The Unified Jazz Ensemble Comes to CSM

| By Tina Roach |

The College of Southern Maryland’s Ward Virts Concert Series welcomed The Unified Jazz Ensemble to the stage on Nov. 1.

The Unified Jazz Ensemble performed 10 songs from various jazz legends such as Duke Ellington and Pee Wee King in addition to original jazz compositions.

The ensemble also performed jazz renditions of songs like “Crazy” by Willie Nelson.

“I thought it was excellent,” said Barbara Robertson, a resident of the Wildewood Village retirement community who attended the performance.

Those who reside in Wildewood Village have access to a private bus that transports members of the community to many events, according to seniorhomes.com.

The audience in attendance consisted of senior citizens, middle-aged individuals and college students, with the exception of an elementary school-aged boy who sat in the front row beating on his leg to the rhythm of the music.

According to Dr. Stephen Johnson, communication arts, and humanities department chair at CSM, The Ward Virts Concert series was created to honor the memory of talented Southern Maryland pianist, Ward Virts who passed away suddenly in 1993.

Family members, colleagues and friends of Virts came together to establish the concert series as a way to celebrate his talent and expose Southern Maryland audiences to various musical groups and solo acts, said Johnson.

“It maintains a relationship with the community….I think it’s a good opportunity for CSM students to see quality performances,” said Johnson on the importance of holding events such as this at the college.

When selecting artists to perform in the concert series, Johnson looks for diversity in the musical genres. He also looks for ways to showcase the piano, because an Austrian grand piano was gifted to the Prince Fredrick Campus courtesy of the Ward Virts Piano Project.

Johnson seeks out talent in the Southern Maryland area as well Baltimore, Virginia, Delaware and North Carolina to bring live music to CSM.

The Ward Virts concert series hosts a total of six concerts a year; two in the fall and four in the spring.

All performances in the series are held at the College of Southern Maryland’s Prince Fredrick Campus in multipurpose room 104 in the B building.

The concerts are free and donations are appreciated, but not mandatory.

All performances begin at 3 p.m. and the doors open at 2:30 p.m.

The Ward Virts concert series will welcome their next artist/pianist, Brian Ganz on Dec. 13.

 

 

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