Kicking off the Four Seasons Cultural Series, Florida International University (FIU) School of Music’s Jazz Big Band performed a lively set on October 12, 2014 at Heritage Park in Sunny Isles Beach.
This outdoor concert was a special warm send-off for Mayor Norman Edelcup, who will be leaving office after the 2014 Election because of term limits. Mayor Edelcup was presented with an award from Steven Moll, Vice Provost at FIU’s Biscayne Bay Campus, who gave accolades to the mayor for his ardent support of the university and the cultural enrichment of the city. “I am lucky to have worked with Mayor Norman Edelcup. The Biscayne Bay campus has 7,500 students and is located about 4-miles from the City of Sunny Isles Beach. The cultural events benefit FIU, the public and the talent of these extraordinary musicians,” said Steven Moll.
Mayor Edelcup agrees, “It has been great working with FIU and developing the Four Season Cultural Series. It is a win win situation for the University and Sunny Isles Beach. The musicians have an opportunity to perform at this venue in the City; we are pleased our relationship with FIU continues to grow. The money we paid for tonight’s performance goes into the School of Music Scholarship Fund.”
An appreciative audience listened to a varied repertoire of Jazz songs under the guidance of Director Jim Hacker. A 19- piece studio jazz band captured the essence of a big band, playing Jazz standards to contemporary tunes. The concert repertoire chart included interpretations of songwriters from the Great American Songbook. Jazz is an American art form with expressive compositions and instrument solos encompassing a spectrum from pianissimo to upbeat tempos and brassy arrangements. A highlight of the concert, the FIU band performed a special song for Mayor Edelcup, “Seventy- Six Trombones,” from the Academy award winning film, “The Music Man.” “I always envisioned 76 trombones marching into this park. This big park lends itself to big music,” said Edelcup.
Jim Hacker, who performs frequently with well-known artists, both on tours and on albums, said, “If you want to learn more about the big band music, I recommend listening to Stan Keaton, Buddy Rich, and Count Basie. It is high energy. The music that we performed at this concert was from charts that I have researched and is something I really enjoy listening to. In my opinion, some of the best charts ever written for big bands were for Sinatra.”
Ozzie Vega came out to support the band and hear his son, Taylor Vega, who plays tenor saxophone with the band. “I encouraged my son to play music from an early age. The FIU professors are really fantastic and the college has an incredible music program. Taylor is currently working on his masters and he is a teaching assistant, plus he performs with several bands throughout the area,” said Vega.
In view of supporting higher education, the City also sponsors the First Generation Scholarships at FIU in the amount of $5,000. The State of Florida provides matching funds for a total of $10,000 for students. This particular scholarship helps promising young people be the first one in their family to attend a university.
“This is what I consider one of my long goodbyes. It is very rewarding for me knowing that these events will continue after I leave office. I will be in office until December 3. The new mayor, whoever wins the election, will take over. I plan to remain active with the Sunny Isles Beach Foundation, a new organization, dedicated to bringing cultural arts events to the city,” said Mayor Edelcup.
For information about future musical events offered by the city’s Cultural & Community Services, check the website at sibfl.net or call 305-792-1706.