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April 4, 2013

Jazz Cabaret tonight

Swing choir, jazz band to perform

Logansport High School’s jazz band members will get a little extra treat before tonight’s Jazz Cabaret — 90 minutes of improvisation coaching from one of the area’s trumpet and jazz performers.

Bruce Knepper, an LHS alum now teaching jazz and trumpet performance at Jefferson High School in Lafayette, will be a guest trumpet soloist during the Jazz Cabaret at 7 p.m. today in the McHale Performing Arts Center. He’ll join high schoolers in both the jazz band and the swing choir for the performing arts department’s annual jazz concert.

Ned Boyd, who became Logansport High School’s band director last fall, said he and Knepper worked closely at Jefferson High in the past. “I was thinking we’d like to have somebody come, and then, well, I was like, ‘this is a no-brainer,’” said Boyd.

Knepper graduated from Logansport High School in 1978 and went on to perform professionally and teach. He’ll present a clinic about jazz music, including improvisation, this afternoon for Boyd’s jazz band players.

Then in the evening, they’ll put some of their improvisation skills to use, said Boyd.

The roughly 20 students in the jazz band will perform four pieces, including “some real swingers,” said Boyd. Some students will play improvised solos during the pieces.

They’ll be joined by the swing choir, a 30-member ensemble, to round out the hour-long concert.

“It’s kind of nice because it allows the swing choir to do a whole eight-piece set,” said Tim Cahalan, choir director for the Logansport schools.

The set will include songs from the musicals “Kiss Me Kate,” “Godspell” and a rendition of “The Wizard of Oz” written by Andrew Lloyd Webber, as well as such classics as “Anything Goes” by Cole Porter.

For the performers, the highlight may well be a disco medley of songs like “Celebrate,” “Saturday Night Fever” and “It’s Raining Men.”

“It starts with the guys doing the falsetto,” explained Cahalan. “When we did that at our March concert, it got quite a reaction from the audience.”

The concert is free and will remain an informal music-only event, said Cahalan, rather than a full-fledged traditional cabaret. He’s hoping to see 200 to 300 attend.

Sarah Einselen is news editor for the Pharos-Tribune. She can be reached at sarah.einselen@pharostribune.com or 574-732-5151.

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