JSU Students Perform
at Java Jolt
The Hodgepodge Orchestra (Bruce Edminston Photos)
By Erin Chupp
The rich aroma of coffee filled Java Jolt on the square
in Jacksonville Tuesday night as nearly 55 patrons listened to live
jazz performed by the Hodgepodge Orchestra, which is comprised of five
JSU students. Many of the customers and staff at the Jolt were festively
dressed in Halloween costumes. Witches, police officers, devils, pirates
and even a giant can of Sunkist danced, enjoyed drinks and fellowship,
and relaxed to the music at candlelit tables.
The Hodgepodge Orchestra formed during December of 2005
with only three members,
all JSU music majors: Micah Kennedy (guitar), Joe Skaggs (bass) and
Aron Thompson (alto sax). After gaining popularity and experience playing
at the Grind Coffeehouse in Gadsden, the band welcomed JSU music students
Steven Ellison (drums) and Arnold Montgomery (tenor sax).
The five-piece group now performs in clubs, coffee houses,
festivals and restaurants throughout the southeast, including Tuesday
and Thursday nights in November at Java Jolt from 7-9.
"We're just doing what we love and working hard at it,"
This December will mark a large step for these musicians:
the one year anniversary of the group, a big gig in Knoxville, Tennessee
for New Year's Eve, and the tentative release of their first demo CD.
All coming from different cities, the group says music
is their common ground, and that somehow when they come together to
play, everything just clicks. The band's repertoire ranges from jazz
standards to popular cover songs to original compositions.
"I didn't expect them to be so good the first time I heard
them," says Java Jolt owner Bruce Edminston. "They really surprised
He says he doesn't know how they affect the business in
exact dollars, but he does know there is always a crowd when the Hodgepodge
Edminston and his wife, Crystal, who also loves Hodgepodge's
blend and sound, opened the store April 22.
"Second only to gasoline, coffee is the most traded
product in the world," Crystal says. This coffee connoisseur has wanted
to open up a shop for at least 20 years. She says it was a dream that
kept coming back to her, and when she saw a need for a coffee shop
in Jacksonville, she sought to fill both desires.
The Edminston's are slowly adding new features to their
shop every month. First, it was longer hours of operation and then
it was soups and sandwiches. They have already obtained their beer
and wine license and hope to begin providing these beverages soon.
For now, their newest excitement is live music on several evenings.
Another local performer, Abby Parks is scheduled to
play Wednesday night, providing a folksier backdrop of sound.
As for the members in Hodgepodge, they are balancing classes
with an average of three rehearsals and three performances each week.
A taste of their sound can be heard at www.myspace.com/hodgepodgeorchestra.
"We get direct application from the things we learn
in class;" says Thompson, "this is a unique opportunity most students
for news releases by using the request form at www.jsu.edu/newswire/request.