Fine Arts Week gets jazzy


The Gustavus Jazz Lab Band, Gustavus Adolphus College’s top jazz ensemble, visited York as a part of one of their tours, treating York students to two periods full of jazz music on the first day of Fine Arts Week, Mon., Feb. 27. The band was directed by Dave Stamps and featured 21 student musicians on vocals, woodwinds, trumpets, trombones, and the rhythm section.

Vocalist Preston Schulter sings “The Girl from Ipanema,” a song composed by Antonio Carlos Jobim.

They kicked off the concert with a song titled “Rachael,” featuring senior trumpet soloist Ryan Masso. There were many soloists featured on the songs, including a jazz vocalist, Preston Schlueter, who goes on tour with the band.  

It’s been a great experience,” said Schlueter. “They’ve been very warm, very inviting – I only rehearse with the band about one hour a week, so in a different situation it might feel like you were just sort of an accessory, but they’ve been great and really making me feel like a part of the band and totally at home here. Touring with them has been a lot of fun.”

The spirit of inclusion and fun is very present in the band, with students coming from all different majors playing in the ensemble.

“There are opportunities to play in all these groups regardless of your major, so I think that’s a fun thing,” said David Stamps, band director. “You get to play at a high-level group, tour around, perform in front of lots of people, and even go overseas at times.”

Dave Stamps directs the band along with serving as the Director of Jazz Ensembles and Assistant Professor of Jazz/Composition at Gustavus Adolphus College.

The band kept the atmosphere lively throughout second and third period, filling the band room with songs like “Arnge Drank,” a band favorite, and “Back in My Corner Again,” a song composed and arranged by senior trombonist Joshua Mason.

“I really enjoyed the wide variety of jazz they performed, like slow and fast jazz,” said freshman Matt Hauser. “I also liked the solos that were featured.”

Along with the wide variety of music, the band was very interactive with the audience, telling stories about a variety of topics such as their socks and Grecian travels. The spirit of celebrating individuality made their band especially enjoyable; each student’s variety of interests and personal stories were celebrated, all of them together making up the widely celebrated Gustavus Jazz Lab Band.

Trombone soloist Joshua Mason also composed one of the songs played by the band, “Back in My Corner Again.”

“It’s a wide mix of people, and I think for the jazz band especially, that’s much more enjoyable. Because of the soloing and improvisatory aspects of it, different viewpoints, different cultural backgrounds–different majors even–frames the way they think about playing music together,” said Stamps. “We have a lot of different people trying to tell their story and work together and it makes it very, very fun.”