Throughout its history, the Jacksonville State University David L. Walters Department of Music has hosted some of the world's greatest musicians and composers. On March 14, the Jeff Hamilton Trio proved that, and this week continues in that tradition, as the JSU Bands perform a thrilling concert featuring one of the premier composers of our generation, John Mackey.
The concert starts at 7:30 p.m. tonight at the Oxford Performing Arts Center and combines the Chamber Winds ensemble with Dr. Andy Nevala's Jazz Band, and will certainly be an amazing night of music in a wonderful performance venue. The jazz band will be playing exciting and entertaining jazz pieces, while Chamber Winds will perform more traditional concert works, featuring Mackey's "The Frozen Cathedral".
This is Mr. Mackey's first ever visit to JSU. He has been working with the three Spring Bands, and offering instruction to individual students on instrumental music composition.
This is a thrill for many of the music students, and everyone’s hard work will culminate with the Chamber Winds performing “The Frozen Cathedral” for audience members and the song’s composer himself, Mr. Mackey.
The members of Chamber Winds received the concert music in January, and had the rare opportunity to spend time this week in class with Mr. Mackey.
"All of the students and I are very excited to have John Mackey here. It's a wonderful opportunity for all of us to grow as musicians. It's a great experience for the students to actually get to work with the composer of the music they are playing”, explained Director of Bands, Dr. Ken Bodiford. "John will be teaching them the subtle nuances that he expects in the piece while being performed, and we hope he will also be able to address the audience about his inspiration and meaning of ‘The Frozen Cathedral.’”
Senior Music major Chris Knight summed up his excitement, and it accurately expresses the excitement of many of his fellow students: "I've been in Chamber Winds as Principal Bassoon since 2007. I have thoroughly enjoyed preparing for this concert with such a talented group of students. We are so fortunate to have Dr. Bodiford and other great faculty members working so hard to get us to play to the best of our abilities,” said Knight. “It was outstanding to have John Mackey rehearse with us this week. We received so much feedback from him directly, and he was absolutely outstanding! To have the composer right there, telling you what he was feeling as he wrote the piece and what he intended to express in the music that you won't find on the page is a rare privilege."
Needless to say, John Mackey, as a composer and clinician, is ‘outstanding.’
Thursday night’s performance is guaranteed to be a concert to remember.
Tickets will be sold for $5 at the door at the Oxford Performing Arts Center.