Duke Ellington Ensemble and Latin Band perform for spring concert

Looking for some exciting music to listen to on a Tuesday night? Come see the Sonoma State University Duke Ellington Ensemble and Latin Band perform live at Sonoma State’s Schroeder Hall on March 12 at 7:30 p.m.

The Sonoma State Duke Ellington Ensemble and Latin Band are made up of wonderfully trained musicians found at Sonoma State. They join together to put on this show filled with a range of music to make a fantastic night. 

The Duke Ellington Ensemble is directed by Kasey Knudsen. She is an educator, composer, and saxophonist. Knudsen attended Berklee College of Music in Boston where she received her B.A. of Jazz Composition in 2001. She later relocated to the San Francisco Bay Area.

 Knudsen performs with the Faculty Jazz Ensemble as well as teach Jazz Saxophone to students.

The Latin Band director, Kendrick Freeman, has been directing at Sonoma State for the last seven years and also a little bit of time back in the mid-1990s to early-2000s. 

Freeman has had a very successful career with getting to tour, playing his favorite instrument, the drums, getting to record music and directing music for all different groups like his Sonoma State students. 

“I appreciate the dedication that college students have, particularly since many of them are considering a career in music. With that kind of focus I don’t need to try to get them excited about music; they’re already as excited about it as I am,” Freeman said.

Freeman has had a love for the drums since a very young age and thanks his mom for showing him the way to his love of music. 

“The drums have been in my life since I was about 8 years old,” Freeman said. “I love all instruments but the drums support the band, and I enjoy that role and being able to connect with a wide range of musicians through them.” 

Teaching the age of young adults in college, Freeman can see that majority of his students will want to play professionally after college. Having a long career himself, he knows what it takes and how hard you have to work to get there. 

“You need to be persistent, both in your work ethic and your efforts to play with as many people as possible. This is a lifetime study and it may take awhile before you have the musical experience and self-knowledge to direct your career towards what is congruent with your voice and spirit,” Freeman said.  

“Never plateau, keep adding to your skills and understanding,” Freeman said. “Financial success is fine but if you got into music to make money there are way better ways of making money. Keep the love of art and humanity alive in your heart and explore.”

Sophomore Kevin Munoz is very interested in attending this event. He plays the jazz saxophone and classical clarinet for groups in school and around the area. 

“I’m really looking forward to hearing what my classmates have been working on this semester. It’s also a great way to improve my playing,” Munoz said. 

The show is a great way to not only show support for the music program at our school but also just to have a fun night out.