By Sean Chase
COVID-19 forced the Grand Rapids Community College music department to move away from in-person concerts to a virtual setting, but on Friday, May 7 at 7:30 p.m., that will once again change.
Shades of Blue, GRCC’s jazz ensemble, will be the first group from the GRCC music department to perform in front of a live audience, at Jazz on the Lawn. The jazz ensemble consists of multiple vocalists, accompanied by multiple instruments, depending on the piece.
The event is open to the public and will take place outside of the GRCC Library and Learning Commons. Admission is free, however, those who wish to attend must acquire tickets and health screening forms in advance of the performance.
If you’re unable to print the health screening form prior to the event, no worries, the forms will also be available at the outdoor box office. Upon arriving at the show, GRCC is asking that you wear a mask and follow social distancing guidelines in order to ensure the safety of all involved.
“I wanted to find a way to do a live concert safely because most of us haven’t experienced live music in 15 months, and a music ensemble isn’t really complete until it’s sharing music with an audience,” stated Jed Scott, a professor in GRCC’s music department, in a press release. “The students in Shades of Blue have worked so hard to master difficult music this year under challenging circumstances.”
Over the years, Shades of Blue has received worldwide recognition, even performing at Carnegie Hall. The ensemble will perform three pieces as a group, “Centerpiece” by Lambert, Hendricks and Ross, an a cappella version of “Bumble Bee” by the Real Group, and “Can’t We Be Friends” by Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong.
In addition to the group performances, five singers will perform solo pieces. All of the solo performances were prepared for a Zoom master class led by the head of the Jazz Voice Department for the University of Miami, Kate Reid.
The Fred Knapp Trio will also be performing at Jazz on the Lawn. Knapp, an alumnus of GRCC’s music department, will be joined by David Proulx and Rob Hartman.