Tomorrow and Monday nights Eastman students will perform a tribute concert to famous singer-songwriter Joni Mitchell. Chappell Kingsland, Nathan Heleine, Mike Williams, Brady Miller, Ben Gallina and Jared Coen have arranged 15 of her tunes for jazz combo, female vocals, and a small string section. The combo includes piano, guitar, bass guitar, saxophone and bass trumpet. Corrina Lynch, Sara Shumway, Sarah Kohrs, Leah Edwards and Kingsland sing.

This concert has been in the making since a year and a half ago, when Lynch first introduced Kingsland to Mitchell’s recordings. He became enthralled with her music, even including some of her tunes in a project last spring.

At that point, Kingsland and Lynch decided to dedicate a whole concert to the celebrated singer. They immediately gathered a group of people to write arrangements and make music together. Some had been following Joni Mitchell on their own, while others were relatively new to her before this project started.

Everyone has been listening to a compilation CD of the original tunes the group will be playing in arrangement to get into the mood of her music. Since then, the musicians have been living it up, savoring the experience. As senior music education major Sara Shumway said, “It’s really fun because it’s such a good group of musicians, and we’re all playing music that we love.”

The artists’ interplay will be interesting ? the six arrangers have added more instrumental music to most of the otherwise vocal-based tunes, making the music their own. Their intention this weekend is not to recreate the recordings Mitchell has made, but to find new ways to present her music.

One example of such innovation is Miller’s arrangement of “Don’t Interrupt the Sorrow,” in which the chords are completely different, rendering a new mood. The tune will sound unexpectedly atmospheric and ambient, contrasting with the album’s “groove” version.

Also listen for Heleine’s arrangement of “The Pirate of Penance,” which utilizes electronics and includes singers acting as different characters in the lyrics.

In Mitchell’s recording, she overlaid her own voice, so the effect will be much different with live singers. Many of the arrangements include elements from Joni Mitchell’s accompaniments and instrumental sections, but expanded into something larger.

According to the musicians, this type of invention is consistent with Mitchell’s own work ? she cannot be classified into one genre of music. At the very least, she uses elements of rock, folk and jazz, drawing all kinds of people into her work.

Lynch said, “One of the great things about our concert is that we are doing songs from such a good span of time ? she [Joni Mitchell] has had a long career.” Lynch, who has listened to Joni Mitchell since she was two years old, also holds dear the truth and sincerity in Mitchell’s work throughout the decades.

Kingsland has found this music very inspiring, citing the experience of working with his own and his friends’ arrangements as giving him new insight into Joni Mitchell as a musician ? it became clear that when great music meets great musicians, the lines blur between the styles.

He also pointed out that “this concert partially arises from the kind of place Eastman is, being a friendly and open-minded atmosphere, and a place where there’s a lot of musical innovation going on all the time ? new music, jazz, chamber music, people doing things just for fun. This is a combination of these all at once.”

The performances will take place on Friday, Nov. 8 at 8 p.m. in Room 120 of the Eastman School of Music’s Main Building, and on Monday, Nov. 11 at 9 p.m. at Reformation Lutheran Church, 111 N. Chestnut St., across the parking lot from the Eastman Student Living Center.



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