By: CAMDEN CHAFFEE
The sounds of various styles of jazz music filled the IU South Bend campus Saturday during the first IUSB Jazz Festival, an event designed to bring people together through the power of music. Featuring trumpeter Rodney Marsalis and various local jazz ensembles, the outdoor concert attracted IUSB faculty, students and community members and it was made evident through the crowd’s engagement that the music was well-enjoyed.
According to Dr. Marvin Curtis, the dean of the Raclin School of the Arts, the festival was motivated by an incident in which degrading comments were made directed toward African Americans. The IU South Bend Student Government Association, along with the music department, decided to put on a jazz concert to promote unification.
In a letter written by Kevin Schascheck, he stated that the IU South Bend campus “needed something which would speak to every person that walked the halls of IU South Bend.” Their answer was jazz music.
“Jazz is a universal style of music. It draws in a diverse crowd,” Dean Curtis said.
Dennis Gamble, director of both the IUSB Jazz Band and the Mishawaka High School Jazz Band said that it was a pleasure to be able to be a part of the show and it was an honor for him and his high school ensemble to play.
Along with Gamble, Marsalis’ band, an 11 piece New Orleans combo, was excited to be included in the first jazz festival at IU South Bend.
“This is a really cool event here. It’s free, so there are no financial barriers and it’s just a great way for the community to come together,” Marsalis mentioned. “I really believe that music can heal the world.”
In addition to Marsalis, Juan-Carlos Alarcon believes that music is a great way to impact communities and mend the hearts of those who’ve been hurt.
Alarcon said, “One of the greatest aspects of the music department and the university is the way they can bring people together through the healing power of art.”
As Marsalis’ band opened their show with the hymn, “Just a Closer Walk With Thee,” the smiles and the enthusiasm of the diverse crowd showed that music can bring people together and help alleviate the pain of racist and hateful attacks.