By John Mitchell
The Fitchburg State jazz band has started the fall semester on a high note after last semester’s final performance last spring at the Art Gallery in the Underground.
This year’s band features eleven members; 7 new members and 4 returning from last year’s 8-person band. Although the band is fairly small, Dr. Michele Caniato, the jazz band director, has high hopes.
“These are musicians who really want to be here. This band tries hard every semester.”
As the band prepares for their annual winter concert, Caniato knows how important it is for the band to have exposure to the rest of the school.
“People might be unaware how hard we work. It’s good for the band too. It gives us experience with an audience.”
When Caniato first started teaching here, the band was far different. “My first year here, the jazz band was four people.” A typical jazz band usually has around twenty people in it.
The band has changed quite a bit recently. For years, alumni, faculty, and local musicians were allowed to perform in the band and filled up most of the seats. After the 2009 spring semester, the music department decided to narrow the jazz band down to just students, but that left the band with only a few student members.
“It’s important to get the jazz band out there. Word of mouth is always key.” says Caniato.
The director is also excited about the new music classes being offered at FSU. “The new guitar and piano classes will be taught by really good musicians. The students should get a lot out of these classes.”
The school’s transformation to a university could also set the stage for a much larger music program. “After the science building goes up, we’re next.” Caniato explained how there are plans for a new fine arts building, one that would include a brand new performance center, practice rooms and instrument lockers along with many other improvements the current fine arts building doesn’t have.
Caniato has a bright outlook as the jazz band looks to continue their success this semester. The winter concert, also featuring the FSU concert band, will be held in Kent Auditorium this December.