Students Grow Musically In Jazz Groups


Adrinson Yanes

Allen’s Devil Frye Vocal Jazz Ensemble backs up local pianist and singer Todd East in a Library Culture Series event on May 7.

Adrinson Yanes, Activities Editor

As do many community colleges and also universities, here at Allen we have our own jazz musicians. The jazz program has existed for around seven years, but Ted Clous has been the director of the group now for five years. The jazz team consists of a group of about 15 students this year.

On Thursday, May 7, the Devil’s Fyre vocal jazz ensemble performed in the library with Todd East, a local musician who has performed professionally for about 30 years. He and the students entertained a small contingent of listeners for about a half-hour.

The jazz group is very involved in activities with the community and that is why the group not only has students from Allen Community College, but also has people from the community come to the activities the jazz group prepares. People from the community also play in the jazz band.

The goal of the jazz group overall is to get exposed to the community and be as much involved as it can so students can get that experience. The band has also been part of music festivals in Emporia, local parades and two concerts every semester. Two weeks ago they had their Swing Night fund-raiser and next Thursday, May 14, they will be part of a concert at the Bowlus Fine Arts Center at 7 p.m. Two choirs and two bands will perform.

Clous said jazz is the musical genre that is most usually used for college bands for a very simple but precise reason: “We use jazz because it is pretty standard, but also very broad and it represents a big variety for our students to play. People think of jazz as just a singular sound, but it is much more than that,” he said. He also explained that the goal of the band and vocal groups is to give a good experience for students who have never been part of a jazz group before and are using the college experience to grow musically.

Clous said, “There are a lot of students that come here who want to be part of the jazz band but have never had an experience in any group or band before. Some students wanted to play before, but coming from high school, their schools never had a group where he or she could play, so we want to be that experience where they can get exposed and get confidence they need so they can choose whether or not to continue being part of a music group like this.”

The entire Todd East with Devil’s Fyre concert can be see online at