swinging with the band

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By The Staff

Lively numbers by Chuck Mangione, Duke Ellington, Dean Sorenson and Dizzy Gillespie will ring Ilfeld Auditorium during the Swing and Latin pulse of the New Mexico Highlands University Concert Band and Jazz Ensemble in a concert on April 18 at 7 p.m.

Featured pieces include Fly Me to the Moon, Caravan and Birdland. This semester’s concert and jazz band includes students who major and minor in music performance and education.

“When I started planning for our spring concert, I looked at our band and thought wow, this could be a big band.” said Edward Harrington, professor of bands in Highlands’ Music Department. “So, I picked out the best Latin and jazz pieces we have in our library. They're not easy charts, but the students have worked hard. We have a number of soloists who really shine.”

Harrington first came to Highlands in the fall of 2006, where he only had only a handful of band students. Since then, he has increased enrollment by 100 percent.

“The first band is nearly all Highlands students, but we also have one West Las Vegas High School trumpet player and my wife, June, on tenor sax. The Jazz Ensemble is mostly community members, however, we are happy to have two WLV high school musicians in this group. The students, especially the music education majors, really benefit from performing with the talented community members.”

Harrington said he is especially proud of his students, but also of the community members who participate in the Jazz Ensemble.

“The Jazz Ensemble has some awesome performers like Emily Maestas, Steve Leger, Lee Norman Gonzalez, and Ralph Marquez. It's really an honor to have them in the band,” Harrington said, noting it fulfills his goal to give the students the experience of working with professionals. The Jazz Ensemble will perform such Latin pieces as Children of Sanchez by Chuck Mangione and El Rey Timbal by Tito Puente.

General admission is $8 and $5 for senior citizens, HU faculty, and staff. Students with valid I.D. will be admitted free.