SNU Vocal Jazz Festival to feature Grammy-nominee Roger Treece

The Southern Nazarene University Singers (pictured) performed earlier this year at the American Choral Directors Association’s National Conference. Prof. Graves describes them as “one of the premier vocal jazz ensembles in the United States.” (Photo provided by Jim Graves)

By Brad Crofford, Editor-in-chief

Using no defined score of music, guest artist and clinician Roger Treece will perform an improvised concert during the SNU Vocal Jazz festival on Monday, April 8 in Herrick Auditorium

Laura Miller, a University Singers member and junior vocal music education major, says Treece’s improvisational style will make for a unique concert. He will utilize both singers onstage and audience members.

“Mr. Treece’s concert is going to be entirely improvised, meaning there is no defined score of music and he will be making it up as he hears the music, which is awesome,” Miller said. “He is also going to be involving the audience which brings another really great aspect into his performance…Everyone will get to enjoy and partake in this concert.”

Professor Jim Graves provides more information about how Treece will do this.

“He will use the audience and students on stage to create sound loops, called circle singing, that he will improvise over, around and through. I guarantee that you will leave singing,” Graves said.

The SNU Vocal Jazz Festival is an annual event.  This is its sixth year. It will involve a clinic from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and a free concert starting at 7:30 p.m in Herrick. According to Miller, the event has grown each year.

“A part of the Jazz Festival is bringing in local high schools to have the opportunity to perform and learn from the various jazz clinicians,” Miller said. “This year we have set a new record for  the amount of schools who will be partaking in the event.”

The University Singers will be performing during the concert and will be interacting with the visiting choirs throughout the day.

The visitng groups will also perform during the concert.

“We invite the groups who have participated in clinics throughout the day to share a song on the evening concert,” Graves said.

Graves’ connections have been helpful in obtaining clinicians and guests artists for the festival.

“I have connections with many vocal artists from around the world and invite the very best to be a part of what we do here,” Graves said.

Treece is a composer, arranger, producer, engineer, singer, and teacher whose works spans genres. His work has earned him five Grammy nominations, including three for his most recent project, Bobby McFerrin’s latest album, VOCAbuLarieS.