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Las Vegas, N.M. – The Highlands University Department of Music presents the university’s Jazz Ensemble in concert May 2 at 7 p.m. in the Plaza Hotel Ballroom on the Historic Las Vegas Plaza.

Highlands University music professor Edward Harrington directs the Jazz Ensemble and plays bass and trombone for the ensemble. Music faculty member Kevin Zoernig is the pianist and co-director for the concert.

General admission tickets for the Jazz Ensemble concert are $10. Highlands University and other students with valid IDs are free. Harrington said there is a 10 percent discount at the Range Cafe in the Plaza Hotel for concert goers before and after the performance.  

“Our very special guest for this concert is Al Schackman, who began performing with his own jazz group in Greenwich Village in the 1950s, and then became Nina Simone’s collaborator, accompanist, musical director and arranger,” Harrington said. “Al has been featured in numerous albums and will play guitar for the concert. The students have enjoyed his musicality and down-to-earth, cheerful attitude.”

Harrington said the playlist includes a wide variety of 22 pieces such as “Dizzy Atmosphere,” “All the Things you Are,” Gritty Gravy,” “Night and Day,” Hot Enough,” “Afro Blue,” Swing Now Play Later,” “Boplicity,” “When I Fall in Love,” “Signed Sealed and Delivered,” “Blue Bayou,” and “Channel One Suite.”

Highlands University music students featured in the Jazz Ensemble include Andres Archuleta and John Ray Tafoya on trumpet; Alfredo Mondragon and Jessica Pirkle on guitar; Ben Taylor on alto saxophone; Mighty Williams on tenor saxophone; Martin Neddo-Roaque on alto saxophone and bass; and Donaciano Vigil, Jovina Sandoval and Rachael McCork on percussion.  

“Our students have worked incredibly hard this year. We have soloists on their regular instruments and also on vibraphone and piano as their second instruments. The soloists love improvising and expressing their ideas with the backing of the rhythms section. All of these outstanding musicians will demonstrate their facility with their instrument,” Harrington said.

Harrington said the concert features exceptional vocalists, the most ever for a Jazz Ensemble concert.

“We’re pleased to be featuring some talented Highlands music major vocalists including Oksana Herrera, Cierra Gomez, Dominique García-Gallegos, and Chris Soveranez. In addition, some of the instrumentalists will be singing vocal solos,” Harrington said. 

He said another highlight for the concert be several pieces that Zoernig arranged.

Las Vegas community members performing with the Jazz Ensemble include Steve Leger and Jamie García on trumpet; Bob Henssler on alto saxophone; Mark Gillingham on baritone saxophone; Sebastian Jaramillo on percussion; and John Seaton on trombone. Leroy “Pato” Lucero helped rehearse the percussion students and Bruce Holmes helped rehearse the saxophone students.    

“The Department of Music is very grateful for the valuable contributions these community members make to the students and the quality of our concerts,” Harrington said.