An uplifting four-letter word

As joggers take an evening run and students head to the Rod Library for an all-night study session, the sound of jazz accompanies every step and every turn of their textbook pages. Each Monday evening, Michael Conrad and company serenades campus from outside Maucker Union during their jazz music series.

Michael Conrad, a senior music education and music composition and theory double major, organized the weekly "Four-Letter Word: Jazz" series on campus after a conversation with Bob Washut, professor of jazz studies. The "house" band, which plays for the first hour of every session, includes Conrad and fellow UNI students and jazz enthusiasts Noah Alvarado, Brooke Peters and Cory Healey.

"I wanted to get more exposure for jazz music because it's often an unappreciated art," said Conrad. "The series will also show the UNI community what students in the School of Music are up to. I hope this encourages others to check out other performances we're putting on."

Bystanders and jazz fans alike stop and catch a few tunes.

"We're just a group of students that have a common interest. The great thing about coming here and playing is that anyone can speak our language. We don't have rules and requirements to join. And that's really what jazz is all about anyway," said Jon Snell, UNI freshman music major, who often plays during the second hour of the series, along with other jazz musicians.

When putting this jazz series together, Conrad hoped to create a fun and exciting atmosphere for people who enjoy all types of music.

"When I am listening to or playing jazz with excellent and sincere musicians, there is no better feeling in the word -- no place I'd rather be," he said.

Outdoor play is becoming limited with November approaching, yet the music will continue as the series moves indoors to the Hemisphere Lounge in Maucker Union. The series is free, open to the public and performances are held every Monday from 7-9 p.m. Anyone wanting to perform during the second hour of the series can sign up in Russell Hall.

jazz house band


The "Four-Letter Word: Jazz" series starts off each Monday from 7-9 p.m. with solos and improvisation as jazz enthusiasts serenade campus life. The "house" band musicians, who begin the first hour of the series, include (from left) Cory Healey, Noah Alvarado, Brooke Peters and Michael Conrad. The second hour of the series invites anyone wanting to perform, to show their passion for jazz.
                                    Photo courtesy of the Northern Iowan and photo editor, Anna Schreck.