RSU Jazz Band Announces First Concert Schedule

The new Jazz Band at Rogers State University has announced its first concert schedule, including performances on March 1 and April 19 that feature a variety of musical styles ranging from big band to rock fusion.

The concerts, which are free and open to the public, will begin at 7 p.m. in the Will Rogers Auditorium on the RSU campus in Claremore.

“We had a wonderful turnout for the auditions and the jazz band now numbers more than 20 people,” said Joseph Cernuto, RSU band director. “We’ve begun rehearsals and are really looking forward to performing for the campus and our community.”

Both concerts will feature a mixture of traditional big band swing, modern rock fusion, funk, Latin Jazz and other styles, according to Cernuto.

RSU Jazz Band musicians include RSU students, area high school students and members of the community. “We have a mix of people with varying levels of ability, performance styles and experience,” he said. “The dynamic of the band has been very positive – the younger students are really benefiting from the seasoned experience of the older band members.”

The first concert will open in the tradition of the big band style with Count Basie’s “April in Paris.” The performance will move on to a variety of contrasting musical styles including “Soul Man,” the rock-funk classic written by Isaac Hayes and made popular by the Blues Brothers. “Both pieces will show what a modern big band is capable of doing,” Cernuto said.

The band also will present a new song titled “Blow Torch” by Les Sabina, which is an example of the modern funk sound, Cernuto said. In addition, the band will play “One for Winnette,” a jazz ballad by Dean Sorenson, featuring a trumpet solo by Marvin Holmes of Claremore, and “Rooster Parade,” a jazz-rock fusion piece by Les Hooper that is fast and rhythmic, according to Cernuto.

The show will close with another traditional big band standard, “In the Mood,” by Joe Garland, which was made popular by the Glenn Miller Orchestra.

A trumpet player, Cernuto previously served as director of bands at West Rowan High School in Mount Ulla, N.C. He also taught at high schools in Florida and served as a teaching assistant at the University of Florida, where he was on the staff of that institution’s 375-member marching band. He has experience as a music educator, band director, jazz musician and musical theatre musician. He received master’s and bachelor’s degrees from the University of Florida in Gainesville.

For more information on the RSU Jazz Band and its first concert schedule, contact Cernuto at (918) 343-7723 or at [email protected].