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Jazz Concert to Feature Guest Vibist

Jazz Concert to Feature Guest Vibist(Posted: March 14, 2014)

Noted jazz vibraphone player Jon Metzger is the featured guest artist April 8 when the University of Arkansas - Fort Smith Jazz Band and Jazz Catz perform in concert as part of the UAFS Season of Entertainment 33.

The concert starts at 7:30 p.m. in the Arkansas Best Performing Arts Center at the Fort Smith Convention Center, 55 S. 7th St. Admission is by Season 33 ticket, or individual tickets are $8.

Directing the Jazz Band is Dr. Matt Vangjel of Fort Smith, UAFS assistant professor of music (high brass). Don Bailey of Fort Smith, UAFS director of jazz studies, directs the Jazz Catz vocal ensemble.

Metzger is artist in residence and professor of music at Elon University in North Carolina, with a background of extensive touring, recording and lecturing throughout the United States and Europe. He also has served as a jazz ambassador to more than 20 foreign countries in the Near East, Northern and Sub-Sahara Africa, and Central America under the auspices of the United States Information Agency's Arts America Program.

As a music educator, Metzger has conducted master classes from Boston's Berklee College and the University of North Texas to the University of North Florida and California Institute for the Arts. Metzger, who has also lectured at the Smithsonian Institution, has given many clinics at the Percussive Arts Society's International Convention and the International Association of Jazz Educators Conference.

Prior to performing the evening concert with the UAFS jazz ensembles, Metzger will spend two days on campus working with UAFS students, both individually and as a group.

According to Vangjel, "The Jazz Band is very excited that Jon has graciously agreed to play with and clinic the students for a couple of days."

The Band has selected a number of jazz standards to perform with Metzger, including tunes by Duke Ellington, Thad Jones, George Gershwin and Woody Herman.

"Jon is an internationally acclaimed jazz vibraphone player and we are honored to have him join us in this music collaboration," Vangjel added. "We all cannot wait to share the product of that collaboration in our big show this semester."

Bailey said the Jazz Catz will perform a wide variety of songs, stretching from Frank Sinatra to Queen, Ella Fitzgerald to the Beach Boys, and Duke Ellington to John Lennon.

"There is always a lot of energy on stage when the Catz join forces with the Jazz Band," Bailey said. "It should be an exciting evening, with something for everyone."

Vocal selections to be performed by the Catz include Lennon's "Imagine," the Beach Boys hit "Surfer Girl," Sinatra's "Nice 'n Easy," "Somebody to Love" by Queen, a Motown medley featuring songs by The Supremes, the jazz standard "Lullaby of Birdland" and "The Frim Fram Sauce" recorded by Ella Fitzgerald, Louie Armstrong and others.

According to Bailey, the Catz have worked hard this semester to prepare an eclectic set of vocal jazz tunes for this performance.

"The Catz are really pumped for this show," he said. "They'll be switching from jazz standards to classic rock, Latin to blues, pop to alternative. The jazz concerts generally sell out early, so everyone should get their tickets before it's too late."

Students who will perform are:

Alma: Greg Bowles, Andrew Gardner, Kyle Scott and Jensen Smith, Jazz Band; Jordan Duff, Micheal Phan and Elyse Stogner, Jazz Catz.

Booneville: Kyle Jones, Jazz Catz.

Conway: Mykala Parker, Jazz Band.

Fort Smith: Spencer Barker, Sawyer Crenshaw, Will Davis, Christopher Ha, Ben Hines, D.J. McRoberts and Larry Nguyen, Jazz Band; Elizabeth Carter and Abby Hobbs, Jazz Catz.

Greenwood: Luke Alexander, Jered May, Andrew Morgan and Holleigh Willis, Jazz Band.

Hot Springs: Corby Smith, Jazz Catz.

Jacksonville: Andrew Jeffers, Jazz Catz.

Mena: Amber Lane, Jazz Catz.

Mulberry: Virginia Jones, Jazz Band.

Muldrow, Okla.: Zach Brown, Jazz Band.

Pocola, Okla.: Laken Emerson, Jazz Band.

Sallisaw, Okla.: Matthew Eggert, Jazz Catz.

Stigler, Okla.: Ethan Shaw, Jazz Band.

Van Buren: Caleb Capps, Jazz Band; Kalyn Tounzen and Jessica Utz, Jazz Catz.

The University's Season of Entertainment series packages national touring shows with UAFS concerts and productions by theatre and music students each year.

Tickets are available online at or by calling the UAFS Box Office at 479-788-7300.

For more information on the jazz concert, contact Bailey at 479-788-7554 or Vangjel at 479-788-7538.

Article by: Linda Boyd, Administrative Specialist, Music Department

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