Sunday afternoon saw the start of the Christmas concert season for me. I attended a Christmas jazz concert at UMSL (University of Missouri at St. Louis). I never thought about jazz in connection with Christmas music but the idea intriqued me so I went to the program.
The musicians were students from the school. There was a string orchestra conducted by a man who was a student at Washington U when I was a student there. There was a jazz ensemble led by a different faculty member. To round out the program was a vocal group who sang some things unaccompanied and others accompanied. Their diction was great; every word was clear and distinct.
The program was structured so each group was featured. Then after each group had a chance to shine, they combined forces on some other numbers. The songs, for the most part, were familiar Christmas ones but the group just gave them a jazz flavor.
Special guests were part of the program too and they were, for the most part, music faculty members although there was a barbershop quartet which did one number. The star of the show, as far as I was concerned, was the director of the vocal group. He has a wonderful bass voice and sang “You’re A Mean One, Mr. Grinch.”
This free concert was followed by a small reception. Cake, cookies, coffee, soda, and water were offered. It was a great way to spend the afternoon. The couple I shared a table with during the reception assured me that all the student programs are equally welll done but this was the first time for the reception.