As the cool autumn breeze took over College Station, about 100 people gathered to enjoy smooth jazz at Wolf Pen Creek Sunday, Oct. 25.
The CommUNITY Jazz concert hosted by the Brazos Valley Jazz Society featured Greg Tivis and the Nawlins Jazz Band, renowned Texas A&M composer Peter Lieuwen and his new jazz group: the Peter Lieuwen Trio, plus premiere Dallas jazz artist, Kelsey Taylor, backed by the Brazos Valley Jazz Society Orchestra.
Tivis said the purpose behind the event was not only to promote the growing jazz community but to also bring everyone together through music.
“It seemed like a good time to have a community concert with the emphasis on unity, a safe family friendly outdoor event that people can come to because we’re kind of living in tense times with the election around the corner and everything else and the virus so we just want to provide some relief from that with a free concert,” Tivis said.
Opening the show, Greg Tivis and the Nawlins Jazz Band entertained the audience with charming pieces greeted with applause.
Before the concert, Tivis said he hoped the event would allow people to feel at ease and encouraged concert-goers to support the Brazos Valley Jazz Society.
“I hope everybody will leave with a big smile on their face and just breathing easier and feeling better and remembering that life is about music and togetherness and that they can forget their cares for a couple of hours and of course we want them to remember the Brazos Valley Jazz Society and hopefully become a supporter,” Tivis said.
Business sophomore Vivan Parra said attending the concert and embracing the unity aspect was a pleasant experience for her and her father, especially during this election period.
“I did like the message and I think it’s especially good,” Parra said. “This whole week has been very polarized, so this is very much needed.”
After Tivis and his band performed, the announcer introduced two A&M students, brothers Kyle and Will Cunningham, who surprised the audience with their electric jazz playing. Instructional assistant professor at the Department of Landscape Architecture and Urban Planning Dedra Davis said she wasn’t expecting to hear one of her students perform Sunday night.
“I got an extra bonus by the superb playing of one of my students Kyle Cunningham,” Davis said. “I had him for a couple of semesters back when we were actually face-to-face in classes and I remember him telling me then that he played jazz and then to hear him come out tonight, just made the night extra special.”
An active jazz listener, Davis said she finds the music very soothing and interesting despite it typically being very upbeat and lively.
“I actually listen to it a lot when I’m doing a simple task around the house, everything from cleaning up and doing my daily chores to things such as preparing for lectures,” Davis said. “Jazz takes me to another place mentally and I truly enjoy it.”
Kelsey Taylor took the stage as the headliner and the audience gazed as her voice carried throughout Wolf Pen. Prior to the concert, Taylor said in her daily life as a lawyer she’s under deadlines, and music allows listeners to put the world into perspective and promote commonality.
“I think it promotes unity and sameness where we can all get together despite all of the things that make us different and appreciate music in a way that makes your heart happy,” Taylor said. “I think it reminds us of how we’re all the same rather than so different which is the message that we get a lot more often in the world. For me it’s a huge release to get to make music generally so I hope the people listening get to feel the same way.”