Big Mouth, UW-Green Bay alumni join students for Jazz Ensembles concert

UW-Green Bay is hosting its first Alumni Reunion Days this weekend, and the school’s Music program will lead the way with a Jazz Ensembles concert at 7:30 p.m. this Friday, Nov. 1, with student ensembles sharing the bill with top alumni players and their popular local band.

Big Mouth and the Power Tool Horns will be special guests for the show in the Cofrin Family Hall of the Weidner Center for the Performing Arts. It’s the first concert of the academic year for Jazz Ensemble I under the direction of Associate Prof. John Salerno and Jazz Ensemble II directed by Associate Prof. Adam Gaines.

Opening the program is Jazz Ensemble II with the Mark Taylor tune “Stick With It,” which features Bobby Magers on drums. Trumpeter David Blihar gets a solo turn on the next selection, an arrangement of the David Clayton Thomas hit “Spinning Wheel.” Blihar and saxophonist Kyle Hall are featured in the 1939 jazz standard “Harlem Nocturne.” Closing the set is the Victor Lopez composition “You Snooze You Lose,” with Hall as soloist.

Salerno’s Jazz Ensemble I will open with a Dan Gailey arrangement of the tenor-sax ballad “Widow’s Walk,” with students Sam Stranz and Matt Hillmann leading the way on sax and guitar, respectively. Stranz also provides the arrangement for “In Walked Bud” and vocal soloist Maari Erdman on the 1947 Thelonious Monk composition. Next up is a Salerno arrangement of Marcus Miller’s “Hannibal,” featuring faculty colleague Gaines on trumpet and student Julio Reyes on saxophone, followed by the Salerno composition “The Lake Effect,” named to honor his family’s native Manitowoc. The tune features Stranz and Reyes on sax, Hillmann on guitar and Sean Roherty on drums. The final selection, will bring in the Power Tool Horns to sit in on John Coltrane’s hard-bop “Blue Train.”

Big Mouth and the Power Tool Horns takes the stage following intermission for a set of blues, jazz and original music. Appropriate for Alumni Reunion Days and a UW-Green Bay Jazz Ensembles concert, the nine-member group has a heavy contingent of former UW-Green Bay players. Performers Friday will include Nathan Behling, Class of 1984, trumpet; Marc Jimos ’91, sax and vocals; Bill Dennee ’91, trombone; Woody Mankowski ‘89, sax and vocals; and Paul Sowinski ’83, bass and vocals.

UW-Green Bay Jazz Ensemble II personnel are as follows:
Saxophone: Kyle Hall, alto; Kyle Henrickson, alto; Alex Munson, tenor; Kelton Jennings, baritone; Trumpet: David Blihar, Evan Patton, Brandt Bailey; Trombone: Patrick Romanek, Joe Russett, Mike Hogan; Rhythm Section: Anne Reis, piano; Jon Tabers-Kwak, guitar; Matt Hayes, guitar; Gillian Evanoff, bass; Bobby Magers, drums.

UW-Green Bay Jazz Ensemble I personnel are as follows:
Saxophone: Julio Reyes, Cole Watkins, Sam Stranz, Kadin Dever, McKenna VenDerLeest; Trumpet: Greg Koeller, Chase Collins, Tanner Vodvarka, Gatlin Grimm; Trombone: Michael Hogan, Alex Reed, Joe Russett, Patrick Romanek; Rhythm Section: Kyle Sweeney, piano; Matt Hillman, guitar; Tony Pesavento, bass; Sean Roherty, drums.

Tickets for the Nov. 1 concert are $6 for adults and $4 for students and seniors. Call (920) 465-2400 or visit For more information, visit The University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, an accredited institutional member of the National Association of Schools of Music, is located at 2420 Nicolet Drive.

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