ARC’s Vocal Jazz Ensemble performed a variety of hits on Nov. 2 at the main theater

The concert featured several soloists and a variety of jazz hits


American River College Vocal Jazz Ensemble put on a show on Nov. 2 at the ARC main theater. (Photo by Jaqueline Ruvalcaba)

American River College Vocal Jazz Ensemble performed on Nov. 2 at the ARC main theater. The concert was led by the student vocalists and Joe Gilman, ARC music professor, who played piano for the rhythm section. 

“We are without our fearless leader tonight,” Gilman said before the performance began. 

Art Lapierre, director of the ensemble, had come down with an illness earlier that day and was unable to attend the concert. Lapierre would have been proud of the performance —his students gave it their all, making for an exciting and fun show.

Alongside Gilman, the ensemble featured Matt Robinson, ARC instructional assistant, on bass and Sacramento drummer Tim Metz in the percussionist’s seat.

ARC Vocal Jazz II opened the show with Duke Ellington’s 1965 hit “Duke’s Place.” 

According to Lapierre, this is the group’s first semester playing together. With some nervous and excited energy radiating from the class, the show was off to a great start.

The concert then featured six soloists from the ARC Vocal Jazz Ensemble I: Christine Olson, Benjamin Ha, Miyan Grasso, Patrick McCann, Catrine Kaho and Jenna Magaziner. The introductions were brief, leaving ample time for the vocalists to perform for the small but receptive crowd.

The songs performed by the soloists ranged from bossa nova influenced tunes to emotional love ballads, but all showcased strong jazz components. McCann’s memorable rendition of “Come Fly with Me” and “I’ve Got You Under My Skin” highlighted his dynamic baritone voice and ability to work a crowd with humor and personality.

The audience clapped after every performance with appreciation for the variety and talent. 

ARC Vocal Jazz Ensemble I wrapped up the night with a number of fun and upbeat songs, including the jazz waltz “Haven’t We Met” by musicians Ruth Batchelor and Kenny Rankin. The energy was high in this performance, with plenty of entertaining jazz scat singing, catchy melodies and seamless harmonies coming together to make for a terrific show.