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Eliza Johnson

Eliza Johnson, Paw Paw

Coby Henslee, Watervliet

Coby Henslee, Watervliet

Seth Kalina, Cassopolis

Seth Kalina, Cassopolis

Alicia Ferguson

Alicia Ferguson, Buchanan

Alex Schesnuk  Stevensville

Alex Schesnuk, Stevensville

Chrism Collins, Cassopolis

Chris Collins, Cassopolis

SMC Jazz Ensemble, Select Voices Take Break From High School Tour to Benefit Beckwith Theatre

Published on May 8, 2023 - 2 p.m.

Southwestern Michigan College’s Roadrunners played their benefit concert for Beckwith Theatre May 6.

For their seventh concert of the week, SMC’s Jazz Ensemble and Select Voices took a break from their high school tour before returning to the road, leaving for Grand Rapids early May 8.

”We’re going to wrap up our tour in Brandywine and Lawton on Tuesday,” Director of Bands Mark Hollandsworth said.

While Beckwith is a theatrical venue for plays, the former church’s acoustics are a delight for music, enveloping the intimate space with sound, from the jazz band’s openers, “In the Mood” and “Satin Doll” to the closer, Louis Prima’s “Sing Sing Sing (With a Swing)” featuring drummer Chris Collins of Cassopolis.

“Groove Merchant” featured the entire saxophone section — Seth Kalina of Cassopolis on tenor, Glenn McFarland of Sister Lakes on alto and soprano, Kennedy Stillson of South Haven on tenor, Landynn Byrd of Niles on tenor and Benny Van Roekel of Paw Paw on baritone.

The Jazz Combo combined John Coltrane’s “Impressions” with the world premiere of bassist Kenneth Creameans’ original composition, “Stern Gaze.”

Director of Choral Activities David Carew, who has been fond of the Beckwith since he directed Dowagiac choirs, conducted The Beatles’ “In My Life,” “Moonglow,” “Sunrise Sunset” from Fiddler on the Roof, a Latin-flavored rendition of The Turtles’ “Happy Together” and showcased soloists such as Alicia Ferguson of Buchanan, Eliza Johnson of Paw Paw and Sarah and Fawn Bussler of Dowagiac.

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