NIU’s music building to hold Latin Jazz Ensemble Dance Party

By Katie Finlon

“Music, food, dancing, fun and awesomeness” is how percussion instructor Mike Mixtacki envisions today’s concert—or, rather party.

The NIU Latin Jazz Ensemble Dance Party starts at 7:30 p.m. in the Boutell Memorial Concert Hall lobby in the Music Building. Jazz trumpet player Victor Garcia will perform as a guest artist.

The band is the biggest it has ever been; if someone hasn’t been to a Latin Jazz Ensemble performance before, they’re in for a non-traditional concert experience, said Mixtacki.

“When they would arrive in the concert hall, they would feel more like they’re in a salsa dance club than they were going to an actual music concert in a concert hall,” Mixtacki said.

Garcia is a trumpet player from Chicago who leads different music groups, and Mixtacki said that he will bring a lot of energy to the performance with his music.

Mixtacki said that there’s a sense of unity at these musical events among a few entities on campus, including the School of Music, Latin American studies and those interested in dance and cultural events.

“That’s the beautiful part of it,” Mixtacki said. “To me, Latin jazz or even rumba is all community music anyway, and I think finally there’s like many different communities that come together for something like this.”

Constantine Alexander, sophomore jazz studies major, said if a lot of people come to the concert, it’ll be a great party where one can meet new people who wouldn’t otherwise come into the Music Building. Kadir Muhammad, jazz studies graduate student, said the NIU Latin Jazz Ensemble Dance Party will add to the cultural quality of life on campus. Others agreed.

“I think it’s important to add that diversity to your taste of music, your taste of food, to your idea of culture,” Mixtacki said. “It gives you more knowledge to understand clave and to understand how this music has become a product of European influence, African influence and American influence. This is what the outcome is—Latin jazz.”