On Friday, September 27, the Grand Lobby hummed with the sound of happy students and Trinity community members mingling over lemonade at Trinity’s annual Black and White Dress-up Night of Jazz. The two-toned crowd of students and neighbors took pictures, reveling in the chance to dress up. By 7:30 everyone settled into the auditorium seats, prepared for two great jazz music performances.
Trinity’s Jazz Band took the stage first, filling the air with a variety of jazz music from their repertoire. Freshman emcee Karyn Jones of Florissant, Missouri, said, “I’m usually a soul fan, but I really enjoyed branching out and experiencing a new genre.”
Freshmen Ben Hoekstra of Coon Rapids, Minnesota, also joined Jones as an emcee for the evening.
Following the Jazz Band’s performance, award-winning performer Dee Alexander took the stage, accompanied by her cellist, pianist, and drummer. Her vocal skills were impeccable, and she never stopped having fun with her music or with the audience. After one outstanding number, she announced that she had improvised the entire song, demonstrating the flexible nature of the jazz genre.
Alexander, who invited student vocalists to talk with her after the show, inspired many students.
Jones said, “I heard Dee’s warm-ups before the concert, and it was very different from the actual performance. She comes alive in front of an audience, improvising and creating as she goes. I bought her album after the concert because she opened my eyes to a new form of music.”
In 2008 and 2010, Alexander was awarded Jazz Entertainer of the Year from the Chicago Music Awards. In 2011, she was celebrated by the NAACP for her achievements in the arts. This year was Alexander’s second performance at Trinity’s jazz event; she performed here for the first time in 2011.