The Signal

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Sunday March 3rd

TCNJ Jazz Ensemble tributes performance to late Dr. Gary Fienberg

<p><em>The Nov. 18 performance was held in Kendall Hall and consisted of 11 pieces (Photo Courtesy of Jenna Rittman / Correspondent).</em></p>

The Nov. 18 performance was held in Kendall Hall and consisted of 11 pieces (Photo Courtesy of Jenna Rittman / Correspondent).

By Jenna Rittman

The College’s Jazz Ensemble held its second performance, hosted by Doug Beavers, on Nov. 18. They performed a variety of jazz pieces and dedicated a portion of the concert to the late Dr. Gary Fienberg, an assistant professor of music and coordinator of brass studies.

The jazz ensemble consists of students from various majors and sometimes includes alumni. This performance in particular included three alumni. The performance was held in Kendall hall and consisted of 11 pieces.

The concert started off with the piece “Jordu” by Duke Jordan. This piece features a medium swing style and is generally upbeat.

After the energetic start of the concert, the jazz ensemble transitioned to a more mellow piece, “Nightshades” by John Fedchock. While the piece was generally mellow and calm, it contained some lively passages. The piece also featured three solos played by pianist Cameron Philips, lead tenor saxophone player Matthew Cyktor and trombonist section leader Marin Cowell.

The next piece, “Boogie Stop Shuffle” by Charles Mingus, brought the audience back up to speed. This piece is uptempo, bright and catchy, and featured solos played by baritone saxophone player Gregory Schiariti, trombonist Cowell and trumpet player Carlos Orta.

The second portion of the concert included three combo sets: the Gold combo, the Blue combo and the two combos combined. A combo set is a smaller group of musicians who play together. The Gold combo played “All The Things You Are” by Jerome Kern, the Blue combo played “Stella By Starlight” by Victor Young and the two combos combined to play “Red Clay” by Freddie Hubbard. These combo sets gave the music students a chance to shine, and also highlighted individual solos. 

After a short intermission following the three combo sets, Beavers invited Dr. Wayne Heisler Jr., professor of historical and cultural studies in music and alumni of the College, to the stage to say a few words about Fienberg, who passed away in July.

“I’ve had the privilege of teaching along Dr. Fienberg for two decades and his friendship means a lot to me,” Heisler Jr. said. “I speak in the present tense because he never really left us.”

The following pieces after Heisler Jr.'s speech were entirely dedicated to Fienberg, and even featured Fienberg’s former jazz ensemble alumni Nikolas Romano on alto saxophone, Ryan Barry on trumpet and Ryan Haupt on trombone. They performed some of Fienberg’s favorite pieces, such as “Big Swing Face” by Bill Potts, “Norwegian Wood” by Lennon & McCartney, “You Know I Care” by Duke Pearson and “Pussywiggle Stomp” by Don Ellis.

This also included the U.S. premiere of “Reflejo Del Sol,” a piece released by Beavers in June 2023. It translates to “Reflection of the Sun” in English, and Beavers said that it has a Latin vibe. The song was dedicated to Fienberg. The piece was very smooth sounding and featured a solo by Beavers himself.

The last part of the concert began with a speech from Gianna Marrano, a senior Music Education flutist. She talked about what it was like to have class with Fienberg. 

“I have no doubt that every student that had Dr. Fienberg felt his passion and charisma throughout every class and lesson,” Marrano said. 

Based on the ensemble’s performance and hard work, Fienberg would be proud to see how much the music department has grown both physically and musically and how it will continue to grow in the future.


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