The University of Arkansas - Fort Smith Jazz Band and Jazz Catz will perform in concert March 29 with guest artist Rosana Eckert, an internationally recognized jazz vocalist, songwriter, arranger and educator based in Dallas. In addition, Eckert will conduct a vocal clinic at 10 a.m. that day.
Both the 10 a.m. clinic and the 7:30 p.m. concert will be held at the Arkansas Best Performing Arts Center at the Fort Smith Convention Center, 55 S. 7th St. Admission to the concert is by Season of Entertainment 32 season ticket, or individual tickets are $8. The vocal clinic is free.
Directing the Jazz Band is Dr. Matt Vangjel of Fort Smith, UAFS assistant professor of music (high brass). Don Bailey of Fort Smith, UAFS director of jazz studies, directs the Jazz Catz vocal ensemble.
Eckert has performed with a “who’s who” list of jazz greats and recently toured Europe and Scandinavia as a sub in the Grammy Award-winning vocal quartet New York Voices. She works regularly as a studio vocalist, having sung on hundreds of albums, jingles and radio IDs around the world. She is currently a vocal jazz instructor at the University of North Texas.
Bailey said he has heard Eckert perform several times in major cities across the United States.
“She is an incredible singer who can capture the heart of an audience within the first few lines of a song,” said Bailey. “She can sing in virtually any style and can scat like Ella Fitzgerald. Our students are fortunate to have this opportunity to see her in person.”
“Rosana is one of the premiere jazz vocalists out there right now, and we are thrilled that she is going to be able to perform with us,” he said.
Selections by the Jazz Band range from swing to mambo to gospel.
“We will perform favorites made famous by Count Basie and Duke Ellington, alongside a number of spiced-up arrangements of some standard tunes,” Vangjel said.
Eckert is the featured vocalist with the band in performances of “The Lady Is a Tramp,” “Only You,” “The Things We Did Last Summer” and “Only Trust Your Heart.”
Other selections to be performed by the band alone are “Perdido” by Juan Tizol and “Ah, That’s Freedom” by Thad Jones.
Eckert will perform several songs with the Jazz Catz, including “Fly Me to the Moon,” “The Key to Your Ferrari,” “No More Blues” and “Tuxedo Junction.” In addition, she will sing “Your Mind Is on Vacation” along with the Catz and the band.
The Jazz Catz repertoire will include swing, Latin, ballads, blues and pop. Vocal selections to be performed by the Catz alone are “Come Fly With Me,” “I’ve Got You Under My Skin” and “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.”
Bailey expressed his enthusiasm for the evening’s entertainment.
“Our students are excited to perform with Rosana and the Jazz Band,” said Bailey. “This is one show you won’t want to miss, so get your tickets before they sell out.”
Students who will perform are:
Alma: Brent Rowland, Jazz Band; and Micheal Phan and Elyse Stogner, Jazz Catz.
Conway: Mykala Parker, Jazz Band.
Fort Smith: D.J. McRoberts, Joseph Jarvis, Ben Hines, Spencer Barker and Larry Nguyen, Jazz Band; and Ashlea Sexton and Hunter Freeman, Jazz Catz.
Greenwood: Luke Alexander, Jered May and Andrew Morgan, Jazz Band.
Hackett: Damian Penrod, Jazz Band.
Harrison: Ellie Miller, Jazz Catz.
Hot Springs: Corby Smith, Jazz Catz.
Humboldt, Kan.: Paul Vernon, Jazz Band.
Jacksonville: Andrew Jeffers, Jazz Catz.
Mena: Amber Lane, Jazz Catz.
Mulberry: Virginia Jones, Jazz Band.
Muldrow: Austin Calvillo, Jazz Band.
Ozark: Scott Gann, Jazz Band.
Pocola, Okla.: Jessica Dodd, Jazz Catz.
Poteau, Okla.: Moriah Hayes, Jazz Catz.
San Antonio, Texas: Brian Bailey, Jazz Band.
Van Buren: Caleb Capps, Jazz Band; and Cameron Bruso and Phil Furney, Jazz Catz.
The University’s annual Season of Entertainment series packages national touring shows with UAFS concerts and productions by theatre and music students.
Tickets for the concert are available at the UAFS Box Office in the Smith-Pendergraft Campus Center or by calling 479-788-7300.
For more information on the jazz concert, contact Bailey at 479-788-7554 or Vangjel at 479-788-7538.