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The Hillsdale College music faculty and guest trum­peter Vince DiMartino per­formed the works of James Stephenson on Friday night. Courtesy | Wiki­media Commons

Joined by an appre­ci­ation of music, a mixture of pro­fessors, stu­dents, and res­i­dents of Hillsdale came together at the Markel Audi­torium on Friday, Jan.31. Music pro­fessors Chris McCourry and Brad Blackham pre­sented a special recital fea­turing the music of James Stephenson.  

The first portion of the program fea­tured pieces com­posed by James Stephenson including “Burden of Destiny,” “2/2 Tango, L’Esprit,” “Martha Uncaged,” and “Legacies” — all written for three. Chris McCourry and guest artist Vince DiMartino per­formed on trumpet, and Brad Blackham played the piano.

The second part of the concert focused on a jazz feel and fea­tured not only trum­peters Chris McCourry and Guest Artist Vince DiMartino, but also student Christopher Schei­thauer on trumpet, Dan Palmer on guitar, Hank Horton on bass, and Ian Levine on Drums. Some jazz pieces included “Mean to Me”(Turk/Ahlert), “The Girl from Ipanema” (Atonio-Carlos Jobim), and “Seven Steps to Heaven” (Victor Feldman).

An inter­esting mix of clas­sical and jazz gave the program depth. When asked about the reper­toire, Chris McCourry said he enjoyed the musical diversity in “Martha Uncaged.” . 

 “It’s using so many dif­ferent instru­ments for one piece is what really attracted me orig­i­nally,
McCourry said.“It’s really a dif­ficult thing to change between all the dif­ferent instru­ments, so that was one chal­lenge I really enjoyed.”

Brad Blackham shared how the pieces and com­poser were chosen.  

 “I just started researching this guy Stephenson and found he has tons of music including a lot of stuff for trumpet and piano,” Blackham said. “So once we realized how much stuff he had, we started thinking let’s just do a whole program on it since there is enough music there, and we had a lot of fun putting it together.”

Freshman Chloe Tritchka found the concert very inter­esting.  

“I didn’t realize the Stevenson songs were going to be so modern but there was still a lot of structure and there were pat­terns and you could tell when the instru­ments were coming together,” said Tritchka.  “I was also very impressed by Vince DiMartino’s per­for­mance. He is very good and gave me a new appre­ci­ation for the trumpet because he was able to control his sound very well and I thought that was pretty cool.”

Gabriel Powell, a freshman and student of Chris McCourry, said the concert was inspiring.

“So, being a jazz guy I am a bit partial,” said Powell.  “It was very neat to hear the pro­gression of going through all the dif­ferent clas­sical pieces through legacies which was really inter­esting to see all the dif­ferent gen­er­a­tions of stu­dents.”

Christopher Schei­thauer, a senior at Hillsdale College and a student of Chris McCourry, said he enjoyed being a part of the night. 

 “It was really an amazing oppor­tunity to play with Chris McCourry and Vince DiMartino,” said Schei­thauer.  “You don’t usually think of coming to a small liberal arts school like Hillsdale to get these oppor­tu­nities to play with world class musi­cians, but you do.  It is a great oppor­tunity that was unex­pected.”