Murray State University to host 'Swing into Spring' event

Murray State University to host 'Swing into Spring' event

MURRAY, KY (KFVS) - The historic Lovett Auditorium at Murray State will be swinging with the sounds of three big bands and two small groups, as well as a live radio broadcast on 91.3 WKMS, as it would have been made from a remote location in the 1930s or 1940s.

The event will take place on Tuesday, April 25  at 7:30 p.m.

Dr. Todd E. Hill, director of jazz studies at Murray State University, has invited the vocal talents of radio announcer Mark Welch, plus the duo of Dr. Trey and Dr. Vee (played by Dr. Robert Valentine and Dr. Robert McGaughey) to add comedic bits and announcements to set the mood of a live broadcast from the big band era.

Although not limiting their repertoire to music of the 30s and 40s, the bands will concentrate on materials in the swing style and feature standards by student vocalists Melanie Davis, a senior from Mt. Vernon, Indiana, and Kayla Litte,a  junior from Murray, Kentucky.

Featured selections during the evening will include "On a Clear Day," "Tall Cotton," "Someone to Watch Over Me," "Sway," "The Way I Feel About You," "Don't Know Why," "Hit the Ground Running" and "The First Circle" by the Jazz Orchestra" among many others.

"Preparing to do this has been a challenge for the students," Hill said. "Timing becomes everything. I think there will be something here for everybody to enjoy, and although we want folks to listen via WKMS, we are looking for a big "studio" audience to help lead the applause to really give it the feel of an old-fashioned broadcast.

"We want people to come and sit down toward the front, for the "give and take" needed to pull in the radio audience."

This is the fifth year for the "Swing Into Spring" event, which kicked off during Dr. Hill's first year at Murray State.

Under Hill's direction, the Murray State Jazz Orchestra has been featured by invitation at the Kentucky Music Educators Conference, the prestigious Elmhurst College Jazz Festival and the famed Mid-West International Band and Orchestra Clinic.

The group has recorded and released two albums since 2014.

Dr. Hill will direct the Jazz Orchestra and small combos, while graduate assistant Jonathan Nash of Paris, Tennessee will direct the MSU Jazz Band and Jazz Lab Big Band on the broadcast.

The event is free and open to the public.

Those who come early will get to enjoy a pre-concert sound check by the Jazz Lab Big Band and the Gold Jazz Combo.

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