Award-winning vocal jazz choir returns with new singers and musicians
By Emma Sargeant
“Celebration!”, Bellevue Community College’s award-winning vocal jazz band, returns to the stage on Nov. 18, at the Carlson Theatre for the Vocal Jazz Invitational. Directed by Thomas Almli, the group was formed by an audition process. Many of last year’s performers graduated from BCC and transferred to further their education and musical careers. One student was accepted into the Manhattan School of Music, another to the University of North Texas, one to California State Long Beach, and most of the rest are now attending the Washington State schools of Central, Washington State University, University of Washington, Seattle University and Western University. “Recruiting was a big push in the spring of last year. We brought in 10 new singers and two musicians (a piano and saxophone are in the combo),” said Almli. To increase the numbers, new members were selected to join “Celebration!” after singing against 60 other hopeful BCC students. Almli said about two-thirds of the group are music majors. The aim of “Celebration!” is to strive for the highest level of professionalism in their musicianship, group interaction, and performance. They perform all over the globe and in Seattle’s jazz clubs like the Triple Door for a realistic sense of making a career out of the art of music. Last year, BCC’s vocal jazz band was invited to perform at the International Association for Jazz Education conference in Toronto. Every year, “Celebration!” is invited to the Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival. The festival invites the jazz masters together with students ranging from elementary school to college, to celebrate the american art form of music: jazz. The event started in 1967 at the University of Idaho with 12 students and one guest artist who was Buddy Brisboe. The festival has rapidly expanded to a national stage full of viewers to hear big names like Ella Fitzgerald. The annual festival is the largest such event in the world, with approximately 20,000 people, including 10,000 students, attending. For colleges to participate in the event, groups must perform and be judged by clinicians to be critiqued after their performance. BCC has been invited annually to perform at the Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival and have taken home the first place prize for colleges more than once. “I choose pieces that offer a wide array of jazz styles,” said Almli. For this year’s Fall Jazz Invitational, Almli has selected a variety of Jazz standards which include bebop, blues, ballads, swing, latin and gospel jazz. Tickets can be purchased at 7 p.m. on Nov. 18 at the Carlson Theatre (A159). They cost $8. The show will start at 7:30 p.m. and will run until 10 p.m.