Bison Jazz Orchestra In Concert Monday, May 2

Oklahoma Baptist University's Bison Jazz Orchestra, under the direction of Kevin Pruiett, assistant professor of music, will perform its final concert of the 2004-05 academic year Monday, May 2, at 7:30 p.m. in the University's Yarborough Auditorium.

“From start to finish, the Bison Jazz Orchestra concert will be sure to entertain and amaze the audience with a wide variety of big band music,” said Pruiett.

The jazz orchestra will perform music written for the Count Basie Orchestra and the Buddy Rich Big Band, as well as other pieces from the contemporary big band and swing repertoire. One of the highlights of the evening will be a big band arrangement of music from the popular show Riverdance. According to Pruiett, “by blending elements of Celtic music with the instrumentation of a big band, arranger Bob Curnow has created one of the most exciting contemporary big band arrangements of the past 20 years.”

The evening will feature student soloists Aaron Jameson, a Yakima, Wash., junior; Haskell Melton, a Savanna, Okla., senior; and Caleb Raney, a Tecumseh senior.

The evening also will showcase soloists Adam Ray, a Eufaula, Okla., senior; Olivier David, a senior from Cap Malheureux, Mauritius; and John Mark Dadulo, a senior from Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. Andrea Dent, a senior from Oak Grove, Mo.; and Elise Anderson, a junior from Tishomingo, Okla., will be featured vocalists with the BJO.

This year’s performance also will highlight Pruiett, who teaches trumpet at OBU, on a ballad written by famed jazz guitarist Pat Metheny, titled Dream of the Return.

The Bison Jazz Messengers, a jazz combo made up of members of the Bison Jazz Orchestra, will perform two selections during the concert.

“The Messengers are made up of OBU’s top jazz improvisers,” said Pruiett. “Performing in the jazz combo allows the students the opportunity and space to be more creative than in the big band setting.”

The Messengers include Ray, Jameson, Dadulo, David, Raney, and Tim Thompson, a freshman from Yukon, Oklahoma.

During the concert, the BJO Outstanding Jazz Musician Award will be given to the orchestra member who has “rendered the most outstanding service to the organization during the year.” The award, voted on by the members of the ensemble, is the highest honor given to a jazz musician on the OBU campus.

The Bison Jazz Orchestra, an auditioned 18-piece jazz ensemble, has released two compact discs: “Bison Jazz Orchestra” in 1998 and most recently, “Final Cut” in the fall of 2000. Students in the Bison Jazz Orchestra are pursuing degrees in a variety of majors and disciplines. In addition to music majors, represented areas of study include cross-cultural ministry, children’s ministry, journalism, biology, philosophy, and applied ministry.

The group often participates in the Wichita Jazz Festival and the Jazz Festival at the University of Northern Colorado, receiving consistent superior ratings. The Jazz Orchestra has appeared at Jazz on Bell Street, Fine Arts Chapel, the annual M&M’s concert, and OBU’s Homecoming Gala. The BJO performed at two “Live at the Black Box” programs on the OBU campus during this academic year.

The OBU Division of Music offers degrees in performance, musical arts, music education, and a liberal arts degree with emphasis in music. For more information, contact the Division of Music at 405-878-2305 or via email to