‘On Bourbon Street ' concert April 9 in Indianapolis
The third annual Boiler Musicmakers on the Circle concert in Indianapolis on Sunday, April 9, offers a musical trip through the jazz heart of old New Orleans in “On Bourbon Street.”
The concert, which serves as a fundraiser for Purdue's Science Bound program as well as music on the West Lafayette campus, features the Purdue Jazz Band, Purdue Symphony Orchestra and singers from Purdue Musical Organizations along with guest trumpeter Byron Stripling.
It will be held at 3 p.m. April 9 in the Hilbert Circle Theatre on Monument Circle . Tickets are $20, $15 and $10, and can be obtained through the Purdue box offices, (317) 494-3933 or (800) 914-SHOW.
“Byron Stripling, with his jazz background, brings a different twist to this concert than the Broadway fare we've done before,” says Jay S. Gephart, conductor of the Purdue Symphony Orchestra and organizer of the concert.
“On Bourbon Street ” showcases the traditional jazz that first made New Orleans famous. Stripling, who was chosen for the lead role in the Broadway musical Satchmo about the life of legendary trumpeter Louis Armstrong, is well-known for his ability to alternately sing and play tunes in the Armstrong style that typifies New Orleans jazz.
Based out of Columbus , OH , Stripling serves as artistic director and conductor of the Columbus Jazz Orchestra and is a regular soloist with the Boston Pops. “Even though Stripling is not from New Orleans , he really embodies the New Orleans mystique and the traditional style of jazz. He's as authentic as you can get,” Gephart says.
In the fall of 2005, Stripling was a guest artist with the Purdue Jazz Band on the West Lafayette campus, and jazz band director M.T. “Mo” Trout is anxious to reignite the chemistry that developed between the Stripling and the Purdue Jazz Band in Indianapolis on the Circle Theatre stage.
Stripling nurtures and challenges jazz musicians in concert, “and now that band members know what he's like, and are comfortable with him, they also know what to expect and how high the bar is going to be and that's good for the band,” says Trout. “Purdue's student musicians like those kind of challenges and rise to them really well.”
“St. James Infirmary” and “Tiger Rag” are among other tunes the jazz band will perform with Stripling. PMO's Heart & Soul group will join Stripling and the band in one of Burt Bacharach's most famous tunes “What the World Needs Now.”
Stripling will both play and sing during that number and during the rendition of another Armstrong jazz standard “Do You Know What It Means to Miss New Orleans.” He'll also join with the orchestra, under Gephart's direction, for “Sweet Georgia Brown” and a medley of Louis Armstrong tunes including “Hello Dolly,” “Basin Street Blues” and Mac the Knife.”
Playing jazz “stretches the orchestra, especially the string players because they're learning a new style and have to think differently about their playing,” Gephart says.
Purdue's orchestra and a chorus made up of the Purdue Glee Club, the Purduettes and Heart & Soul will also present a selection of tunes from Jerome Kern's Broadway musical Show Boat to add another dimension to the concert.
The event's grand finale is a medley of “Amazing Grace” and “ America the Beautiful” created by Boston Pops arranger Bill Grimes. “His emotional arrangement stirs up a lot of positive emotions and delivers a powerful and appropriate climax to the concert.,” Gephart says.