The Grinnell College Jazz Ensemble will take over a block of Broad Street on Thursday, May 4, to perform their end-of-semester concert on the steps of the Grinnell Arts Center.

“The Grinnell Jazz Ensemble Presents: Alright” will begin at 7 p.m. at 926 Broad St., Grinnell. The City of Grinnell has agreed to close Broad Street between Fourth and Fifth avenues from 6:30-8:30 p.m. for the concert, which is free and open to the public.

The Jazz Ensemble will play “brave music for troubled times,” including songs “Freedom! ’90” by George Michael, “What’s Going on” by Marvin Gaye, “Wednesday Night Prayer Meeting,” by Charles Mingus, “Alright” by Kendrick Lamar and “Passacaglia on a Theme by Benjamin Britten” by music major Aaron Levin ’17.

“Back in the fall, the Grinnell Jazz Ensemble asked you to ‘Take It Easy.’ In a lot of ways, the world seemed simpler then, and this spring ‘taking it easy’ no longer feels like the right choice,” says Mark Laver, assistant professor of music and director of the Jazz Ensemble.

“Faced with increasingly harsh social conditions at home, and faced with the threat of war on multiple fronts around the world, we choose to come together to play and sing. We believe that if we do that — and if more people listened to one another and made music together — like Kendrick Lamar says, ‘Do you hear me, do you feel me? We gon’ be alright.’“

The ensemble is made up of instrumentalists of all class years who are interested in the study and performance of jazz. The group, which performs twice a semester, plays music from a wide variety of jazz-related styles, and frequently performs works by both veteran and contemporary jazz composers.

While the ensemble focuses primarily on traditional jazz ensemble literature, the group often embarks upon large-scale musical performances of a nontraditional nature. 

Grinnell College welcomes the participation of people with disabilities. Accommodation requests may be made to Conference Operations.

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