire of sacred compositions, but also perform secular pieces.” The program for tonight includes “two hymn settings and a spiritual” among the choir’s selections. While the popular song “For All We Know” may have piano accompaniment, Crosby said, “We’ll sing a cappella on the majority” of the concert’s offerings.
“This will be a way for our students and the public to hear and appreciate a variety; lots of different styles of music,” he said.
Landsberg agreed, listing some of his band’s set list: “The Ernie Wilkins/Count Basie chart (musical arrangement) on ‘Moten Swing,’ ‘Mercy, Mercy, Mercy,’ ‘Love For Sale,’ some compositions from Austin’s Paul Baker.”
The venue, UMHB’s Hughes Recital Hall, is in another hall: Presser.
Since attendance at the concert earns students a Fine Arts Experience credit, a large audience is expected, and planners opted for two separate but identical shows: one at 6 p.m., the other at 7:30 p.m.
While lamenting a dearth of big band/chorus musical arrangements, both Landsberg and Crosby emphasized the show’s big finale: a combination of both groups performing “Jump, Jive and Wail.”
“It will be very eclectic,” Landsberg said of the concert, “with moments of intimacy.” And he is sure of one thing: “The audience will have a good time.”