Macalester’s Jazz Combos help student musicians meet one another, play in small groups, and learn to perform dynamically--all for academic credit. Although the program retains its original title, recent combos have experimented in genres other than jazz, including pop and metal. On the first Monday night of classes, students are invited to register for combos. Some groups return to Jazz Combos every semester. On the other hand, a drummer may show up in search of a pianist, guitarist, or singer to accompany, and form a new band on the spot.
Every week, groups log two hours of practice time in the music building’s rehearsal spaces. Professor Joan Griffith, who also teaches guitar and conducts the Mac Jazz big band, drops by rehearsals to offer feedback. Near finals week, the combos showcase their repertoires in a concert open to the public. All musicians, majors or otherwise, are welcome to participate.