Annual joint jazz concert highlights senior musicians

The annual joint performance was once again before a live audience


The university’s jazz ensemble played alongside professional musicians. Photo by Elena Lee, ’25.

Yizhen Zhou

Washington and Lee University Jazz and the Vosbein Magee Big Band performed together for their annual joint concert in Wilson Hall on Nov. 11 at 8 p.m..

The concert was conducted by Terry Vosbein, professor of music, who has been a professional composer for many years. Vosbein created the Washington and Lee jazz ensemble 25 years ago. 

The ensemble is composed of 20 Washington and Lee students, ranging from first-years to seniors, who played various winds, keyboards, strings, and percussion. 

The Vosbein Magee Big Band is a professional ensemble co-founded by Vosbein and Chris Magee. The members of the band are experienced musicians from all around the U.S.. They drove or flew all the way to Washington and Lee for the Thursday night concert. 

The event was free of charge, and the entire university and Lexington community was invited. Only masks were required for entry.

Around 300 people filled the concert hall, and there was an online streaming option as well. The concert lasted about two hours, and almost none of the audience members left the show early.

The ensemble has worked hard every Tuesday and Thursday night to prepare for the concert. 

Vosbein encouraged the ensemble by joking in regards to the other music departments. 

“We are not in a competition,” he said. “But we are going to win.”

A major moment during the annual concert places senior jazz ensemble members on stage with the professional musicians. Five senior students were highlighted this year: Truman Chancy, ’22, and Jae Jung, ’22, who play the saxophone, and Alec Mulkern, ’22, Cassandra Sobiesky, ’22, and Leslie Sparling, ’22, who play the trumpet. 

The group typically plays one featured concert for every fall and winter semester. It also occasionally hosts smaller events like performances outdoors and at Kendal, a retirement facility in Lexington. 

The group even used to travel and play abroad in China and Russia before the COVID-19 pandemic.

Vosbein said that he is glad he could perform with a live audience again, just like back in pre-COVID-19 times.

“Performing is communicating, so if you are communicating but there is nobody there to receive your communication, it feels empty,” he said.

The audience is a crucial part of the performance, Vosbein added. 

“When you have an audience, when you excite the audience, the audience excites you,” he said. “When the audience is on your side, then you’re going to feel it, and you’re going to pump it up for the next song.”