Jazz ensemble unites music, non-music majors

Clarence Plank

The Eastern New Mexico University Jazz ensemble is a collection of music majors and non-music majors who have come together to play their favorite music. The band is open to all students.

“They play for local social events,” said ENMU Director of Bands Dustin Seifert, “and a couple of members … last semester were actually performing live at Goober’s on Tuesday nights.”

The band has approximately 20 members. Blayne Bass of Portales has been a member for five years. He started playing jazz when he was in high school in Clovis.

“I started playing with the ensemble when I was in my freshman year and I just continued to play through it,” Bass said. “I am the lead trumpet player. I started playing back in high school. We had a director who encouraged people to play in the ensemble. I took an interest in it and tried it, fell in love and have been enjoying it ever since.”

The jazz ensemble performs throughout the fall and spring semesters for the university, civic events and the annual ENMU Jazz Fest and they cover a wide range of jazz styles.

“There is more student input than … other ensembles,” Bass said. “There are a lot of improv solos, interpretation and stuff. We have our own unique way of portraying the music by being more involved with it.”

Some members of the jazz band also play in jazz or blues combo. Bass said some of his friends participate in that group from time to time. He had an opportunity to play with the Southwest Symphony of Hobbs and recently finished a concert with the Clovis Community Band.

Bass hopes to become a music educator after graduating from ENMU and be able to share his talent with family, friends and other students.

“I really like to perform and I really want to be a music educator and be able to teach other people,” Bass said. “Because I have a passion for playing and I want to instill that into young people, but I really like to play.”