Last Friday, Geneseo's Wind Ensemble and Jazz Ensemble gave the audience a reason to postpone Halloween preparations with a concert that was both beautiful and entertaining in its diversity and skill.
Their program, "Invitation to the Dance," had its share of toe-tappers, but, unlike the title may suggest, this concert was not a rendition of Saturday Night Fever. The songs possessed a complexity and precision that lingered in the ears, and included melodies ranging from soft, melancholy Scottish tunes to snazzy jazz solos.
The Wind Ensemble began the evening with Pyotr Tchaikovsky's "Dance of the Jesters." An energetic explosion of sound - the sharp dynamics and unyielding tempo threw the audience into a festive, musical experience.
As their first song's closing crescendo faded away, the Wind Ensemble wasted no time in continuing on to their next two songs. Soon, listeners were transported to the sprawling countryside of Scotland with the rich harmonies of "Four Scottish Dances" by Malcolm Arnold, then to the rough, gang-infested streets of New York City with the iconic music of Leonard Bernstein's "West Side Story."
Wind Ensemble closed its show with a fan-favorite: David Holsinger's "Havendance." The adventurous sounds continued to ring as the Jazz Ensemble quickly took its place and opened with the fresh, ambitious styling of "Home Again" by Michael Tomaro. Swinging and fun with an intricate, layered musicality, the piece was a fitting prelude to the night the Jazz Ensemble had in store.
Victor Lopez's "Songorama," Jazz Ensemble's next song, did nothing to dissuade the stellar first impressions as the song's playful personality swept over the audience. From the catchy, radio-friendly phrasing of "Songorama," Jazz Ensemble finished its set with two smoother pieces that sang as clearly and coolly as nighttime city air. The full, pleasing sounds of Bronislaw Kaper and Paul Francis Webster's "Invitation" and Lennie Niehaus's "Half & Half" were perfect ends to a wonderful night.
The only thing that could possibly deserve more praise than Jazz Ensemble's repertoire was its improvised solos performed throughout the concert by sophomore Dan Osgood, junior Seth Hiser and director Jon Kruger. They added that little something extra to what was already an absolutely amazing collection of sounds.
While "Invitation to the Dance" didn't have the audience dancing in the aisles, it was definitely good enough to stand up and cheer over.