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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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A&M University Jazz Band to showcase talents

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Photo courtesy of Chris Hollar

The Texas A&M University Jazz Band performs in Rudder Auditorium on 

The Texas A&M Jazz Band will perform a unique set of contemporary jazz pieces that will showcase and capture their talent.

On Nov. 13, the Texas A&M Jazz Band, composed of students in the Jazz 501 and 502 classes, will be performing in Rudder Theatre at 2 p.m., showcasing a variety of pieces that display what they’ve learned and aim to reach a diverse audience.

These jazz performances are continuous and held twice each semester. University Jazz Band Director Chris Hollar said the specific jazz pieces that he selects are intended to display a variety of music.
“I try and play something that’s kind of old, maybe from the 1940s or 1950s. I try to play something that’s from the ‘60s. I just try and cover different generations,” Hollar said. “I always try to include some Latin pieces, you know, or some Afro-Cuban. I try to present a pretty diverse program and I think people like that.”

These concerts have grown larger and also expanded the band and arts programs. Hollar said the program has immensely grown since he started at A&M 19 years ago, as there was no orchestra and only one jazz ensemble at the time.

“We didn’t have an orchestra, there was no Mozart being played on this campus. Liberal arts was not a big thing here,” Hollar said. “The school has really grown. The arts part of it has really grown a lot, because there’s so many students, and they all had this in high school and they want to continue it in college. Now we have two orchestras, we have two jazz bands, we have three choirs and we have everything that every other university music department has, except for the degree.”

Appearances off-campus in Bryan also raise awareness about the jazz band, Hollar said.

“I also take the band to Bryan and play in the Palace Theater. We’ve given concerts over at Wolf Pen Creek to try and get a little more out into the community,” Hollar said. “Another thing that’s really grown is my audience. I remember the first four or five years I was here, I’d be lucky to have 100 people at my concert. And now I have 300 to 400 people at my concert.”
For the students, jazz music is important to them not only because they love it, but also because they can continue the legacy of jazz players that preceded them. Telecommunication media studies sophomore and trombone player Ellie O’Connell, said her favorite part of jazz is studying the history behind it.

“Whenever I play a new piece I really like to learn about the history behind it and the people who play that piece,” O’Connell said. “It’s just such an important form of music because so many people from marginalized backgrounds were able to express themselves through that music and their voices were heard for the first time. I think it’s just so important to continue that on.”

Accounting junior and saxophone player Clayton Crawford said performing jazz music provides him self-expression and also enjoys having an audience.

“You can express yourself a little bit better through jazz, especially when you’re taking a solo or if there’s a big solo section,” Crawford said. “Whenever we finish, everybody’s all standing up and clapping and they’re all smiling and they’re just happy. And I don’t know, jazz makes me happy and I like getting to see it make other people happy.”

According to O’Connell, jazz means more than many presume.

“Jazz is so much more than notes on a page,” O’Connell said.
To learn more about how to join the University Jazz Bands, visit https://musa.tamu.edu/auditions/ or visit http://boxoffice.tamu.edu to purchase tickets.

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About the Contributor
Sydnei Miles
Sydnei Miles, Head Life & Arts Editor
Sydnei Miles is a communication sophomore and journalism minor from Houston, Texas. She began reporting for The Battalion in the fall 2022 semester covering culture and community events happening on and around campus. Since January 2024, Sydnei has served as The Battalion's head Life & Arts editor and previously served as the assistant Life & Arts editor for some of the spring 2023 semester and for the fall 2023 semester.
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