By Jared Shuff
Next week is an eventful week for the Hutchinson Community College vocal and instrumental jazz ensembles.
The last jazz concert takes place on Monday, Badinage travels to Kansas City on Tuesday, and both vocal jazz ensembles perform at the Metropolitan Cafe on April 26.
The final performances will showcase the music they’ve dedicated so much time learning. Monday night will feature a variety of ensembles.
“We’re gonna have all of our jazz ensembles, essentially, with our big band, the combo, Badinage, Sonance, and lab band,” Kincaid Lightener said, a three-year member of Badinage.
Early the next morning, Badinage will be on the road to Kansas City to perform at the Kansas City Kansas Community College Jazz Festival. The group performs at 11 a.m. and will perform their favorite pieces from the year.
Finally, at the end of this hectic week, Badinage and Sonance, the vocal jazz groups under the direction of Neal Allsup, will perform one last time at the Metropolitan Cafe.
“There are three sets for Badinage and two sets for Sonance. We’ll rotate, and the last set is the big set,” said Baylee Maskill, another three-year member of the group.
The sets will mainly be acapella, including music the groups learned in choir.
Many members of Badinage have been in the group for three years now, with this year being their last.
“It’s the last one, the last time we’ll all sing together. It’s exciting, but it’s also sentimental,” Maskill said.
“I don’t think I’d still be in college if it weren’t for this group, honestly,” Kincaid said.
“It makes me sad, because this is the last vocal group that I’m pretty sure I’m ever gonna be a part of,” Allie Mendoza said, another of the super-sophomores in the group.
Maskill was terrified when she first joined the group but realized that she loved the people she was around and the things she was able to experience. From recording CDs to traveling across the country, there was never a dull moment for her.
“We don’t only learn music in there, we learn how to be a good human, and what it means to be human,” Maskill said.
The group performs a variety of different styles, with influences from pop, country, and even rap music interlaced within the overarching theme of vocal jazz. There’s something for everybody to enjoy.
Mendoza explained how this is the last time anyone will get to see this group perform since nine out of the 12 members will be leaving at the end of the semester.
Two songs stuck out as being among their favorites –“ Strasbourg St. Denis” and “Groovin’ High”.
“’Strasbourg’ is my favorite, just because a lot of the harmonies are different than the other songs, and I like the feel of it being acapella and kind of upbeat,” Mendoza said.
“Definitely would be ‘Groovin’ High’,” said Ben Pankratz, a second-year group member. “I absolutely adored the bebop style. There are no words in it all, but I love that about it because you can put your own words in there”.
Another song that resonates throughout the group is “Send in the Clowns”, originally a Broadway tune, later adapted into a vocal jazz chart by The New York Voices. Only five members of the group sing this song, creating a more intimate and tear-jerking performance.
The group is definitely prepared to end the performance with tears in their eyes.
“I know that I’m gonna cry, for sure. I’m pretty sure that all the people that are leaving are gonna cry, and I know that Neal’s gonna cry too,” Mendoza said.
“It’s not only us in Badinage, it’s Badinage in us,” Pankratz said.
The main jazz concert at Stringer Fine Arts Center is at 7:30 p.m. Monday, with doors opening at 7 pm. The performance at Metropolitan Cafe is from 7-10 p.m.