Jazzy tunes and harmonies filled Cal Poly Pomona’s Music Recital Hall last Thursday, April 18.
At 8 p.m., CPP’s vocal jazz and a cappella ensemble, the Polytonix, took to the stage to perform this year’s program, “Sweet Face of Love.”
The program consisted of recognizable melodies about love, but other songs were included with input from director of the ensemble Professor Kendra Vuk and her performers.
“I planned the jazz set ahead of time. The last four [songs] would be a jazz set,” Vuk said.
The jazz set included “It’s You or No One,” “Cinnamon and Clove,” “But Beautiful” and “Sweet Georgia Brown,” all of which were accompanied by a small jazz band.
The set also featured a notable technique in vocal jazz — scat singing. First-year jazz piano performance student Isaac Jimenez performed a scat solo in “Cinnamon and Clove,” and his choice in study proves his love of jazz music.
“It’s the sense of improvisation … leaving everything until the last second,” Jimenez said.
Jimenez also sang the solo in “But Beautiful,” but his talents were in multiple areas of the program. He accompanied other soloists as their pianist and even created vocal percussions as a beatboxer.
Along with Jimenez, the Polytonix are made up of many new faces — both first years and even late additions at the start of the semester. The new additions were to fill up some space after losing six members in the middle of the academic year.
The smaller group of 13 still sang their hearts out on Thursday to put on a great show, starting the night with “The Greatest Showman Medley.”
“The Greatest Showman” is a musical drama film released in the U.S. in December 2017 and features songs with lyrics from the duo Pasek and Paul, who are known to have written songs for “Dear Evan Hansen” and almost every track in “La La Land.”
Although “The Greatest Showman” is described as a film about how a man struggles to start a business, there are underlying messages of love such as: forbidden love, self-love, familial love (blood related or not), romantic love and the passion felt doing something one loves to do.
The Polytonix ensemble performed other love songs like “Natural Woman,” “I Can’t Make You Love Me” and “At Last.” There are other songs portraying the different kinds of love, but all songs showcased the group’s love for singing.
While there are members of the ensemble who study within the music department, there are students of different majors.
First-year mechanical engineering students Sarah Hale and Grace Engleman find that performing vocal jazz “is an outlet” to their academic studies and “a way to continue singing,” now that they’ve graduated from high school choir.
“The Sweet Face of Love” was a sweet way to showcase vocal chops to a jazz-loving audience.
A lovely night was enjoyed by all.
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