The Corban University Jazz Band had heads bobbing and feet tapping with its end of the school year "Sweet Suites" performance.
Hundreds of people crowded into the Psalm Performing Arts Center to hear familiar collections mixed with lesser known works. Corban Band Director Brian Griffiths entertained elicited laughs as he explained the origins of specific works and encouraged the audience to applaud, cheer or otherwise show their appreciation between sections of the suites.
"Jazz suites are much more informal than classical," said Corban Music Chair Dan Shuholm. "The way Brian designed it, each piece was meant to stand alone, yet augment the pieces before and after it."
The evening performance included five suites that paid tribute to tax day, Shakespeare, international flavors, and traditional spirituals. Several students performed solos that encouraged several cheers from the crowd.
Even Claude Bolling's "Suite for Flute and Jazz Trio," which is considered an important crossover composition between classical and jazz music, drew laughter and applause with the music's playful banter between Diane Hawkins' flute and students on the piano, bass and drums.
As he looked back on the school year, Shuholm said he was pleased with the progress made by students in the jazz band and especially their final achievement.
"The variety of music performed and the way it featured different students allowed them to stand out," he said. "It represented a solid performance, great variety and was a strong reflection of their education and dedication."