Electric guitar students jam out

Brookhaven music department performs combinations of rock, jazz and folk at guitar ensemble showcase.

By Jake Griffin
Copy Desk Chief

 

Brookhaven College School of the Arts’ music department held an Electric Guitar Ensemble performance Nov. 16 in the Performance Hall lobby. The songs were a blend of rock, jazz and folk.

The band consisted of six electric guitar players, one acoustic guitar player, a bassist and a drummer and was directed by Paul Metzger, jazz guitar adjunct faculty. The band played a total of nine songs – eight of them instrumental. They played covers of songs by Carlos Santana, Duke Ellington, Frank Zappa and Joseph Kosma.

Metzger spoke briefly before introducing the band and opening with an electric guitar version of the song “There’s No Business Like Show Business,” originally by Irving Berlin.

“I’ve been directing this guitar ensemble for, I think, probably seven or eight years now,” Metzger said.

He said his goal has been to give guitar players the same attention other musicians in bands and orchestras get. Ensemble groups learn how to read music and perform together.

Metzger said the ability to read and write music fills in a lot of gaps of understanding. “It allows you to communicate clearly with people other than guitar players. It makes it more possible to play shows and write tunes and get your point across.”

Drummer Ann MacMillan said: “It’s just a class. But [Paul] likes them to play at least three times a semester.”

James McAuley, a student, led the song “The Idiot Bastard Son” by Frank Zappa. He played his guitar, a 1981 Ibanez AM205 Artist he nicknamed Stagemaster.

McAuley said it was a horribly underrated guitar at the time. “They weren’t popular, and they didn’t sell well,” he said. The guitar was made in the early ’80s. It has managed to gather some collectible value since then, McAuley said.

Yolanda Ward, a student, was the only guitarist who played an acoustic guitar. She said choosing that instrument allowed her to play on her own.

Once the band played the final song, Ward sang the lyrics to “In A Mellow Tone” by Duke Ellington. Ward said she always felt she was a better singer than a guitar player, and that is what inspired her to sing the song.

Metzger said he suggested young guitarists trying to improve their skill should learn how to play and find the right teacher. He also said guitar players should use the internet as a tool to improve their skills.

The Electric Guitar Ensemble will perform at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 6 in Room D203.

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