“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.”