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Duquesne’s Jazz Ensemble Pays Homage to Stevie Wonder

The Mary Pappert School of Music's Jazz Ensemble will perform an eclectic mix of music spanning Stevie Wonder's 51-year career as a musician at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, March 27, at the Dr. Thomas D. Pappert Center for Performance and Innovation at Duquesne University.

The Music of Stevie Wonder concert, performed by the Jazz Ensemble under the direction of Mike Tomaro, will showcase Wonder's music because of its wide-reaching appeal to musicians and audiences alike.

"Because of the quality of his music, jazz musicians have always gravitated toward it," Tomaro said. "There are a lot of interesting melodies, harmonies and grooves. He has seen an incredible number of hits, and his music continues to be relevant to the history and shaping of popular music."

The Music of Stevie Wonder will feature School of Music faculty soloists, including guitarists Bill Purse and Ken Karsh, vocalist Maureen Budway and student vocalists.

"Wonder's music was as universally important to the Black community of the '60s and early '70s as the Beatles were to the white community," Tomaro said. "However, unlike the Beatles (for the most part), his music crossed over into the white community at a time when this was not a typical occurrence. Long after the Beatles ceased as a group, Stevie Wonder continued to turn out an incredible number of hits into the '80s, '90s and the 2000s."

Tomaro has plans to honor artists at future concerts, including Billy Joel and horn bands of the '70s such as Chicago, Earth, Wind and Fire, Blood, Sweat and Tears, and Tower of Power. "The possibilities are really tremendous," Tomaro said.

A donation of $10 is suggested for admission at the door. For more information, call the School of Music at 412.396.6083.

Duquesne University

Founded in 1878, Duquesne is consistently ranked among the nation's top Catholic universities for its award-winning faculty and tradition of academic excellence. Duquesne, a campus of nearly 9,500 graduate and undergraduate students, has been nationally recognized for its academic programs, community service and commitment to sustainability. Follow Duquesne University on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.