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Jazz ensembles to perform concerts on UNG Dahlonega and Gainesville campuses

Dr. Andrew Santander, professor of music at the University of North Georgia, conducts the jazz ensembles in a rehearsal before the Big Band Show on the Dahlonega and Gainesville campuses.

For the first time, members of the University of North Georgia (UNG) Jazz Ensembles on the Dahlonega and Gainesville campuses will toot their own horns and bang their own drums as one during the annual Big Band Show.

"I thought it would be cool to join forces instead of playing separately," said Dr. Andrew Santander, professor of music at UNG. "There is nothing better to build camaraderie than to play together."

With 13 musicians, the UNG Jazz Ensembles will perform at the following dates and times:

  • 7:30-9 p.m. Thursday, March 1, in Gloria Shott Auditorium in John L. Nix Mountain Cultural Center on the Dahlonega Campus at 322 Georgia Circle, Dahlonega
  • 7:30-9 p.m. Friday, March 2, in Ed Cabell Theatre on UNG's Gainesville Campus, 3820 Mundy Mill Road, Oakwood
  • 7:30-9 p.m. Saturday, March 3, in Ed Cabell Theatre on UNG's Gainesville Campus, 3820 Mundy Mill Road, Oakwood

Santander explained the musical program is different from student recitals and other concerts because other UNG students help craft a musical experience. For example, UNG theater students add special lighting to the performance while a professional sound technician lends a hand.

"It's more than setting up with our instruments and playing," Santander said. "They set the mood to make it feel more intimate. It's a real show."

Sporting the theme "Phases," the show will feature a wide range of jazz music. Selections include UNG's spin on everything from the swing classic of Duke Ellington's "Cottontail" to Thelonious Monk's "'Round Midnight." UNG student-musicians also will tip their hats to Quincy Jones with a tune called "Q Ball."

"And we have an interesting new arrangement of Cole Porter's 'Night and Day' with Latin jazz and incorporating some fusion with funk or boogaloo," Santander said. "So there is something for every taste in the show."

Santander said he enjoys watching his students evolve and gel as they prepare for the Big Band Show.


University of North Georgia's jazz band ensembles will perform three concerts this week. The first will be March 1 on the Dahlonega Campus. The second and third concerts will be March 2 and 3 on the Gainesville Campus.

"In the fall semester, we have our maiden voyage. It is about everyone finding their chemistry," he said. "And by the time we get to the Big Band Show, the group has been together for a large amount of time and is comfortable playing with each other. And the group is playing at the top of their game."

Charles Wetzel, a sophomore from Hoschton, Georgia, is looking forward to playing with the Dahlonega Campus students as a complete ensemble.

"This is the biggest jazz band that I have played with because before we didn't have a bass or a guitar," the 20-year-old trombone player said. "It will be a full ensemble and really cool."

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