Penguins and Falcons
On November 18 and 19, Clark College and the Clark College Jazz Ensemble were privileged to collaborate with one the nation’s premier jazz ensembles, The Falconaires from the United States Air Force Academy Band.
During their two-day visit, the group of 19 active-duty professional musicians provided a workshop with the Clark College Jazz Ensemble on Thursday and shared the stage with the Clark College Jazz Ensemble for Clark’s Fall Jazz Concert in Gaiser Student Center on Friday for a standing-room-only audience of jazz enthusiasts.
The concert was sponsored by The Columbian, the Clark College Office of Communications and Marketing, and the Clark College Music Department.
The event began on Thursday with the Falconaires rehearsing the Clark College Jazz Ensemble and providing comments on jazz performance practice and jazz improvisation. Undeniably, one of the most memorable moments of the clinic was a demonstration on drum-set techniques, by USAF drummer TSgt Henrique de Almeida, who grew up in Brazil and graduated from the Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts.
“This guy was unbelievable,” said psychology transfer student and Clark drummer Robert Muncaster. “When he played I couldn’t believe what he was doing. Then Mr. Inouye told the band he was one of only about six guys in the U.S. who can do what he does! But what was even a greater surprise was how he related to us. He really encouraged us to start practicing regularly in order to reach for more than what we think we are capable of accomplishing.”
On Friday night the Clark College Jazz Ensemble kicked off the evening and was joined by four Falconaires soloists on the last two selections of their portion of the concert. “It was incredible to see how the Clark Jazz Ensemble students reacted to the Falc soloists when they performed with us,” said Clark College Jazz Ensemble Director Rich Inouye. “They were so enthralled listening to the soloists that I felt bad about having to bring them back in for the rest of the tune! These are the kind of moments that shape a musician’s growth, and I’m pretty sure this evening is an event the students will remember for the rest of their lives.”
Clark trumpet player and biology major, Danielle Voisin, agreed: “My horizons of music have been widened and I don't think I can ever look at jazz the same way.”
Clark students weren’t the only audience members who were inspired. “I would rank that concert as one of the best musical performances I have ever experienced, live or recorded,” said Ted Davis, a Mountain View High School band student who was in the audience.
“This was an absolutely unforgettable evening for the students of Clark College and the Vancouver community,” Inouye continued, “I think people have a preconception when they hear ‘military band,’ and this event really changed their perception. Not only did this concert enlighten the audience to the quality of music our military bands provide, but it also encouraged the Clark Jazz Ensemble students to achieve a higher standard in their music, which definitely showed in their performance. When you consider the residual impact this event had on Clark students, Clark College, and the Vancouver community, I feel this was a pretty significant evening.”