US Army Field Band Jazz Ambassadors come to SU

By Danielle Bettendorf Staff writer

Susquehanna students and the Jazz Ambassadors, a component of the United States Army Field Band, performed in Weber Chapel Auditorium on Oct. 27.

The Jazz Ambassadors are based in Washington, D.C., and perform across the country and around the world. The group included vocalists and musicians on trumpet, trombone, piano, guitar, bass and drums.

Three Susquehanna students were selected from the jazz band to accompany the Jazz Ambassadors. Juniors Darby Orris and Gregory Wright, on saxophone and trombone respectively, and first-year Daniel Porell on trumpet, accompanied the group.

The group’s performance covered a range of musical eras, including early jazz, the swing era, bebop and cool jazz and modern jazz.

The performance was also patriotic in nature, and called for audience members to reflect on both soldiers who are currently serving around the world and on veterans who have served in the past.

Malcolm B. Frost, chief of public affairs of the army, said the band “represents the distinction and dedication of the American soldier,” and also honors veterans through “the highest standard of service, dedication and excellence.”

The performance was also enthusiastic in that audience members were encouraged to respond during the performance and to make noise during the concert with the same passion with which the band performed. Those in attendance were prompted to cheer and clap during the performance, as well as respond verbally.

While the band did single out soldiers and veterans during the performance, the audience was made up of a variety of individuals including students and visitors.

“I thought it was great,” first-year Emily Eck said. “I’m not necessarily someone who’s very musically inclined, but I came here for a class and I really enjoyed it.”

The Jazz Ambassadors reached out to Susquehanna to make the concert happen.

“They contacted me,” said Eric Hinton, the director of the bands at Susquehanna. “This is actually the fourth time that the field band has been on campus.”

“The field band goes on tour, and they contact people who might want to sponsor them to give a performance,” Hinton continued. “They did that back in 2007 or so, and it was a big success. That time was during the semester, and they had students from our symphonic band who played side by side for a piece with them. They sat right next to the musicians on stage and performed with them.”

For this specific performance, arrangements for the concert were made over this past summer.

“They came two more times during the summer[s of 2014 and 2016] and did a similar thing with our high school wind ensemble camp,” Hinton said. “While we were doing the arrangements for the 2016 performance, their jazz guy contacted me about hosting them during the semester. Because all [of] their groups have such high quality, and they are very interested in education and working with students, we agreed to do it.”

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