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April performance lineup at the School of Music showcases jazz program at USM

vocal jazz ensemble

The USM School of Music will present a variety of jazz ensemble concerts in April, showcasing its multi-faceted jazz studies program with performances by students and faculty.

On Tuesday, April 11 at 7 p.m., the USM Jazz Combos, under the direction of School of Music jazz faculty members Gary Wittner, Bronek Suchanek and Chris Klaxton, will perform at One Longfellow Square. This performance is the first show in a collaborative effort between OLS and USM to showcase the USM School of Music's jazz program. Admission is $5 in advance and $10 for adults, $7 for seniors and $5 for students on the day of the show. For more information, visit onelongfellowsquare.com.

On Tuesday, April 18 at 7:30 p.m. at Corthell Concert Hall, the USM Vocal Jazz Ensembles, directed by Taylor O’Donnell, will include both music and non-music majors. The ensemble will perform intricate arrangements of jazz standards, as well as pieces written specifically for vocal jazz ensembles. Tickets are $8 for adults and $5 for students, seniors, USM alumni and employees. 

Read the Forecaster's preview of this performance here.

On Friday, April 21, the USM Jazz Ensemble will perform at 8 p.m. at Corthell Concert Hall. This ensemble is a “big band” that specializes in the study and performance of jazz for large and small groups, led by jazz faculty. This semester, the ensemble is directed by saxophonist, clarinetist and composer Barry Saunders. Tickets are $8 for adults and $5 for students, seniors, USM alumni and employees

On Friday, April 28 at 8 p.m. at Corthell Concert Hall, the USM Faculty Concert Series will conclude for the spring semester with “Cookin’ in the Kitchen,” featuring Chris Klaxton with the USM Faculty Jazz Ensemble. The program will include several compositions from the jazz canon: Clark Terry, Thelonious Monk and Duke Ellington, along with several arrangements of popular music by David Bowie, The Police, Beach Boys, and the Beatles. The show will also feature several of Klaxton’s original compositions, which lean heavily on elements of rock ’n roll and hip hop, performed within a jazz ensemble and allowing various forms of improvisation.

“We aim to illustrate traditional elements of improvisation and swing (groove) throughout the performance, particularly as we delve into our favorite pop radio hits and original compositions,” Klaxton said. “Working with new music does not mean one must forsake the Jazz Tradition.”

For more information about jazz studies at USM, contact Christopher Oberholtzer at chris.oberholtzer@maine.edu.

To purchase tickets online, visit www.usm.maine.edu/music/boxoffice, or call 207-780-5555.

For more information on performances and programs, please visit the USM School of Music website.

Complete April performance listing:

Thursday, April 13 at 7 p.m.
USM Youth Ensembles Instrumental Concert
Merrill Auditorium
20 Myrtle Street, Portland

- Portland Youth Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Robert Lehmann
- Portland Youth Wind Ensemble, conducted by Trae Blanco
- Portland Young People’s String Consort, conducted by Deborah Dabczynski
- Portland Youth Junior Orchestra, conducted by Ferdinand Liva

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Suggested Donation $8/$5 at the door
Sponsored by Macy’s

Friday, April 14 to Saturday, April 29
Special World Premiere: “Molded by the Flow”

A poetic, visual and musical narrative inspired by Southern Maine’s rich natural and human history, “Molded by the Flow” explores how the state’s rivers, ocean, weather, plants and animals inspire diverse groups of people to inhabit the area, and thereby shape the landscape and the history of Maine. This is a collaborative creation of theatre, music, and visual art with internationally-acclaimed artists Paul Dresher, Rinde Eckert, and USM students, faculty, and staff.

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The complete schedule of performances can be found online at the event listing. 

Performance Locations:
- Gendron Franco Center for Heritage and the Performing Arts, 46 Cedar Street, Lewiston
- Main Stage at Russell Hall, USM Gorham Campus

Tickets $15 general public, $11 seniors, USM employees and alumni, $8 students
Sponsored by Libra Professorship at USM

Tuesday, April 18 at 7:30 p.m.
USM Vocal Jazz Ensembles
Directed by Taylor O’Donnell

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$8 adult, $5 students, seniors, USM employees and alumni

Friday, April 21 at 8 p.m.
USM Jazz Ensemble
Directed by Barry Saunders

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$8 adult, $5 students, seniors, USM employees and alumni

Saturday, April 22 at 8 p.m.
40th Annual Honors Recital

Recognizing excellence in undergraduate solo performance, selected by audition.

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Free; reservations recommended
Sponsored by Murray, Plumb & Murray

Sunday, April 23 at 5 p.m.
Opera Scenes Concert
Directed by Scott Wheatley

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$8 adult, $5 students, seniors, USM employees and alumni

Monday, April 24 from 3–6 p.m.
MASTER CLASS
Voice Master Class with John McVeigh

The world-class tenor will work with USM voice majors in a public event.
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Free
Sponsored by the Warren Memorial Foundation

Tuesday, April 25 at 7:30 p.m.
“The Spring of Rebirth”
USM Chamber Singers
Conducted by Nicolás Alberto Dosman

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Williston-Immanuel United Church
156 High Street, Portland
Suggested donation at the door, $12

Friday, April 28 at 8 p.m.
FACULTY CONCERT SERIES
Chris Klaxton “Cookin’ in the Kitchen” with the USM Faculty Jazz Ensemble
Featuring Chris Klaxton and the USM Faculty Jazz Ensemble

Cookin’ in the Kitchen: The Jazz Tradition of our forefathers blended with popular music of our day The “jazz tradition” means many things to many people, but for some it can be reduced to several hierarching principles: improvisation and swing feel. Within the world of jazz there is also a rich tradition of investigation, of adapting, of using available elements to achieve a desired result; what pianist Bill Evans has referred to as “the jazz process”. We aim to illustrate traditional elements of improvisation and swing (groove) throughout the performance, particularly as we delve into our favorite pop / radio hits and original compositions. Working with new music does not mean one must forsake the jazz tradition.

Chris Klaxton, trumpet and piano, with
Taylor O’Donnell, vocals
Barry Saunders, saxophones
Chris Oberholtzer, trombone
Gary Wittner, guitar
Bronek Suchanek, bass
Les Harris Jr., drums

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$15 adult, $10 seniors, USM employees and alumni, $5 students

Sunday, April 30 at 2 p.m.
Chamber Music Awards Concert

Recognizing outstanding chamber music performance, ensembles are selected by audition.
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Free, reservations recommended