The Jazz Ensemble at Kean has long been a part of the music conservatory. Every year, a group of talented and passionate musicians come together to practice and perform jazz arrangements.
"Being involved in the jazz ensemble has sparked some of the most important friendships in my life. I have met and performed with incredible artists, directors, and peers," said Domenick Guarnaccia, trumpet player for the Jazz Ensemble.
The current ensemble has five saxophones, four trombones, two percussionists, two pianists, two trumpets, one tuba, one bass, one guitar, and five vocalists.
"Joining the jazz ensemble has been a major positive on my time here at Kean. We've been given the opportunity to perform at the [New Jersey Performing Arts Center] twice and done many other community outreach performances. These have been great experiences for a potential future as a professional musician," said Albert Johnson, saxophone player for the Jazz Ensemble.
Students can register for the jazz ensemble just like a regular class through KeanWise. The class code is "MUS*2879 JAZZ ENSEMBLE." Any students interested in joining the ensemble can contact the program director, Vincent Turturiello. Turturiello is open to letting students come to rehearsals and sit in with the ensemble, so long as they discuss this possibility beforehand.
Jazz is considered to have originated within the African American community in New Orleans. It is a style of music that is largely based on improvisation. Jazz encourages musicians to improvise solos in particular. Those that can do so successfully are incredibly skilled.
"Jazz is the original music of America, it is our music, we developed it, composed it, and have the greatest jazz musicians in the world, right here in the United States," said Turturiello. "[Jazz musicians] should be applauded, and we need to support their unbelievable skill level like we do our American athletes."
Kean University is fortunate to have the legacy of jazz continued right within the walls of Kean's Wilkins Theatre.
"This ensemble is an outstanding band comprised of dedicated students who want to perform jazz arrangements," said Turturiello. "I want the entire student body to know that this ensemble would like to invite them to be a part of jazz history."
Turturiello dismisses the thought that musicians at Kean who are not music majors cannot join the ensemble. In fact, all musicians with any interest in jazz are encouraged to contact Turturiello to be part of next semester's ensemble.
"We are trying to establish a strong jazz program at Kean that could benefit all students, not just music majors," said Turturiello.
There are many ways to get involved at Kean, and the Jazz Ensemble is a unique and fun way to do so. For more information, or to join the Kean Jazz Ensemble, email Turturiello at firstname.lastname@example.org