“EMU Jazz,” a big band and vocal ensemble at Eastern Mennonite University, will present its 23rd annual spring concert 7:30 p.m. Friday, Apr. 1, in Lehman Auditorium.
The 16-member group, directed by James W. Warner, specializes in jazz arrangements of hymns and spirituals as well as ballad and swing tunes. The program repertoire will range from Mike Tomaro’s “Island Breeze” to Gordon Goodwin’s arrangement of the theme from “Frazier” to “After Hours” by Jeff Benedict to “Amazing Grace,” arranged by Aaron Weitekamp.
Sarah Schlabach will perform as vocalist with the band on “Blue Skies,” “It’s Only a Paper Moon” and “Almost Like Being in Love.” Doug Wandersee will be featured on alto saxophone in “Someone to Watch Over Me,” and Caitlin Miller will be alto saxophone soloist on “Somewhere Over The Rainbow”. Greg Sachs will be featured trombone soloist on several numbers as will Ben Arnold on tenor saxophone.
Warner, who became director of the EMU Jazz ensemble in January 2005, is in his 26th year as director of bands at Harrisonburg High School. In addition to directing symphonic band, concert band, marching band and jazz ensemble, he has developed and implemented an advanced level music theory program dealing with both traditional and jazz harmony, courses in jazz solo improvisation, new programs in music technology for beginning musicians and basic music for limited English proficiency (LEP) students.
Warner earned a bachelor of music education and a master of music degree in trumpet performance from West Virginia University. Following service as a military musician, he began a 34-year career as a public school band director in Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Virginia schools. He is a former member of the Shenandoah Valley Bach Festival orchestra.
Admission to the program is free; contributions are welcomed for the EMU music student scholarship fund.