Jazz Ensemble Spices Up Central


Faithful Boggs/San Jacinto Times

Students rehearse bluesy funk, contemporary, and classical jazz for the concert held on Nov. 10.

The sounds of bluesy funk, contemporary, and classical jazz filled Corbin Hall Nov. 10 when patrons from different walks of life packed the auditorium to share one common enjoyment, the euphonious sound of Jazz.

Dr. Henry Darragh, a first-year faculty member of the San Jacinto College Central Campus Music Department and a professional musician, directs the Jazz Ensemble, a class where students play instruments ranging from the bass saxophone and drums to electric guitar.

Darragh said the course aims to educate students about the hard work that goes into preparing for a concert. He added that students enjoy rehearsals because they get the opportunity to showcase their talent and play music with their friends, but he wants them to understand that although concerts are fun, they are also serious and should be respected. Moreover, he said he hopes the concert sparked the audience’s interest in music, and possibly served to recruit trombone and trumpet players.

“I hope to get the word out that you don’t have to be a music major to be a part of a band like this,” he said.

Brain Wondra, a student who plays the electric guitar, said he was thrilled to participate in the ensemble concert.

“Jazz always seemed unattainable,” Wondra noted. “Like, only the best musicians were able to play jazz music.”

Furthermore, Wondra said he no longer feels confined to playing only rock music because the class taught him a lot about Jazz history and how to read music better.

Meanwhile, Amber Litchfield, a Jazz lover and ensemble participant, opened up about the challenges she faced while evolving into the musician she is today. She was unexpectedly diagnosed with a mouth tumor, and along with enduring emotional and physical discomfort, she had to face the heartache of no longer being able to play the trombone.

Sorrowful, but strong-willed, she refused to give up her love of music and performing. In turn, she searched for another instrument she could still master and discovered the tenor saxophone.

“The process taught me perseverance,” Litchfield said, “and to never give up something you love.”

More information about Jazz Ensemble is available at http://www.sanjac.edu/campus-life/visual-performing-arts/audio-engineering/ensembles-private-lessons.