On the evening of Wednesday, April 3rd, the Frank Center Theater was the stage for “Music of The Jazz Age: Midnight in Paris with Zelda, Fitzgerald, and Hemmingway,” a musical performance inspired by the work of these inspirational figures of the early twentieth century.
The Shipley Recital Hall made for an intimate setting for the concert. Feet tapped and heads bobbed along to the beat in the packed room filled was with a lively audience, as the sound of the music transported them back to the jazz age and the roaring twenties.
“I’ve always loved jazz music and have a deep appreciation for it, so I was delighted that they played songs I was familiar with,” said Rachel Stark, senior communication and new media major who attended the performance.
Dr. Mark Cook, who played piano, also gave the audience some background on each piece they preformed and a brief history of the post WWI era and what became the jazz age. Notable songs the band played included The St. Louie Blues, Only A Paper Moon, Aint Misbehavin, Swonderful, and versions of Caravan to name a few.
Dr. Kurtis Adams, Assistant Professor and Director of Jazz Studies here at Shepherd University’s Music Department played the saxophone, and while the musical expertise of from both professors was expected, what was pleasantly surprising was the talent of both students, Dan Dunn on bass and Sawyer Gaydon on drums, who put on an extraordinary show.
“The way the band interacted with each other was lighthearted and fun, it really added to the whole experience,” said Stark.
Sponsored on by the Life Long Learning Program, Contemporary American Theatre Festival, and Shepherd University Music Department, the performance was a cultural learning experience for all who attended.
The show lasted a little over an hour, ending with a standing ovation and an improvised encore presentation. Personally, I felt that this was one of the best performances of any kind that I’ve attended in my four years here at Shepherd, and I look forward to seeing them again.