Jazzing Things Up: Navarro College Jazz Band Rocks the House

Devra Burkhalter

Vocalist Devra Burkhalter performing “The Man I Love” with the Navarro College Jazz Band. Photo by Jennifer Miller/Corsicana Daily Sun

Corsicana Daily Sun
March 11, 2016
Jennifer Miller, Staff Writer

Jazz was king at the Navarro College Jazz band’s concert Thursday night. Performing seven tunes from various composers, the students rocked the house and had lots of fun doing it. Kicking off a month-long tour to area high schools across Texas, it was the first performance of the season.

“This program is all about growing our students to become better musicians. This time last year, the music we were playing was so different, we have really progressed as a group,” said Director Joshua Buckrucker.

The evening was filled with solo performances featuring vocalist Devra Burkhalter, bari saxaphonist Kylee Watson, trombonist Nick Phillips, and even the associate director Tim Nutting himself, on the trumpet.

Andy Clark’s “Bari, Bari, Good” was a highlight of the night and showcases its name well as it featured soloist Kylee Watson almost the entire piece through. Fun, sassy, and upbeat, the rendition kept many toes tapping along. “The Man I Love”, composed by Dave Wolpe, was equally as captivating and featured vocalist Devra Burkhalter with a sultry, almost Diana Krall-ish feel to the rendition. Bobby Shaw’s “Blue”, a passionate, soul-searching, melancholy piece featured assistant director Tim Nutting.

The biggest performance of the night was saved for last. “Four” composed by Miles Davis was full of soloists from almost every section of the band and resembled the kind of up-beat swing music an afternoon at Starbucks would bring.

Filled with a talented group of kids, many play in both the jazz band and the wind ensemble.

“Our tuba player is actually the bass player,” Buckrucker said. “He actually picked it up quickly.”

Tenor saxophonist Danny Phillips, a graduate of Corsicana High School, has been playing for eight years. Feeling right at home in the college band program, he considers the group part of his family.

“This program is great because we all accept each other here. We are like a family of musicians,” said Phillips. Although it was a struggle, he was able to pick a favorite tune of the evening.

“My favorite would have to be Fireshaker by Bob Lowden because it really stirs up the crowd and gets the audience going,” he said.

The jazz band will host another concert at 6 p.m., April 29, at the Cook Education Center.

SOURCE: Corsicana Daily Sun