J-term is for Jazz

Here we are, halfway through the month of January, and over halfway finished with the beloved month of J-term at Erskine.  This Friday is the official end of my class, because that is the day of my final project – a musical revue – which has become tradition at Erskine during J-term.

Ever since my Freshman year, there has been a senior in the music department who spent three weeks in January compiling a musical revue for their J-term, and I’ve had the pleasure of being involved in all of them.  It began the first year as the final project of a senior music major, in lieu of a recital in the spring, and has been taken up by someone every year since.  The first two years began as musical theatre shows, highlighting a variety of great music from Broadway.  Last year, my friend Elizabeth did a show featuring all 80’s music, and this year I decided put together a revue of vocal jazz music.

Though we have a jazz band at Erskine, and the Chamber Singers often do some vocal jazz repertoire, there are not very many other opportunities at Erskine to explore jazz music.  I have always had an interest in and love of this genre, though I have limited training (limited meaning one year of jazz band in high school and singing jazz songs here and there in choir).  However, I thought it would be a great chance to stretch my own musical knowledge and abilities, and to open up the opportunity other musicians at Erskine, so I decided to take on the challenge.

I began the process in the fall, sifting through great jazz songs and familiarizing myself with more standards, and holding auditions at the end of November.  After choosing my cast of a dozen, recruiting a pianist, bass guitarist, and drummer, I distributed music just before the holidays and relaxed a bit over Christmas break.  Once January came it was back to work, and the rehearsals began. The last two weeks have been full of trial and error, stress and excitement, fun and work, singing and dancing, and lots of music.  Hard to believe there is only one more week left!  Three weeks, it seems, is not a very long time.  I’ll post later about how it all goes, but by this point I feel confident that everything will come together nicely – I just have to make it to Friday to see it.