Jazzin’ it up

Band alumnus returns for Arts & Letters concert

Saxophone artist Don Black will take center stage when Meridian Community College’s Arts & Letters Series presents the MCC Jazz Band for an evening a music on Thursday, Nov. 14, at 7 p.m. in the McCain Theater.

Carey Smith, the conductor of the MCC Jazz Band, leads this program of jazz that will play well-known tunes from the swing and big band era including PerdidoDoin’ Basies’ ThingBye Bye BlackbirdSomewhere Over the RainbowLife of the PartyDesignated Swinger and Red Beans and Rice (written for Doc Severinsen and the Tonight Show Band).

The MCC Jazz band was formed in 1981 when Smith became director of bands. It has been open to MCC students and community members. In 1984, the group was invited to perform at the World’s Fair in New Orleans; in 1991, they were a part of the centennial anniversary of Carnegie Hall, where several bands from around the United States and the Count Basie Orchestra were spotlighted. Since 1982, the group has featured top names in the jazz idiom on most of the concerts.

Originally from York, Ala., Black played with the MCC Jazz Band when it went to Carnegie Hall. He attended Berklee College of Music and received his degree in music from Stillman College. Today, he works at Universal Studios in the Blues Brothers Band and in Disney World also daily. With three albums under his belt, Black now is working on his next album.

“We’re very excited to have him back,” said Smith, who noted the Nov. 14 concert will feature Black performing many of the numbers.

Joining Black will be the members of the MCC Jazz Band including Sue Shoffiett, flute; Rick Bennett, 1st alto saxophone and flute; Brendon Boyd, 2nd alto saxophone; Dani Colenber, first tenor saxophone; Sabina Ivy, 2nd tenor saxophone; Nichol Kadler, baritone saxophone; Mark Hatch, 1st trumpet; Christopher Lyons, 2nd trumpet; Pam Posey, 3rd trumpet; McKenzie Barnhardt and Zahrya Harrison, 4th trumpets; Evan Derrick, 1st trombone; Jeff Sorey, 2nd trombone; Ron Pose, 3rd trombone; Danny Rushing, 4th trombone; Daniel Boles, piano; Will Roland, bass; and Scott Kratzer, drums.

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