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Hillcats to perform the music of James Taylor this Friday. Eliz­abeth Bachmann | COLLEGIAN

“It’s gonna be smokin,’” Music Department Chair James Holleman said of the upcoming Hillcats Faculty Jazz concert.

This Friday the Hillcats will jazzify the music of James Taylor in the McNamara Rehearsal Hall at 8:00 p.m. No tickets are required.

The concert will feature vocalist and bassist Hank Horton, a voice and base instructor at Hillsdale. He will play and sing along side the other Hillcats as well as some stu­dents.

Senior Shadrach Strehle will be on bass, and a string quartet com­prised of sophomore Trevor Vogel, junior Keely Rendle, sophomore Zsana Bodor, and senior Honor Perrine will accompany select songs.

Horton said that the concert will be acces­sible, and the songs of James Taylor will be rec­og­nizable. The set includes jazz ren­di­tions of  “Your Smiling Face,” “Fire and Rain,” and “Shower the People,” among others.

“It’s gonna be real enter­taining and real easy to under­stand what’s going on,” Horton said. “Some jazz things are a little complex, but these kinds of  of concert are not stuffy things. I am gonna have a lot of fun!”

Holleman said that this is an important oppor­tunity, espe­cially for jazz stu­dents, to see pro­fes­sional musi­cians.

“Any of the music stu­dents studying jazz should be here to hear their instructors perform, because that’s part of the learning process,” Holleman said. “You’re  in lessons and then you’re lis­tening to the pro­fes­sionals do what it is you are studying. This is a great example for them.”

Holleman empha­sized that this concert will be dif­ferent from pre­vious Hillcats endeavors in that James Taylor is not a jazz musician, but a pop, rock mix. He encouraged stu­dents to take advantage of this oppor­tunity to see a pro­fes­sional jazz ensemble.

“The fact that we have a pro­fes­sional jazz ensemble on our campus on a regular basis is very unique. You might find that at a couple of the really big schools, but you are not going to find that at a lot of schools,” Holleman said. “So the fact that we have that in-house here in little Hillsdale is impressive. These per­formers are at a very high pro­fes­sional level, and at the last concert, they were very well received. Stu­dents really saw that these guys are top-shelf per­formers.”

  • Jen­nifer Melfi

    I love James Taylor. There is a version of “smiling face” on the sound­track for the 1980’s movie “FM” that I own on vinyl… it is my favorite version of the song, adds a little syn­co­pation… just perfect. “Fire and Rain” is baby making music. Not sure if that is allowed at Hillsdale any longer.