• Davess Verdugo

Music Returns to the Cliff

The hills are alive with the sound of music! After a brief hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, live music has returned to the Cliff. The Briar Cliff University Jazz Ensemble recently performed their first concert of the school year in late November. Students involved in the Briar Cliff Jazz Ensemble were excited and more than ready to showcase their musical talents.

Junior at the Cliff, Matthew Griesel, was glad to be performing again and explained what the BCU Jazz Ensemble is.

“The Jazz Ensemble is the small band here on Campus. There are right now three college students, and, I think, about 7 to 8 highschoolers from the highschools in Sioux City. We play a variety of different songs. We usually play about 8 to 9 songs per concert,” Griesel says. “Some are traditional jazz pieces but we do play some more hip or popular songs. We did play a Christmas tune for our last concert.There are roughly 10 individuals that meet twice a week for rehearsal. We do hire a few other musicians to fill in some of the spots we need.”

In addition, Matthew recalled what a typical rehearsal, led by conductor Robert Gibson, is like for the ensemble.

“A typical rehearsal is just sight reading and learning new pieces. We just try and get our individual parts down. We don't really have a pre concert routine. It’s really just us quickly playing through a few measures of every song and going through solos if we need to,” Griesel says.

Students across campus were intrigued when they learned about the Jazz Ensemble with many not even knowing Briar Cliff had an instrumental group. Students such as Katie Wight, sophomore, was glad when she learned of the Jazz Ensemble:

“I had no clue there was a band on campus, it's nice to know about it now,” Wight says.“I like live music and being able to listen to it on campus is great and we can support other students as well.”

The Briar Cliff Jazz Ensemble’s next performance has yet to be announced. While the next concert may not have a date yet, the Cliff can rest assured that a beloved program has new wind after a difficult and unpredictable year. To find out more about the Briar Cliff University Jazz Ensemble or to join, reach out to Matthew Griesel or Conductor Robert Gibson.

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