Although no one sat in the audience, the University of Idaho jazz choir rehearsed as if the whole world was watching.
Senior Aubrey Milatz placed herself behind the tall black music stand. Her ears were embraced by the vibrant sounds of harmony, and the sight of director Daniel Bukvich orchestrating the performance with the confident instructive fluctuation of his arms.
“I love Dan’s energy … and you can tell he just loves it so much and he brings so much energy into the rehearsals,” Milatz said.
Bukvich strode back and forth through a circle of vocalists with captivating enthusiasm.
The choir crafts a unique blend of melodic sounds in unity while rehearsing for the upcoming Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival.
Milatz said preparation for the Jazz Fest began at the start of the spring semester.
Junior Logan Ellis has dedicated himself to the jazz choir for the past three years. He said a general day at rehearsal involves vocal warm ups and preparation for upcoming performances.
For some students like Logan, the jazz presence on campus is what solidified their decision to attend UI.
“It is that one class that gets you through the day, no matter what type of day you’re having, it’s definitely that class for me,” Ellis said. “There’s nothing that tops how fun it is and how nice the people are.”
Ellis said all it took was watching the choir’s enthusiasm at a previous Jazz Fest that made him realize he didn’t want to attend any other school.
“I schedule all of my classes around jazz choir. If it conflicts I don’t take it … I couldn’t imagine not being in that choir,” Ellis said.
The Jazz Fest influences and inspires what some dedicate many hours of their time to. Festival attendees should not only expect to see students in the choir, but also passionate members of the Moscow community.
“It brings such an energy and a joy … I’ve never experienced a choir like this before, because it’s not traditional,” Milatz said.
With more than 100 vocalists, the jazz choir performs vocal arrangements in a melodious sound that unifies the unique tone of each singer.
The contributing students don’t participate in jazz choir for the school credit — they do it to be the smaller piece of a larger experience.
“It’s the best part of my day to be able to sing in jazz choir,” Milatz said.
The jazz choir is not limited to music majors, but any students who have a passion for the harmonious arts can take part, Milatz said.
Given the importance of this year being the 50th anniversary of the Jazz Fest, the jazz choir pushed to rehearse to the best of their abilities.
Meeting three times a week, rehearsal has become an essential component to the Jazz Fest experience.
Milatz and Ellis and the rest of the dedicated members of the jazz choir project music through their lungs, stringing together a rich composition of the enchanting experience of the jazz world.
Bukvich stopped fluctuating his arms to bring his hands together in a slow clap, signaling to the performers that rehearsal ended.
Savannah Cardon can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @savannahlcardon