A total of 1,786 degrees were awarded during the UL Lafayette’s 161st Commencement ceremonies Friday at the Cajundome and Convention Center.
The University of Louisiana at Lafayette's Jazz Ensemble, under the direction of Dr. Robert Luckey, will share the stage with Lafayette's professional big band, the Skyliners, on Wednesday, Nov. 9.
The concert begins at 7:30 p.m. in Angelle Hall Auditorium on the university campus. Ticket costs are $10 general admission and $5 for UL Lafayette students. Children under the age of six are admitted free.
This evening of big band jazz will serve as a fund raiser for the Jazz Ensemble's trip to Belgium. According to Luckey, a Belgium conservatory heard about the ensemble at UL, and they were impressed and interested in their music. During the course of a year, they sent more than six representatives to UL to hear the ensemble play. Plans were made that the conservatory members would travel to UL Lafayette to perform during jazz week of fall 2005, and participate in some master classes. Due to budget constraints, their trip was canceled.
SKYLINERSLuckey thought that the other half of the deal, where the UL Jazz ensemble would travel to Belgium would also be canceled, but instead found out otherwise.
“ The mayor of the Belgium town Namur came to talk with me,” Luckey said. “He said that if we paid for our plane tickets, they would pay for almost everything else.”
This is the first time that the Jazz Ensemble has been invited to perform in Europe, and as part of the trip, they will be showcased around Brussels and Namur. So far, Luckey said about four concerts will be arranged as well as some sight seeing excursions during their week-long stay.
Dr. Paul Morton, a trumpet professor, will also be making the trip with the ensemble. He said that the wind ensemble and the marching have been invited to play overseas or for events across the country. “The main reason to do it is for the students because they get exposure traveling internationally and playing,” he said. “Students come first.”
The 17 students will leave on April 14, 2006 and return on April 23, 2006. According to Luckey, the French are excited about jazz music.
“ Since 1929, during the time of the depression, jazz musicians were welcomed in France,” he said. But, it is not only the French who are excited. Ryan Dufrene, a music education senior and third semester trumpet player for the ensemble, said he is excited about the trip and performances as well.
“ Just going with a small group like that, I think it is going to be fun,” he said.
Spending more than 15 hours a week on practices, Dufrene said it takes a good amount of discipline to be in such a group.
“ It is a class, so you have to show up. One of the biggest things is just actually showing up and being here and playing,” he said. “You have to be on your part, you have to know your part, and that takes personal practice.”
For more information about the Belgium trip or upcoming performances please call the School of Music at 482-6012.