PORTALES—Eastern New Mexico University’s Jazz Ensemble will perform their annual Big Band Dance on Friday, Nov. 13 from 7–10 p.m. at the State Theatre in Clovis on 5th and Main Street. Tickets are $5 general admission.
The three-hour dance will heavily feature music from 1935 through 1945, including famous composers such as Glen Miller, Artie Shaw and Les Brown.
This is the eighth year the Jazz Ensemble has performed and arranged the Big Band Dance. Dr. Chris Beaty, associate professor of music and director of the jazz studies program, says the State Theater is the perfect venue for the Big Band Dance. He says the owner of the State Theater, Bill Case, was a bandsman in the Army. When he bought the theater, he designed the stage with risers for a big band performance.
The talents of ENMU students Adrienne Carver of Los Alamos and Rojun Alexander of Albuquerque are slated to be featured as part of the performance. “Adrienne usually does the vocals for the Big Band music and Rojun does more of the rock vocals,” says Beaty.
“It really is lots of fun and it’s become quite the student gathering,” he says. “We’ll be playing music that will appeal to people of all ages.” In years past, Beaty has seen many people dress the part with 1930’s and 40’s fashions.
Another group who has frequented the Big Band Dance previously are the students at the Art Academy in Clovis. “They teach the kids waltzes, cha-cha and ballroom dancing,” says Beaty. “It’s neat to see the dance floor fill up with all these third-, fourth- and fifth-graders dancing.”
The students benefit greatly from the performance. “It’s on-the-job training for the students and very close to what they would experience in a working environment, sight-reading pieces they barely know,” says Beaty. Considering most students are accustomed to practicing around 10 pieces for eight rehearsals, the Jazz Ensemble has practiced 30 to 35 pieces in eight rehearsals.
Beaty says to those who have never been to the Big Band Dance, “You’re missing out.”
This year, the Jazz Ensemble is also performing at the Formal Dinner Dance for Lend-a-Hand Inc. of Roswell at the Joy Center on Saturday, Nov. 21. “It will be a different audience so we will change the repertoire a little bit,” says Beaty.
For more information on both performances, contact Beaty at 575.562.2471.