Normal West Jazz Voices appear at Illinois Wesleyan’s jazz night

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The Jazz Voices got to spend their Friday doing what they love most, singing and performing for an audience at the Music Center on IWU’s campus.

Normal West’s Jazz Voices is an extracurricular group that meets  two times each week. The group has seventeen members who all auditioned to be placed in the highly-regarded performing group.  The group is led by the one and only choral director at Normal West, Mrs. Sarah Williams. Williams has a great admiration for jazz and loves sharing the genre with her students.

Many people from the community contact Williams looking for entertainment. If the opportunity seems to be available to a majority of the group then they call it a gig. “It is exciting to be able to perform for the community and get to experience other audiences than we do for the concerts we host here at West,” said Michaela Marshall, sophomore who has been a member of the group for two years.

Miss Laura Rupert is a student for IWU and has been a student teacher for choir this whole semester. She also has stayed for all the Jazz Voices rehearsals and provides  helpful insight to the group. Her connection between IWU’s music department and with Normal West’s department made it possible for Jazz Voices to perform on their campus at their jazz night. “It was lovely performing for an audience of other young, talented musicians that also are interested in the jazz culture,” said Abby Sire, a junior in her first semester in the group.

The group performed three pieces that featured improvisation. Improvisation or scatting is a skill that Mrs. Williams introduces to many of the students for the first time. She teaches them how to listen for the key changes in the music and illustrate their own creative musical ideas over the combo. “My favorite thing about scatting, is listening to how different everyone sounds! Everyone has such great ideas and no one represents the exact same emotion,” said Nathan Anton (11), in his third year with Jazz Voices. The group also performed the popular Frank Sinatra hit “All or Nothing at All”.

Jazz Voices is thrilled they got to be apart of the university’s performance. They all had a wonderful time do bopping and do do sha bopping.