Jazz ensemble to livestream Christmas concert


Maggie Tregre/The Lion’s Roar

Some members of the jazz ensemble dressed up in Christmas apparel for rehearsal. The concert will be livestreamed from KSLU’s Facebook page and will feature Christmas songs such as “Christmas Time is Here,” “Deck the Halls,” “It Came Upon a Midnight Clear” and “Jingle Bells.”

As the holiday season approaches, the university’s jazz ensemble will get into the swing of things with a big band Christmas concert.

On Wednesday, Nov. 18, KSLU will stream the concert live from the recital hall to their Facebook page at 7:30 p.m. There will be no live audience for the concert.

Michael Brothers, director of jazz and percussion studies, explained that live streaming concerts not only allows the music department to showcase their students, but it also provides an opportunity for broadcasting students to gain experience.

“It started out with Dr. Amber Narro in the communications department,” mentioned Brothers. “She’s been spearheading the project. She’s done the first handful of concerts by herself. She’s setting it up so that the students working with her will get to help live stream the concerts. The students will be doing it, so they’ll get a lot of hands-on experience. It’s a win-win for everybody. We have a way to get our concerts out, and the students are getting more practical experience.”

KSLU has been streaming concerts throughout the semester. Some were also filmed by The Southeastern Channel. Brothers shared how many audience members have tuned in to watch the performance.

“During the livestream itself, it’s been a few hundred people,” stated Brothers. “When it’s archived on their page for people to go back later and watch it, we’re getting into the two and three thousands.”

Brothers decided to make the jazz ensemble’s second performance of the semester a Christmas concert after receiving a donation to the jazz library.

“When we got the donation, I started thinking, ‘We’ve got all these Christmas charts, and this has kind of been the year from hell, so I think we should have Christmas early and get the year over with early,’” shared Brothers. “So, I decided to make the second concert a Christmas big band concert.”

The 19-member ensemble has found other ways to get into the spirit of Christmas for their performance.

“It’s now kind of taken on a life of its own,” commented Brothers. “One of my students asked, ‘Can we wear ugly Christmas sweaters?’ and I said, ‘Absolutely.’ I think it’s great because the students have gotten really into this, and they’re playing really well. I think it’s a big release for them after everything we’ve dealt with. It’s going to be a lot of fun.”

Chasidy Miller, a junior music major, is a percussionist for the jazz ensemble. Miller has been playing for 16 years and has been involved with the jazz program ever since she transferred to the university after her freshman year. She explained how this semester has compared to previous ones.

“It hasn’t been easy, but it’s been doable,” noted Miller. “It’s been a different experience but definitely beneficial for all of us. We’re just learning and adapting as we go.”

Miller decided to get into the Christmas spirit by decorating her drum set.

“I was in class one day and jokingly proposed that Mr. Brothers let me decorate my drumset for the concert,” explained Miller. “To my surprise, he didn’t turn me down. He paused for a moment, looked at me, chuckled and said, ‘That’s a great idea. Have fun with it.’ My good friend, Jeremy Stringer, jokingly asked me one day, ‘Wouldn’t it be funny if we dressed up your cymbal hardware like candy canes?’ And from there, the floodgates of my brain were opened wide.”

What Miller misses the most about live performances are the audience’s reactions to the music.

“Live streamed concerts are definitely not the same as having a live audience,” said Miller. “There’s just a certain vibe and energy that comes with having people there with you, anxiously waiting for us to play the next tune. The applause. The hoops and hollers. Without that, there’s just silence. I miss having people there to smile at as we stand and bow after a well-played concert.”

However, she mentioned that she is thankful for the opportunity to perform, regardless of the restrictions.

“I know we’ll get back there one day — it’s just the world we live in for now,” said Miller. “It’s unfortunate, but we are so glad to at least have access to live streaming.”

Brothers mentioned that he is glad the students still have the opportunity to perform, even if it is through a live stream rather than for a live audience.

“It’s great for the students because they’ve worked hard under some pretty trying circumstances,” said Brothers. “I was determined that they were going to have their concerts one way or the other.”