The Ferris Jazz Band is making waves this semester with a veteran lineup.
More than 75 percent of the players are returning members. Music professor Matt Moresi, who has been playing piano and trombone since his early childhood, is the band director.
“We want to foster the creativity of students,” Moresi said. “This is an opportunity for students who played in high school to continue their talent.”
Moresi graduated from the University of Oregon with a music performance degree and a master’s in jazz arranging. Moresi has been the jazz band director since 2006. He also teaches several music classes.
Doug Reed, a senior studying accounting and finance, has been a member of the Jazz Band for four years as the drummer.
Reed explained his excitement for this year’s concerts because the seasoned players understand how to communicate with each other and are very in sync.
“We play music from the 1930s to songs that were just recently written,” said Reed. “We’ve even played a jazz cover of a Britney Spears song.”
The Jazz Band was formed in 1977. Harry Dempsey, the band’s original director, explained that there were two bands, the Jazz Band and the Lab Band. The Lab Band was formed to experiment with different instruments and improvisation. These experiments were then applied to the Jazz Band.
“In 1977, the university was big into the idea of having jazz bands here,” Dempsey said. “That’s when they hired me.”
Today, the band generally consists of five saxophones, four trumpets and four trombones. The rhythm section is made up of piano, bass, guitar and drums.
Students interested in joining the jazz band are encouraged to speak with Matt Moresi in the Music Center. Moresi explained the band is always looking for new players, especially trombone players.