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Winter 2003 | Volume 26, Number 1 | Campus
For World War II Vets and Needy Kids, SPU Jazz Ensemble Plays to Serve

Mark Emerson and Brandon King played “Taps” in duet, one trumpet echoing the plaintive notes of the other, emotion etched the faces of those listening. Among the 700 gathered at Seattle’s Evergreen-Washelli Cemetery for the 2002 Veterans Day Memorial Service were Washington Governor Gary Locke, State Congressman Jim McDermott, Rear Admiral Horton Smith, scores of World War II veterans and their families — and the 18 members of the Seattle Pacific University Jazz Ensemble.

The musicians relished the opportunity to serve in a way that transcended the typical concert. That weekend they had given a benefit jazz concert, helping raise $3,000 for Impact Kids, a missionary organization that cares for children living under severe stress in Kosovo and other strife-torn countries. Veterans Day Monday was a day of both solemn ceremony and an after-service set of swing tunes that put the veterans in m ind of their youth and years in the military.

“The band had a ball, and the vets said it brought back a lot of memories,” says Jazz Ensemble Director Bill Park. “I like the fact that it puts my band on a service footing. The whole weekend was a time of growth for the students.”

King, a music education major from Troy, Montana, says these sorts of performances are a joy to do and “a great way for us to share with society our talents and to show the results of our hard work.”

Mike Eagan, a member of the Veterans Cemetery board, could hear those results. “We were so impressed with the quality of their musicianship and grateful for the sentiment it roused in those who attended.”

The Jazz Ensemble plays throughout the Northwest, including an upcoming two-day tour to Bellingham, February 8 and 9, as well as at all home basketball games. For ensemble photos, a calendar of performances and band member profiles, visit

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