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C-N Jazz Ensemble Plans Pearl Harbor Observance Concerts for Thanksgiving Week

Carson-Newman College’s Jazz Ensemble, under the direction of Pat Bivens, assistant professor of music will spend Thanksgiving week on Oahu. The 22-member ensemble will take part in events leading up to the 70th anniversary commemoration of attacks on Pearl Harbor.

“This will be an incredible opportunity for our students; they will uniquely encounter American history,” said Bivens, who retired as master sergeant in the U.S. Air Force Band after 22 years of service.

Students learned music new to them, but familiar to their grandparents. Preparations leading up to the trip set a historical and social context for the music they will play. Swing, like America itself, first suffered and later soared as a result of the war. Down Beat magazine began noting in each edition musicians who died in battle, and Glenn Miller, whose “In the Mood” is on the C-N ensemble’s setlist, was lost when his transport plane disappeared over the English Channel in late 1944.

Oddly, the war also created swing fans who might otherwise have never encountered it. “We discussed the war, its impact on music history and the advent of the big band era. They really got to know it as they prepare for their 1940s, USO-style performances,” said Bivens.

The group’s concert schedule includes USS Missouri Battleship Museum, the Polynesian Culture Center and Ala Moana Centerstage. Along with swing, the group is simultaneously preparing to help lead worship music for a Sunday evening service at Waikiki Baptist Church.

Thanksgiving Day will find tour participants at Honolulu social agencies, where, Bivens said, “We are going help prepare and serve Thanksgiving dinner at a soup kitchen and homeless shelter.”

The tour includes:

Sun. 11/20; 6 PM ————— Worship Service at Waikiki Baptist Church

Mon. 11/21; 12 PM (noon) —— Tribute Performance at the USS Missouri

Tue. 11/22; 5 PM ————— Performance at Ala Moana Center Stage

Wed. 11/23; 1 PM ————— Performance at the Polynesian Cultural Center

Thur. 11/23; 9 AM to 1 PM ——- Serve at Salvation Army T’Giving Dinner @ Blaisdell Center

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