Art & Life

Gettin’ jazzed up: Kirkwood jazz program doubles in size

Piano is one of the many instruments used in jazz band along with brass, wood winds and rhythm sections. PHOTO BY LIZ SCHULTZ

Rising interest in Kirkwood Community College’s music program has led to the creation of a second jazz ensemble this semester. 

Both groups consist of six saxophones, five trombonists, a large rhythm section and a search for trumpets in the Tuesday/Thursday group. 

The band program at Kirkwood has expanded within the two years after COVID-19, benefiting students and the program in the long run. 

November’s instrumental jazz concert featuring world-class musician Chad Lefkowitz-Brown sparked Kirkwood’s enrollment and interest in jazz band. 

Music director Joe Perea said, “The two jazz bands are a great opportunity to get student involvement while having fun and playing music outside classical. The campus radio station, KCCK 88.3, has middle school jazz camps and the Corridor Jazz Project, which segues students into Kirkwood’s jazz program.”

Increasing opportunities for jazz students this semester are bolstered by a new monthly event arranged by Perea. Every third Thursday of the month at 7 p.m., a jam session is held on the first floor of Iowa Hall. 

The event is open to the public but geared toward high school and college-aged students and led by Iowa City jazz bandleader Blake Shaw. 

The first jam session, held on Jan. 19, attracted many musicians from not only Kirkwood but also other area colleges and high schools.

Moving forward, the jazz concert at the end of the semester in April will include the two jazz groups, Cedar Rapids Jazz and the jazz improvisation class. 

Perea also stated his goal is to ensure that students “have fun while taking on lots of different music styles and express creativity.” 

Many new faces have been circulating in both jazz bands as interest continues to grow. One jazz group meets Tuesdays and Thursdays from 4:30 – 6 p.m. and the other on Mondays and Wednesdays from 3:30 – 5 p.m.

Image courtesy of Liz Schultz

Categories: Art & Life