Weldon Street Jazz Band, from the band room to the big stage
Friday, October 18, 2019
Written by: Laura D. Schumacher
The Weldon Street Jazz Band started out as nothing more than a handful of students practicing in Seminole State College of Florida’s band room between their classes. Now as they cement their place as the go-to jazz ensemble in Seminole County, they are taking part in festivals and preparing to premier their Weldon Street Big Band at the Wayne Densch Performing Arts Center.
Their core combo is a six-piece band, four of whom are Seminole State alumni. Brian Villane plays the vibraphone, Andre Agac-ac plays the saxophone, Joseph Dumm plays the trombone and Geordan Raisler plays the bass guitar. Originally, they started playing at different Campus activities including large scale events such as Seminole State Foundation’s Dream Gala and Alumni Legacy Awards. However, as their popularity grew they branched out into historic Sanford and beyond.
“Our time at Seminole State College really helped us decide what was important in our careers and started the manifestation of the Weldon Street that we see today,” Villane said. He credits the professors and coordinators of the music program of Seminole State’s Center for Fine and Performing Arts for supporting their work and encouraging them to grow as performers.
Now, they are taking part in Immerse Orlando 2019, a performing and interactive art experience happening in downtown Orlando Oct. 18-19, hosted by the Creative City Project. Weldon Street is joining forces with Sole Expression, a tap dance collective led by Lauren Kleiman. Together they have been building a show that shares both the musicianship of the performers and the artistry and athleticism of tap dancing. “We’re taking the huge risk of trying something new and working together to smooth out the process to have a fantastic product that we are excited to showcase!” Villane said.
Their busy season continues on Tuesday, Oct. 22, when they premiere their Weldon Street Big Band at the Wayne Densch Performing Arts Center. “The big band has been quite a long process. To get this project from an idea to a reality has felt like moving mountains,” Villane said. “The combo has always been easy to put together, just finding time when we can get together and run charts. But the big band is over twice the size, so just finding rehearsal space has been trying, but the gears are in motion and I look forward to what’s to come.”
Made up of 18 performers, the Weldon Street Big Band includes four trumpeters, four trombonists, five saxophonists and five percussionists. Six of the musicians are Seminole State alumni and two are current students of the College. “We are very excited for the premiere of the big band, and we are looking forward to the future and more collaborations with Seminole State!” Villane said.
Seminole State College Alumni Association: The Seminole State College Alumni Association provides benefits and services for alumni as they continue their lifelong connection with Seminole State College of Florida, providing opportunities for them to network with one another, interact with the student body and support the College. To learn more, visit the Alumni Association website.About the Center for Fine and Performing Arts
Seminole State’s Center for Fine and Performing Arts offers programs in art, music and theater as well as a wide variety of concerts, theatre productions, gallery exhibits and other cultural events. For more information about the Center, including calendars of all upcoming cultural events at Seminole State, visit seminolestate.edu/arts and follow them on Facebook.