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Weissman Center Series to Continue with
'In Utero: Imaging and Imagining' March 6

You'll Want to Go Down this Path: MHC's Spring Flower Show

'Women's Jazz Festival Weekend March 7–8

Develop a Leader: Nominate a High Schooler for Take the Lead

Mount Holyoke to Honor its Own

Mount Holyoke's New Purchasing Card Offers Many Benefits

Celebrating the Liberal Arts and Five College Dance Department


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February 28, 2003

Women's Jazz Festival Weekend March 7–8

Diva jazz orchestra

Chapin Auditorium will swing with a big-band beat on Friday, March 7, as the all-women concert jazz orchestra DIVA performs in the Warbeke Memorial Concert, an annual event sponsored by the music department since 1956 in memory of Professor of Philosophy John Martyn Warbeke. The MHC Big Band Jazz Ensemble will be the opening act for DIVA at 8 pm. The following evening, Saturday, March 8, the Jazz Ensembles of MHC will perform in "Sisters In Jazz," a collaborative concert with the Smith College Jazz Ensemble at 7:30 pm, in McCulloch Auditorium. Both events are free.

The New York-based DIVA is known for contemporary and mainstream big band jazz in the tradition of Buddy Rich, Count Basie, Stan Kenton, Maynard Ferguson, and Woody Herman. The fifteen-member group has performed at Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center, and jazz festivals worldwide, earning the "divine" reputation its name suggests. Crescendo and Jazz Music calls DIVA a band that "excels in every department," and Jazz Times says the group performs with "disciplined abandon" and "unaffected joie de vivre." The group's recordings include I Believe in You (Arbors Records, 1998), Leave It to DIVA (1997), and Something's Coming (Perfect Sound, 1995). It is led by drummer and composer Sherrie Maricle, who directs percussion studies at New York University, plays with the New York Pops Orchestra, and leads the jazz quintet Five Play.

As part of its opening set, the MHC Big Band will perform Dizzy Gillespie's hypnotic Afro-Cuban masterpiece "Manteca," "I Loves You Porgy" from Gershwin's Porgy and Bess, and Dave Brubeck's classic study of irregular dance rhythms, "Blue Rondo à la Turk." On Saturday evening, the Chamber and Vocal Jazz Ensembles will be featured in Manhattan Transfer's "Operator" and Paul Simon's "Baby Driver," in addition to a set of music from both the Big Band and the Smith contingent.

MHC's three jazz ensembles (MHC Big Band, Chamber Jazz and Vocal Jazz), directed by Mark Gionfriddo, feature nearly fifty talented instrumentalists and singers from across the campus. The ensembles are celebrating their fifth anniversary of making music. "We are really happy to have this exciting weekend of events taking place during our special year," said Gionfriddo. "It's amazing how jazz music is really flourishing at all of the Five Colleges, and I'm especially pleased that Mount Holyoke is the setting for a weekend series to promote and celebrate women in jazz and women's jazz performance studies."

In addition to the performances, the Big Band will take part in a special clinic hosted by DIVA on Friday, March 7, at 4 pm in McCulloch. "DIVA musicians and their MHC counterparts will meet to work out special technical problems in our repertoire and make suggestions. It will be wonderful for us to tap into the wisdom and experience of these talented professional players," said Gionfriddo. Because of limited seating, the clinic is open only to students from MHC and from the Five Colleges. To find out more about the weekend and about jazz at MHC, go to


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