Livestreamed from Alexander Music Building, the the Eastern Michigan University Jazz Ensemble held their first concert of the 2020 season on Wednesday, Oct. 21, which was shifted to an online format due to COVID-19.
The ensemble did have some technical difficulties as they were testing the livestream. After recording their trial, the video uploaded and archived to Vimeo and they were unable to reuse the scheduled link. A new link was then sent out, with over 70 viewers.
The livestream started at 7:30 p.m. with Professor Donald Babcock, the director of the Jazz Ensemble, giving a warm welcome to viewers and introducing the musicians.
Nine instrumentalists and one vocalist performed eight pieces while wearing masks and maintaining social distancing throughout the concert.
Amadeo C. Roberson, a saxophone player and a senior saxophone performance major at EMU, has been in the Jazz Ensemble for three and a half years and thought the concert was a success.
“It was a really good experience. It was definitely a lot different than it has been, but it’s still the same idea. [We’re] still playing live music with real people,” Roberson said.
Even though the concert was not a live performance, Roberson is very excited to pursue these types of performances in the future.
“I think it has made me even more excited, because now I get to work on different things [in the music performance industry] like learning how to livestream music and creating a YouTube channel,” Roberson said.
The safety protocols that the ensemble has taken because of COVID-19 complications have made the members feel safe.
“I think what Dr. Babcock and Dr. Stanton, the two professors for our Tuesday and Thursday rehearsals, are doing [great]. The direction that the ensemble is going as of right now with COVID-19, is going really well. They’re . . . able to implement all of the safety protocols,” Roberson said.
The ensemble can only practice together for 35 minutes at a time, with 20 minute breaks to clear the air because of COVID-19 restrictions. Their first time running through the pieces nonstop was only hours before the concert.
“We thought the sound quality came through pretty well,” Professor Donald Babcock, one of the directors of EMU’s Jazz Ensemble, said. “We wanted to try to see if we can upgrade the video quality because it was a little bit pixelated...Maybe a better way at announcing the players and the pieces because I know the sound quality was a little bit soft.”
Babcock was very happy with the turnout of the concert and has already received positive feedback from the students, parents and EMU faculty.
“I went home afterwards and felt really good about it knowing that this met my expectations for what we could do,” Babcock said.