Big Bands, big sounds


Sarah Day

Jazz Ensemble I performs at the Pioneer Big Bands Concert on Nov. 25. The ensemble has been active since 1965, touring Wisconsin and the try-state region. They perform at least one concert at the UW-Platteville Center for the Arts. Their next concert on campus will be held Friday, Dec. 13 in the Markee Pioneer Student Center. It will be open to students, staff and community members.

The University of Wisconsin-Platteville has hosted the Pioneer Big Bands Concert in the past, in which the Jazz 1 ensemble performed at the Markee Pioneer Student Center. However, this time they took the stage at the Center for the Arts.


The Pioneer Jazz Orchestra and Jazz 1, both directed by Allen Cordingley, performed a fall concert on Nov. 25.  Each band, composed of student members, performed a wide variety of jazz including blues, swing and funk.


The Jazz 1 ensemble is best known as the flagship ensemble for the UW-Platteville music department. Established in 1965, the band has been active on and off campus, touring Wisconsin and the tri–state region. Aside from their regular touring schedule, they perform at least one concert at the CFA per semester.


Last week’s concert was well attended, with much of the audience made up of music appreciation students.


Allen Cordingley, who is also a music appreciation professor, expressed the importance of jazz and why it is crucial for music appreciation students to attend a concert such as this.


“Jazz is the first American pop music. It’s all about learning about our heritage and where we come from,” Cordingley said.


Students within the jazz bands consider jazz an important part of American culture but also a fun way to relax.


“[Jazz] is a good way to get away from the academic side of school,” freshman mechanical engineering major Josh Roper said.


Roper is also a trumpet player in Pioneer Jazz Orchestra and formerly played in a jazz band throughout his high school years.


“I plan to continue doing jazz at UW-P for a long time,” Roper said.


Another reason musically inclined students enjoy being a part of Jazz ensembles is because they see it as an opportunity to widen their musical skills. Junior music major Chase Pebworth focuses his studies on Tuba. However, Pebworth is the guitarist for Jazz 1.


“If I didn’t play [guitar], I wouldn’t have the chance to be in Jazz 1.”


The band includes Trumpets, Saxophones, Trombones and a rhythm section; no Tubas.


“I’m glad I got the opportunity to play an instrument for fun, not for my major in this ensemble,” Pebworth said. “It’s a nice get-away.”


Jazz 1’s next performance is scheduled for Friday, Dec. 13 in the MPSC, open to students, staff and community members alike.