Michigan Tech holding concert on jazz's role as protest music

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HOUGHTON, Mich. (WLUC) - Students are rehearsing jazz songs in preparation for a big concert this weekend in Michigan Tech's Rosza Center. The primary focus of the event will be the historical and cultural impact of jazz music.

"This is sort of a way for us to explore jazz's relationship to protests, and its relationship to, in particular, the civil rights movement in the 1960s and also events all the way up to today," said Adam Meckler, the Director of Jazz Studies at Michigan Tech.

The students will be playing classic jazz songs from across the ages, paying tribute to the message that was behind the music.

"It allows us to bring the impact to the audience and lets them kind of see back into history, something that the other songs that we particularly play don't bring. With the narration that we're doing throughout the show, we can show them the context and it allows us to bring more knowledge to the audience," said Alek Ertman, the Bass Player for Michigan Tech’s Jazz Lab Band.

The show will feature three bands playing in 18 piece ensembles, a much larger group than is typical for the jazz genre.

"So the big band is really an all-encompassing experience. It's such a large group of musicians and it's capable of creating such a huge amount of sound. I think it's a really exciting medium to listen to," said Meckler.

The show will also only be using the stage in order to recreate the look and feel of a jazz club, complete with a cash bar.

"The shows are this Friday and Saturday night, the 11th and 12th of October. Show times start at 7:30, 3 bands are playing and tickets are $15," added Meckler.

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