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Great Arts at Eastern this week talks with Jason Paulk, Richard Schwartz, Maegan Stegemoeller, and I

This week on Great Arts at Eastern, Jeff Gentry talks with Jason Paulk, Richard Schwartz, Maegan Stegemoeller, and Iysha Melton of ENMU's Department of Music about the upcoming Swanee Singers and the Jazz Ensemble concert.

Your concert with Swanee Singers and the Jazz Ensemble is set for February 20th. How did this collaboration come about? Richard Schwartz states: "Well, it started out a few years ago. Dr. Jason Paulk and I; he stopped by my office saying: 'hey, would you like to have a concert together. Would you like to collaborate?' So, I think this is about our third year?"

Will do you do all your sets independently, or will everyone play together some? Jason states, "So we will do some independently and some collaboration. We have two tunes that we are doing together: setting of L-O-V-E and Fly Me to the Moon. My students have been working on some scat singing and some improv or some good jazz techniques."

Richard states: "So there are essentially four areas or four sections of the concert. First, there are the jazz combos. Second, there will be the Suwanee singers by themselves. The Suwanee singers with the jazz ensemble and then the jazz ensemble will close out the concert."

"That's entertainment. Isn't there a different electricity there? For which Maegan adds: "I think it really adds to the performance to had both the Suwanee singers and the jazz ensemble."

 When questioned about when the Suwanee singers are singing without the jazz ensemble, who their accompanists will be? Iysha responds: "Our accompanist is Mrs. (Kayla) Paulk. She is an absolutely astounding and amazing accompanist (for our concert). Not only that, Rebecca Lucero will be performing with one of the songs that we have Clear Blue Morning by Dolly Parton." Rebecca Lucero will be on flute. Jason adds that it will be "-an interesting arrangement to because it's completely Acappella all except for this flute part at the beginning and an Obligato at the end. It is very nice."

Iysha states that she likes singing with a full band. "I absolutely love it. And I absolutely love even singing with Acappella even though it is very difficult because there are times where I always depend on the pianist. But when you're singing Acappella, it is amazing, and with the band to it, it's outstanding too. Because when you hear mostly when it comes to jazz music, you hear all the good singers like Nat King Cole and Frank Sinatra when they sing the big band. It is absolutely Astounding and I am really excited to perform with the jazz band."

Maegan, you play alto saxophone. What is it about jazz that appeals to you as a musician. She states: "Just listening to jazz, it's a really enjoyable thing to play."

To the professors, what are some qualities that Iysha and Maegan bring to the table? Jason adds that "Well, Iysha, I have been working with her for some four years now. She's graduating this spring, and so she's a senior, and she brings some leadership and some real enthusiasm. When Dr. Schwartz and I are talking about putting together some materials to help the seniors to help to better improvisers. She was one of the first to respond when I sent those materials out. "I have listened to and read all of this, and I have listened to two examples. And I am really excited at trying this."

Richard adds: "I have been working with Meghan for over three years now. Just about 4 years. And she has taken part in jazz combos. She has been part of the jazz ensembles. She plays jazz, and I'm really excited about just one venue in which she can't enjoy performing jazz. I'm so glad that she's part of the ensemble.

What do these two professors bring to the table? Iysha states that "With Dr. Paulk (What he) put(s) on the table is also leadership. He always wants us to improve more and do this. And I will. I meant he wants us to get more into the music, and I remember for our (cover of) 'Since You've Been Gone' One of the songs that will be performed. He says that we have to make it our own because there are times we want to be like a course choir. With since you've been gone, you can't be thinking like you have a course you have to seems like it's your own. And we can get very loose with everything."

Swanee Singers and Jazz Ensemble Concert

Buchanan Hall, ENMU Music Building (MB)

Thursday, February 20th, 2020, at 7 p.m.

All the great arts at Eastern are found at <enmu.edu/fineartsevents> And learn more about this program at KENW.org.