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Hillsdale College Big Band. | Julia Hoyda. Courtesy

Hillsdale College’s Big Band will perform with guest drum soloist Jim Rupp at 8 p.m. on Friday, April 6 and Sat­urday, April 7  in the Markel Audi­torium in the Sage Center for the Arts.

“This is the big finale of the year for the big band,” Director of Jazz Ensembles Chris McCourry said. “We have been working toward these con­certs since the beginning of the year.”

The Big Band will play a variety of music, according to senior Julia Hoyda, who is playing lead trombone. 

“We’re not playing just standard swing charts. There are a lot of Latin pieces mixed in, and the whole program is a hodge­podge of styles within jazz,” Hoyda said. 

Rupp said his favorite song he will perform with the Big Band is “Pools.”

 “It’s a very sideways groove, and the [John] Fed­chock arrangement is very cre­ative,” he said. 

Rupp first played with Hillsdale College in 2012 at the first annual Liberal Arts Jazz Fes­tival. 

“I had a won­derful time with the band and faculty, and I’m looking forward to coming back this week,” he said. 

Rupp has played drums and per­cussion for 52 years, 39 of them pro­fes­sionally, spending many of those years trav­eling around the U.S. and inter­na­tionally.

The Big Band per­formers are rel­a­tively young this year, as only six members returned from last year.

“I’m impressed by how fast we’ve grown and built back up to nearly the same level of reper­toire,” Hoyda said. “Our first afterglow in the fall was the best afterglow the band has played in any of my four years.”

Hoyda said the per­formers will con­tinue to match the talent of past years this weekend.

“There’s a lot to be expected from this group, both now and in the future,” Hoyda said. “We had big shoes to fill from last year but they fit pretty well, all thing con­sidered.”