By Autumn Yates
Staff writer

Hutchinson Community College’s jazz ensembles set up on Friday and Saturday to give the community a unique event to attend.

The jazz groups, band, and choir organized a “Jazz & BBQ” show where concertgoers could enjoy jazz and food, provided by Roy’s Hickory Pit BBQ in Hutchinson.

While listeners experienced the compositions and songs performed by the groups, they were encouraged to sit back and enjoy some food, much like a lounge or club setting would be.

Neal Allsup, professor and director of choral activities, said that the purpose of this event was to help the ensembles grow in their music and ways of performing.

Greg Weis, the jazz program coordinator, and Allsup wanted the ensembles to be able to show their music in different settings.

One of these was a lounge setting where the bands were up close to their audience.

Allsup jokingly said, “We at HCC teach our students how to live in fear.”

The night also had a multitude of solos.

The audience could feel the emotion throughout the pieces, whether they were executed by instruments or voices.

The most enticing solo performances to me were those done by Ryan Ruggiero, an alto saxophonist for the concert jazz band, and songs performed by Beck Wells for the Badinage.

Beck Wells, a frequent bluegrass singer, sang “Lucky To Be Me”by Leonard Bernstein and “One Note Samba”by Antonio Carlos Jobim.

Wells said that for the choral jazz groups, they are expected to learn 12 different solo pieces. For this event, she was told to choose the two she felt the most confident in performing.

Wells said that her whole life has revolved around music, especially since seventh grade, when she became even more immersed in it.

She says that hearing music has always been a “euphoric” experience for her.

“If I can give anyone even a shadow of that feeling when I’m performing, no matter how I felt I did, I will walk away happy,” Wells said.

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