Home Arts & Entertainment Former GRCC music student returns as guest performer in Winter Jazz Night

Former GRCC music student returns as guest performer in Winter Jazz Night


Grand Rapids Community College’s Winter Jazz Night will hold a special place in former student Fred Knapp’s heart.

“I’m really looking forward to performing for GRCC’s Winter Jazz Night,” said Knapp, a percussionist and GRCC graduate. “This will be my first time performing for Winter Jazz Night as an alumnus.”

This won’t be his first Winter Jazz Night, though.

“I performed for three when I was a student at GRCC in the mid-90’s,” Knapp said. “I have great memories of my previous Jazz Night performances with Shades of Blue and small group combos. Those were some of my first opportunities to perform jazz for a big audience and were invaluable.”

Kevin Dobreff, the head of the Music department, said Winter Jazz Night means a lot to the GRCC community.

The Music department presents two jazz nights each year, one during both semesters. “This semester’s jazz night concert will feature something for everyone, including big band swing, vocal jazz stylings, and small combo jazz fusion.  A special appearance by GRCC alumnus, West Michigan drummer and band leader Fred Knapp will be a special treat for our audience.”

Knapp speaks highly of his former teacher. “Kevin Dobreff is a great teacher.  He was one of my first instructors at GRCC.  I had him for beginning music theory, and I sang in his group, called The Collegiates.  I also had some classical voice lessons with him for a semester, which was a learning experience for sure.

“After focusing mostly on piano at GRCC, my performance instrument turned out to be the drums, but all my previous experience has helped me be a complete musician,” he said

GRCC’s 2013 Winter Jazz Night features performances by the GRCC Jazz Orchestra, Combo, and Shades of Blue Vocal Jazz Ensemble.  Proceeds for the event–a $5 donation is suggested–will benefit the Ray Gill Instrumental Jazz Scholarship.

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