Courtesy of Ohio State Arts and Sciences Communications
After about 30 years of moving the School of Music’s jazz studies program out of Weigel Hall and next to Mirror Lake, the semester switch might make this year’s Jazz at Mirror Lake the last.
Jazz at Mirror Lake is a jazz series that features performances from the School of Music’s jazz studies students every Thursday in May at Mirror Lake’s Browning Amphitheatre.
The event starts Thursday with the Jazz Combos and is scheduled to start at 7 p.m. All other Thursday performances are scheduled to begin at 7:30 p.m. The remaining performances start at 7:30 p.m. The May 10 performance will feature the Jazz Faculty, the May 17 performance will feature the Jazz Lab Ensemble, the May 24 performance will feature the Jazz Workshop Ensemble and the May 31 performance will feature the Jazz Ensemble.
This free, outdoor concert, which has been going on for about 30 years, is the last concert of the academic year that the jazz studies program performs and is further confirmation of the university’s strengths, said Ted McDaniel, director of jazz studies.
“I think it’s just one more piece of evidence of the greatness of Ohio State University,” McDaniel said. “There’s all kinds of talent here and this is just a little bit more evidence of the talent that we have here on this campus.”
As most of the other concerts are performed in Weigel Hall, McDaniel said it’s a great opportunity to play outside at Mirror Lake.
“I’ve always felt that that was probably the most beautiful part of this campus,” he said. “It’s green (and) it’s framed perfectly – architecturally, acoustically. It’s absolutely wonderful, and all of the musicians just absolutely love to play there.”
Jazz at Mirror Lake also exposes music from another culture to an audience that might not know about the music program on campus otherwise, due to the convenient outside location of the event, said Kris Keith, director of the Jazz Lab Ensemble and Latin Jazz Combo.
“Because the convenience of people just walking by, people want to be outside when the weather’s nice instead of indoors,” he said. “Of course, a lot of times we get listeners that normally wouldn’t come to a performance inside of a concert hall. I’ve actually had people come up to me after a performance and say, ‘I didn’t realize there was a jazz department here.'”
Jonathan Lampley, a fourth-year in jazz studies and trumpet player who is performing with the OSU Jazz Ensemble for the third year straight, said the atmosphere of this concert is always lighter than others during the year.
“Usually we’re all dressed up,” Lampley said. “But we’ll be wearing T-shirts and shorts probably, so it’s a much more casual kind of thing.”
Due to the upcoming semester change, it is unclear if the event will continue in the future because of the earlier end to the academic school year, Keith said.
“The weather doesn’t get nice enough until this time of year, so it’s kind of unfortunate that we lose this time of year with the semester changeover,” Keith said. “Hopefully there’ll be a way that we will be able to continue that, but I’m not sure. This may possibly be the last year that it happens.”
Keith also said the concert is an opportunity to broaden your horizons musically in an appealing setting.
“Music is just such a joy and we need to experience it as much as we possibly can in our lives,” he said. “And Mirror Lake is so beautiful and when you got music going, it just adds to that beauty.”
In case of inclement weather, performances may be moved to Weigel Auditorium.