Musical weekend on tap at Southern University

Photo provided by Southern University Media Relations -- Lawrence Jackson directs the Southern University Wind Ensemble in a concert. Jackson says he looked forward to Wind Ensemble rehearsal because he loved classical musicl.
Photo provided by Southern University Media Relations -- Lawrence Jackson directs the Southern University Wind Ensemble in a concert. Jackson says he looked forward to Wind Ensemble rehearsal because he loved classical musicl.

Springtime brings a celebration of music to Southern University’s campus this weekend in a variety of genres.

“We’ll be playing pieces by Shostakovich to a salute to our troops,” Lawrence Jackson said. “And we’ll end the program with some gospel pieces.”

Jackson is Southern University’s director of bands. Football fans immediately will recognize him as the director of the Southern University Marching Band, also known as the Human Jukebox.

But those making a trip to campus on Sunday will see Jackson in a different role as he steps on the podium to conduct the Southern University Wind Ensemble.

The group is the university’s top concert ensemble and will perform a concert titled, “A Serenade to Spring” at 5 p.m. The performance is free and will mark the second weekend music event on campus.

The first will be the Southern University Center for International Affairs and University Outreach’s eighth annual International Jazz Brunch on Saturday, April 20, in the Cotillion Ballroom. The event will feature the Herman Jackson Jazz Ensemble, along with a silent auction.

Proceeds from the auction and ticket sales will benefit scholarship and funding for university students who are studying abroad.

“The items we’re auctioning were brought back from trips by faculty,” Kristan A. Gordon, the assistant to the dean at the center, said.

“The items include clothing, artifacts, jewelry, purses and hand-carved items,” she continued.

Items represent such countries as Brazil, Turkey, China, Senegal, Belize, Liberia and Mexico.

The $35 ticket price also includes food and, of course, live jazz by Jackson and his ensemble.

Meanwhile, admission to the Wind Ensemble spring concert is free.

“We’re so excited to be able to play this concert, because it gives people a chance to see the other side of Southern’s Music Department,” Jackson said. “And we’re excited to have a chance to honor our troops and this great country.”

This will happen in the middle of the program when the Wind Ensemble plays a medley of songs representing each branch of the military. Active military members, as well as military veterans, will be asked to stand when their military song is played.

“We’ll be honoring the Navy, the Marines, the Air Force, the Coast Guard and the granddaddy of them all, the Army,” Jackson said. “We’ll also be playing ‘America the Beautiful,’ and I’m so excited that we’re playing this, because it honors our country, which really is the land of the free and home of the brave.”

Also on the program will be Dmitri Shostakovich’s “Festive Overture,” Samuel Hazo’s “Exaltation” and “Arabesque,” Japanese composer Satoshi Yagisawa’s “Hymn to the Infinite Sky,” Percy Grainger’s “Molly on the Shore,” as well as three gospel selections.

The Wind Ensemble is made up of 56 students usually chosen by audition.

“This year is a different, because I hand-picked them,” Jackson said. “But the ensemble normally is chosen by audition.”

This concert follows the Wind Ensemble’s concert tour in Houston. The ensemble then will join other instrumental and vocal groups in the music department to perform a concert on Friday, May 3, in the Greater King David Baptist Church Education and Cultural Center, 222 Blount Road.