The SRU Jazz Ensemble held a concert in Swope Music Hall on Nov. 5th, 2023. The event included special guest, Emmy nominated musician Benny Benack III.
Benack has played on “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert” and hosted several viral web series. He is famous enough to have his own Wikipedia page and, in my opinion, is a bit of a cornball.
However, he was not the only one performing in the show. The concert began with a full set from Knoch High School’s band. You could tell the students were nervous, but they played very well nonetheless. I particularly enjoyed the multiple solos they had.
One high school student played bass with the SRU jazz band. Her nerve and ability were both very admirable. The low sounds blended perfectly with the rest of the ensemble.
One thing I particularly enjoyed about the show was the choice of songs. This year they played popular songs from jazz legends like Frank Sinatra. It was fun to watch the audience sing along with Benack.
The collegiate ensemble also featured several soloists.
While every player did extremely well, the percussion solo from Hunter Karanbaugher spoke to me the most. In the words of my friend who attended the show with me, “He kind of went nuts.” I couldn’t agree more.
His drum playing was enough to receive a celebratory gesture from Benack. My friend approached Benack after the show and asked for an autograph. He replied with, “Good thing I brought my signing Sharpie!”
I am impressed by the way an ensemble so large can harmonize while still showcasing individual talent. I love when you can see the concentration in each musician’s eyes. All of them care deeply for their craft and it shows.
As a frequent attendee of SRU concerts, I can honestly say this was the most entertaining one the Music Department has put on this semester.