Happiness and holiday cheer – in the form of music – will be apparent throughout the month of December at Waubonsee Community College from six groups, including the Jazz Band, the Concert Band, Chorale, Chamber Choir, Steel Band and general student recitals. The Jazz and Concert bands will kick off the concert season at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 2 in the Waubonsee auditorium.
The Jazz Band will feature swing music from the 1940s and 1950s eras; 1970s music from Woody Herman and Carole King; and music from Louie Bellson; along with “Sing, Sing, Sing” from Benny Goodman. Al Keeler from College of Lake County will be a featured drummer in the Jazz Band for one song, and in two songs with the Concert Band.
The director of the Jazz and Concert bands, Brian Patti, not only directs the two groups but also leads his own orchestra and performs at country clubs, concerts, social events, conventions and society wedding receptions. Patti is a clarinet, flute and saxophone specialist. Patti selects some of the Jazz and Concert band’s music from his own experiences.
“I picked songs from what I performed in my Jazz Band during my college days at Northwestern,” Patti said. “The songs I selected are intended for concerts, not for pop culture.”
Songs from the Concert Band, a group of 25 musicians, will include a Holst suite, along with music from Maurice Ravel.
The Chorale choir, directed by Mark Lathan, will perform in the Waubonsee auditorium at 3 p.m. Dec. 4. The Chorale will perform a mix of Christmas music, music from Eric Whitacre and classic music from Joseph Haydn. Lathan selects the songs for the Chorale based on songs from his repertoire, from listening to other choir groups and from word-of-mouth suggestions.
Lathan graduated from Northern Illinois University, where he earned a degree in performance. He studied the trumpet with Ron Modell, and the art of jazz arranging with Frank Mantooth. Lathan has composed many of his own compositions during his professional career, as well as an a capella composition version of “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” that the Chamber Choir will be performing at 3 p.m. Dec. 4 in the auditorium.
The Chamber choir, directed by Holly Schmidt, is comprised of a group of 7 students who auditioned for the group. The Chamber choir is intended for small part songs and madrigals. Schmidt selected 7 songs the Chamber Choir will sing.
“I was a high school and middle school choir director before becoming the Chamber Choir director,” Schmidt said. “I like having the choir sing challenging music and watching them become successful.”
Waubonsee Community College is one of few colleges with a Steel Band. The Steel Band, directed by Frank Check, is modeled after Northern Illinois University’s Steel Band and has been around since the 1980s. This unique band will perform at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 9 in the auditorium.
“The music from the Steel Band sounds like bell ringing music,” Lathan said. “It’s easygoing music and sounds like music you would hear from Jimmy Buffett. You can’t listen without being happy.”
Steel drums are from the islands. The drums are hammered down until they turn into pitched instruments and create sounds, according to Lathan. There are low, middle and high pitches in the band. All the drummers in the Steel Band come from a musical background. There are people of all ages, with members from the community and traditional students.
The general student recitals will wrap up the fall band and choir concert season at 3 p.m. Dec. 18 in Van Ohlen room 114 (Little Theatre). Students will perform as a part of their curriculum for studying at Waubonsee. Singers, pianists and instrumentalists will take the stage to perform a large variety of songs, including classics. Students prepare one to two pieces for their recital.
The Waubonsee auditorium is on the north side of the Sugar Grove Campus, located at Route 47 and Waubonsee Drive.
To learn more, call 630-466-7900.