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Master class gives singers tips

By Aaron Senor
On April 13, 2014

The Humanities Division Arts Festival exhibited a public master class on the final night of the festival, bringing the jazz choir from the University of Tennessee to Delta to sing with and constructively critique Delta’s jazz choir. Within the lecture theater, audience members observed the master class, hearing the descending notes of the classes as they warmed up, the critical analysis of the teachers and students, the mess-ups and the greatest moments.

Wendel Werner, the professor presiding over the UT singers, came to assist Tim Hendrickson, Delta’s director of choral music, in hearing the jazz choir with a new set of ears.

Werner stressed the improvisation and emotion in jazz over the rigid and accurate classical music.

“When asked to improv, you can’t freak out, you just have to feel it,” said Werner.

Werner also told the Delta singers not to fret over mess ups. He asked his students of his who have messed up royally during a performance raise their hands, promptly followed by every one of his students raising their hands.

“People are going to remember not recovering from a mistake more than a mistake itself,” said Camille Lewis, a student of the UT jazz choir.

The Delta jazz singers performed a number songs for the UT choir and audience alike, sometimes stopped mid-song by Hendrickson or Werner to offer pointers. A second heavily emphasized topic was the importance of blending, or how the voices of the individual adds to the overall sound.

“Audiences coming to a jazz choir event come to hear the whole jazz choir, not single singers,” Werner said. “If one person tries to steal the spotlight, the whole choir’s sound is affected.”

Harmony and melody blended together to exude emotion through music is something many people enjoy, and the Delta jazz choir further developed their capability to affect people in this way.

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