The “Hart” of Music: Guest Artist Performs with SMSU Jazz Ensemble

Kim Watkins, News Editor

Leading up to the 7th Annual Fine Arts Celebration, guest artist Antonio Hart performed alongside the Southwest Minnesota State University Jazz Ensemble in a two-day concert series.

The concerts were held Monday, Mar. 25 at Litchfield, Minn. High School and Tuesday, Mar. 26 at the Marshall Middle School. Both concerts featured Hart on alto saxophone, performing several songs with the ensemble group.

Hart was interested in playing the alto sax at a young age, and attended the Baltimore School of the Arts. He continued his education at Berklee College of Music in Boston, Mass., where he earned his degree in Music Education. Hart has also received his Master’s degree in performance and composition from Queens College in New York City. Hart has participated in tours around the world and has released several albums throughout the years.

The Jazz Ensemble performed both nights, under the direction of Dr. John Ginocchio, with songs such as Manteca by Dizzy Gillespie and Chano Pozo (arrangement by James Borowski, a previous guest artist), Red Clay by Freddie Hubbard (arrangement by Mark Taylor), Orange Sherbert by Sammy Nestico and On Green Dolphin Street by Bronislau Kaper and Ned Washington (arrangement by Victor Lopez).

Hart joined in with the group, performing Black, Brown and Beautiful by Oliver Nelson, Stars Fell on Alabama by Mitchell Parrish and Frank Perkins (arrangement by Hart) and Like My Own by Hart, who expressed being chosen as a godfather as the influence for this song. Also performed in a quartet with himself and members of the rhythm section was Last Train to Overbrook by James Moody.

Aside from the performances, Hart also held several clinics with students from the Litchfield and Marshall schools as part of his visit.

The Guest Artist Series has brought several professionals from across the country to SMSU since the 2006-2007 school year and has helped further the education of students at this university and other communities.

Upcoming performances of the SMSU Jazz Ensemble include:

April 2-3: South Dakota Tour (Sioux Falls, Brookings and Huron)

April 8: All City Jazz Concert at 7 p.m., Schwan Community Center for the Performing Arts

April 22: Jazz Ensemble Concert, SMSU Fine Arts Theatre