Greg Jasperse

Greg Jasperse

Gold Company, an internationally regarded and award-winning vocal jazz ensemble from Western Michigan University, and its sister ensemble GCII, will mark 42 seasons with three concerts this weekend: 8 pm Friday, Feb 7 and 2 and 8 pm on Saturday, Feb 8 in the Dalton Center Recital Hall at WMU. The title of the program is "Love Is."

Director Greg Jasperse, professor of jazz studies at WMU, and senior Sara Olson, head producer of the show, join Cara Lieurance in the studio to talk about what goes in to creating a fun, varied, and highly professional concert of vocal jazz, backed by a skilled band and featuring their trademark choreography. Jasperse and Olson also talk about Gold Company's recent trip to New Orleans, which brought together a number of top vocal jazz ensembles in the country.


Jay Grandin, via flickr. All creative commons.

Western Michigan University's Gold Company will add seasonal shine to the annual Kalamazoo Concert Band's holiday concert at 8 pm on Friday, Dec 6 in Miller Auditorium. "Unwrap The Season" will feature a variety of music, including a fun Bond-style piece called Secret Agent Santa, and the festive Rhapsodic Celebration by Robert Sheldon. Two singers from Gold Company will sing solos with the band, and the full group will sing an Al Burt carol medley and New York Voices settings of Christmas favorites. Kalamazoo Concert Band director Tom Evans and Gold Company Greg Jasperse fill in the details in an interview with Cara Lieurance.


newyorkvoices.com

The 11th annual New York Voices Vocal Jazz Camp, a training ground for aspiring jazz singers, is underway at Western Michigan University. Public concerts on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday will be held at 8 pm, and on Saturday, a 4 pm faculty and student concert will be followed by a New York Voices show at 8 pm.

Lauren Kinhan, Darmon Meader, Peter Eldridge, Kim Nazarian are the original members of the New York Voices, which recently celebrated its 30th anniversary by recording a new album, Reminiscing In Tempo, which will be released on Aug 16.  They and Gold Company director/camp director Greg Jasperse joined Cara Lieurance to preview the week, and describe how the camp is meaningful to them for bringing the art of vocal jazz into the future.


johnaye.com

Johnaye Kendrick performs Friday and Saturday, March 29 and 30, at 8 pm in WMU's Dalton Center Recital Hall at the Gold Company Vocal Jazz Festival. Friday's concert opens the event, which brings high school-age students to campus for performances and workshops during the day on Saturday.  Johnaye Kendrick will be joined by a quartet: Western professors Matthew Fries, piano; and Thomas Knific, bass; and student Madison George, drums. On Saturday, Kendrick will be the featured guest soloist with Gold Company.

In a conversation with Cara Lieurance and Gold Company director Greg Jasperse, Kendrick describes her artistic journey as a search for "a voice" that took time and experience to develop.  Her years at WMU, singing in Gold Company under Steve Zegree were formative, as was her further education at the Thelonius Monk Institute and at Loyola University. Today, she lives in Tacoma, WA, and recently released her second album, Flying, to rave reviews.


Gold Company

Every year, jazz professor Greg Jasperse challenges the two award-winning Western Michigan University vocal jazz groups, Gold Company and GCII, to produce their own showcase for the public. It involves brainstorming a theme, writing original arrangements, preparing choreography, outfits, lighting, sound, and publicizing the event.

In the studio with Cara Lieurance, Jasperse and two student producer/performers, Faith Quashie and Austin Malarchick, share some behind-the-scenes stories about what went into making Gold Company and GCII's 41st annual showcase, which will be held Feb 8, 8 pm and Feb 9 at 2 pm and 8 pm, in the Dalton Center Recital Hall.


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