The Polytonix Vocal Jazz and Kellogg Soul Music ensembles rocked the house during their concert last Thursday night.
This concert marked John Proulx’s first concert as a solo director at Cal Poly Pomona. Proulx is the director of both Polytonix and the Kellogg Soul Music Ensemble. This semester is his first as a director and lecturer at the university. Proulx has worked both nationally and internationally as a jazz musician, composer and educator.
The concert started with the Polytonix Vocal Jazz Ensemble with the song “Old Devil Moon” by Burton Lane and Yip Harburg. With the soulful and soothing rhythm of the song, it set the tone of the group’s performance.
The group then continued with the song “Art’s Groove” by Steve Allee, which was performed at the jazz concert last month. This performance showcased every singer’s a cappella abilities through different solos.
The Polytonix took a break as a group to feature some of its singers with full solo song.
Grace Engleman, a Polytonix singer, took the stage first with a powerful performance of “At Last” by Harry Warren and Mack Gordon. The audience was left speechless and awed by the strong voice Engleman had and the range of vocals she possessed.
The next couple of songs were performed by Danise Kuang, who sang “Summertime” by George and Ira Gershwin. Kuang chose her solo song because of her childhood memories connected to the song.
“My parents used to sing me lullabies, so I will sing a lullaby for all of you tonight,” Kuang said.
The song changed the pace of the concert to a soothing and alluring tune.
The next notable song performed during the Polytonic’s set was “My Way” by Frank Sinatra. Singer Nicholas Huffman performed the song “his way” with his unique voice.
The group came back together to end its set before the intermission. The group sang the a cappella version of “I’ll Be Seeing You” by Sammy Fain and Irving Kahal.
Polytonix performed the song beautifully, giving the song both a haunting and enchanting tone. This song left the audience in awe, with shivers down their spines.
The Polytonix wrapped up with the jazz rendition of “Look for the Silver Lining” by Jerome Kern and B.G. DeSylva, which highlighted the members’ jazz a cappella abilities once more.
After the short intermission, it was the Soul Music Ensemble’s turn. The group brought out a burst of energy as the singers skipped and jogged on stage with their denim outfits.
The Soul Music Ensemble started its set strong with the song “Sir Duke” by Stevie Wonder. The energetic song had the crowd bobbing heads and tapping toes to the beat. And the group of singers was lively and ecstatic to be on stage with dance moves and interaction with the crowd.
After the ensemble’s introduction song, director Proulx explained the next round of solos to the crowd.
“What you are hearing tonight is actually the songs they auditioned to get into the group,” Proulx said.
The Soul Music Ensemble did not just feature its amazing singers during their solos, the group highlighted the singing abilities of pianist Isaac Jimenez and even the rapping skills of drummer Zion Guerrero.
The ensemble brought Jimenez out on the stage to sing a mash-up of “Sunny” by Bobby Hebb and “Just Friends” by Musiq. The pianist highlighted his unique voice and even showcased his beat-boxing skills to remix the song, leaving the crowd surprised and shocked.
The Soul Music Ensemble introduced Guerrero as a featured rapper while he drummed in the song “On My Mind” by Jorja Smith. Singer of the Soul Music Ensemble, Kriziel Mendoza, sang this song alongside Guerrero, since she auditioned with it. The original song does not include a rap, so Guerrero wrote his own rap to this song. His part fit perfectly with the song and had the audience grooving to his words.
Both ensembles gathered on stage to sing one last song together. The combined group sang “You’ve Got a Friend” by James Taylor. The song fit the closing of the concert, leaving the audience satisfied and content with the night full of soulful music.
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