The scent of coffee and the sound of jazz filled the air of the J.C. Williams Center Pub on Wednesday night as theology professor Mark Miravalle and his band gave students a different kind of education.
Miravalle, who played the saxophone, said he wanted to expose the student body to jazz as he believes it is a great form of American music.
“It’s a wonderfully free music in the sense that, when the Nazis were taking over Western Europe, they prohibited jazz because they found it too free,” he explained. “There’s a beauty about jazz being American, Democratic.”
The hour-long performance featured songs both unfamiliar and well-loved, including a jazzed-up version of “Amazing Grace.” Students tapped their feet and bobbed their heads to the tunes as the music resounded throughout the building.
Speaking to the students about jazz, Miravalle said, “It’s a nice metaphor for the beauty of the church and also the diversity of spiritualities.” Through jazz, he wishes to show the student body that Catholics not only enjoy life, but celebrate it, too.
“We should fast well, and we should feast well,” Miravalle said.
As the professors rocked their instruments, students gathered to see what the spectacle was about, and many stayed to listen to the show.
“What a treat,” senior Leah Moreau said. “I thoroughly enjoyed their playing. They’re more than just gifted theologians, they’re talented musicians as well.” Moreau said she appreciated the chance to see the professors doing what they love outside of class.
Joe Mello, a sophomore, said he enjoyed the tone and chemistry of the performance. “The band has a sweet tone with the saxophone cutting through the mix nicely, complimented by the guitar,” he said.
Sophomore Naomi Ringhand noted how beautiful it is when people gather to witness something so lovely. Sipping her tea as she listened to the band, Ringhand said, “It was a good reminder, to me, that we all need to take a break to enjoy beautiful things now and then.”
Students should stay tuned for more performances from Miravalle, as he plans to keep Wednesday nights at the J.C. Williams Center reserved for jazz.