New Deal Jazz Ensemble features talented freshmen, original arrangements

Members of the New Deal Jazz Ensemble perform “Tell Me a Bedtime Story” at the Jazz Showcase. Photo by Rachel Popa

Members of the New Deal Jazz Ensemble perform “Tell Me a Bedtime Story” at the Jazz Showcase.
Photo by Rachel Popa

By Rachel Popa

Staff Reporter

The New Deal Jazz Ensemble, made up of Roosevelt students enrolled in the Chicago College of Performing Arts (CCPA), sang tunes ranging from classics by Duke Ellington such as “Caravan,” to an original arrangement of Michael Jackson’s “Man in the Mirror” at the Jazz Showcase on Nov. 10.

Vocalists of the New Deal Jazz Ensemble include Naomi Ayala, Violette Betancourt, Taylor Gaffney, Sydney Griffin, Priscilla Ip, Blake Lambert-Haak, Emma Negrete, Nadav Simon, Patrick Sloan, Miranda Sprague, Hannah Tuinstra and Jonathan Weller.

Accompanying the vocalists were Cesar Martinez on guitar, Nicholas Davis on bass, Timothy Krahenbuhl on drums and special guest Amr Marcin Fahmy on piano,

The eclectic 1920’s speakeasy-esque atmosphere of the Jazz Showcase at 806 S. Plymouth Court was dimly lit by the flickering of candles as the audience waited for the performance to begin.

When the singers performed, members of the audience reclined in chaise-lounge sofas, bobbing their heads to the music.

One of the highlights of the evening was New Deal’s arrangement and performance of Michael Jackson’s “The Way You Make Me Feel.” The singers beat-boxed the beat of the song in a way that gave it a unique a cappella effect. The audience clapped and snapped along to the music, applauding after the solos of the performers.

The ensemble arranged a mash-up of Missy Elliott’s “Luv Back,” and two Rhianna songs, “Diamonds” and “Stay,” titling it “Luv Diamonds, Stay Back.”

The women of New Deal also performed their own arrangement of “Never Gonna Get It,” with each individual performing their own solo during the song.

In honor of Veteran’s Day, New Deal performed “America,” dedicating the song to those who have served the military.

Director of the New Deal Jazz Ensemble, Cheryl Wilson, said that she was proud of the “very talented” singers and performers of the New Deal Jazz Ensemble, citing that many of those in the group are freshmen.

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