‘Bring on the Jazz!’

Orisia Williams

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Multicultural services ends Black History Month, highlighting the history of jazz

With echoing sounds of guitars, drums and a smooth piano, Multicultural Services ended Black History Month festivities with a celebration of jazz music.

Supanova, part of the Carribean Student Organization, gets ready to perform another Jazz piece at the Jazz celebration Saturday night in the Clark student center.
Photo by Lauren Roberts

Saturday students, faculty and members of the Wichita Falls community were invited to a live band performance by Supanova to enjoy different forms of jazz.

Dubbed “A Classy Affair: Jazz Celebration,” the night presented aspects of jazz music.

Students learned even though the music itself is difficult to define, musical scholars have described it as a form of expression conveying stories on love, oppression or emotions the artist is feeling in the moment.

Shontesa Jones, coordinator of multicultural services, said jazz derived from African slaves and evolved into various forms of music in our culture today.

“It started out as gospel but they added instruments to it, and out of gospel it broke into jazz, blues and different expressions like rock ‘n roll and hip-hop we have today,” Jones said.

Jones said she hoped students would have more appreciation for the jazz culture after they attended the event.

“It is different than hip-hop, and it is still exciting,” Jones said.  “It motivates you to dance and I want them to appreciate the rhythms and the way that they sing it.”

The festivities of the night began with instrumental songs by Supanova. Dwayne Rawlins, the band’s manager, said the evening’s event started with slow-tempo jazz music and ended with more high-tempo songs.

“The playlist was decided upon based on the name of the event,” Rawlins said.  “The event is entitled ‘Classy Affair’ and it was more jazz-oriented.  Also, we wanted to [include] the crowd.  We were expecting a few Americans, multi-cultured people and a lot of Caribbean people. So we wanted to do jazz for the theme, some American music for the local crowd, some Caribbean music for the Caribbean crowd and a combination of all three.”

The band kicked off the festivities with instrumental jazz songs featuring a hint of Caribbean rhythms.

As the night progressed, the audience was treated to vocal performances from members within the group who also rallied the audience to dance.

According to Rawlins, because Supanova is a mixture of artists with different talents, the group channels each individual idea into one. Through this, he said, they are able to conform to different genres of music with lots of creative styles.

Rawlins said Black History Month is very important to all the members of the group and they were delighted to partake in the celebratory activities.

“Coming back from our roots, it was important for us to give back,” Rawlins said.  “It was something that related to us.  Also, this event gave us a chance to express something that has been overlooked a lot for the past few years.”

Ashaunta Williams, senior in physical educations, said the conga line dance was the highlight of her night.

“I had so much fun,” Williams said. “The conga line was the highlight of the event for me.  The band is so talented. They should do this more often.”

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