Joint concert features CSU-Pueblo and CSU-Fort Collins jazz bands at Hoag Hall

by Victoria Ruiz

Music majors from Colorado State University-Pueblo and Fort Collins know how to collaborate. On March 8, students from Jazz Ensemble 1 from each university performed a combined jazz concert at the Hoag Recital Hall.

Although the concert started at 7:30 p.m., many people could be seen joining the audience throughout the performance. The audience was relaxed and respectful of the artists. They showed their support for the students with brief applause after each solo.

The performance was divided into two sections by a short intermission. CSU-Pueblo’s Jazz Ensemble 1 opened the concert. Destiny Mauro, a freshman music education student, described CSU-Pueblo’s musical style as “a modern, phat band.” While Mauro described CSU-Fort Collins as 50s band and swing.

According to the concert schedule, CSU-Pueblo performed songs composed by Grammy winner Gordon Goodwin and composer Sammy Nestico. They featured the voice of Ryan Walters, a junior music education student with a double major in vocals and saxophone during their performance of “Caught a Touch of Your Love” which the program says is by James Best, Craig Bickhardt and Jack Keller. .

CSU-Ft. Collins took a different approach to their performance by featuring Gary Smulyan who is a professional baritone saxophonist, according to the program. Smulyan was featured in four of the six CSU-Ft. Collins played. He joined the ensemble during the performance of “Just You, Just Me” by Jesse Greer and arranged by Paul McKee.

For the final performance, the sister schools shared the stage. The universities showed friendly competition by choosing a song that featured solos for multiple instruments and apparently dividing them equally between the two sets.

Sophomore music student Makenna Green said, “It was a super cool experience.” As a member of CSU-Pueblo’s Jazz Ensemble 1 that performed that night, Green said it seemed like the students were mostly laughing with each other on stage and “having a lot of fun.”

The two sets together occupied the entire stage. In fact, Green described the experience as “massive.” Peter Sommer, the director of CSU-Ft. Collins Jazz Ensemble joked that the size of the group made it “almost the jazziest thing” the audience would see that night.

The next event hosted by the CSU-Pueblo Music Department is Shai Funk’s Jr. Flute Recital on March 16 at 7 p.m. at Hoag Hall, according to the schedule. For more information about the CSU-Pueblo Music Department, visit

Ada J. Kenney