Member of the Louisiana Philharmonic attracts a crowd

Evan Conroy fills the Pottle Hall Auditorium with jazz from the '20s. Jacob Summerville/The Lion's Roar

A lively duet performance presenting talent from the Hammond area was held in the Pottle Hall Auditorium.

Louisiana Philharmonic tenor and bass trombonist Evan Conroy, along with Associate Professor of Piano Dr. Henry Jones, played a five-song set list filled with jazz from the early 20th century on Tuesday, Oct. 24.

The show started with the song “Elegy for Mippy II” by Leonard Bernstein. Conroy explained after the first song that Bernstein wrote an elegy for each of his family’s animals, and the one written for Mippy II could be played on bass trombone. The next piece titled “Ballade” was one of Conroy’s favorite songs from that night.

 

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“I really liked the Bozza piece a lot, the second piece I played,” said Conroy. “It’s got a really smoky, jazz-club feel, and there’s a lot of different characters you could play while playing the music, and that’s something that I’m always interested in doing.”

After a brief intermission, the show continued with a song called “Concerto in One Movement” by Alexei Lebedev. One attendee explained in detail why this piece was his favorite.

“I really enjoyed ‘Concerto in One Movement’ because he put so much personality into the music, and you could hear who he was through the tone,” said music education major Wesley Romano. “With every move he made with the slide, I knew he was going in a direction. There was so much direction and sound as he went through these lines, and the music always seemed like it was going somewhere. You knew where he was when he ended the piece on that long note, and he lets you know ‘I am the sky, and I expressed that through this whole entire piece.’”

The duet finished the night by performing “Variations of Dona Nobis Pacem” by David Fetter and “Fantaisie Concertante” by Jacques Castérède. Conroy explained that “Fantaisie Concertante” was a French piece originally written for the saxhorn, but since that instrument is not commonly used, the piece is usually played by a tuba or a bass trombone.

After the performance ended, Conroy explained how his interest in music performance peaked.

“I heard a trombone choir when I lived in Michigan playing an arrangement of Mario themes when I was in high school,” said Conroy. “I thought it was the coolest thing ever to hear on the trombone, and then from there, it grew. I got really interested in classical music, and then that branched off into jazz. So, it was really just hearing music and thinking ‘I would really want to do that. I’d really want to play that.’”

Conroy also said that this was his first performance at the university despite living in the area for the past six years. Through his camaraderie with Dave Johansen, he could bring his talents to the university. He then described the process of choosing the trombone over his other options.

“Honestly, because the trombone doesn’t have buttons,” said Conroy. “I wanted to play the oboe when I was in middle school, and my mom said, ‘No.’ And then, she said, ‘Go back and look for another one.’ The trombone was the only one that had a slide. It was the only one that was different, and I really got hooked. I got interested with its sound.”

The department of fine and performing arts will be hosting a percussion studio recital in the Pottle Hall Auditorium on Nov. 13 at 6 p.m. 

 

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