Spotlight: jazz ensemble challenges beginner and experienced musicians



The Fox Valley concert band, also part of UW-Fox’s music department, performs a concert in Perry Hall • UW-Fox Valley file photo

The UW-Fox jazz band took over Perry Hall Dec. 4, playing several blues and jazz tunes free of charge to patrons. Off the stage, though, Jazz Ensemble, or MUS 074, is a cocurricular course for students of any background.

The course is open to any student in search of two UW-Fox associate degree application and performance (AP) credits and is designed for those with little or no previous experience. Jazz Ensemble introduces student to genres such as the blues and jazz.

Marc Sackman, professor of music and the jazz band’s director, said that students learn the concert pieces and other music by ear. Since the course is designed to be a learning experience, Sackman said the tunes themselves are fairly simple.

Outside UW-Fox, the course also enables students to play music at off-campus events, most notably at Jazz Week, which was hosted by Lawrence University in November. He added that the course’s tunes can also change as each student that participates has different tastes and musical abilities.

“Watching your students learn and grow is [very] enjoyable,” Sackman said.

He added that the course is also a valuable part of breadth found in a traditional liberal arts curriculum.

For those interested in enrolling in the MUS 074 course for spring 2017, the course will be held on Mondays from 3:50-5:50 p.m.

The spring semester’s Jazz Ensemble and Chorale concert is planned 7 p.m. May 7.