'Tunes at Noon' performs in Bovee UC, featuring jazz band Central Avenue

Jeffrey Smith/Staff Photographer Boyne City sophomore Ruben Shell plays along with members of the Central Ave. jazz band Wednesday afternoon during Tunes at Noon in the Bovee University Center.

Students enjoyed a jazz performance by Central Avenue during their down time Wednesday afternoon in the Bovee University Center.

Central Avenue is a jazz group made up of six students who come together to create soothing and uplifting music. They perform in the UC on occasion as part of an event called "Tunes at Noon."

The group consists of six members this year; bass guitarist and Comstock Park senior Mike Sundt, guitarist and Boyne City sophomore Ruben Shell, drummer and Walled Lake junior Andy Wade, alto saxist and Middleville sophomore Dominic Bierenga, trumpet player and Mount Pleasant sophomore Haruki Hakoyama and tenor saxist and Mount Pleasant senior Robert Brooks. All of the group members have been part of Central Avenue for only one or two semesters.

Although nobody in the group knows the exact date the group was started, it's been around for a number of years.

"The name and the idea have remained relatively the same throughout the years," Sundt said.

Central Avenue does not host auditions. Instead, the band members pick people they think are good musicians and invite them to be in the group.

"We have had a quartet and a quintet. The number of people in the group varies each year," Bierenga said.

The band played four songs, and Sundt said that is a typical set for the group.

"Doing a small gig like this, we usually play five to six songs," he said. "We don't really use the same songs; they change each year."

Some students enjoyed the performance as they walked through the UC.

"They were really great. It was a nice little retreat from a day of classes," Alpena junior Rachel Carlson said.

Allen Park sophomore Steven Cvetkovski said he would see the group perform again if he had the chance.

"I thought this would be a great thing to enjoy in between classes," Cvetkovski said. "I would definitely see (Central Avenue) again."

Central Avenue has been playing at the Bovee University Center since last spring, and Mat Perry, a graduate assistant in the Office of Student Life, said the group is welcome to play more often.

"We are trying to get Central Avenue to play at the UC every other week, so twice a month," he said.

The group has also played at the Elmhurst Jazz Festival in Chicago as well as at the Notre Dame Jazz Festival.

Central Avenue will be playing again Friday at Grace Church, 218 S. Main St., at an open mic event called Acoustic Brew. The group will also perform next weekend at CMU's Jazz Weekend and will attend the 2013 Elmhurst Jazz Festival in Chicago.


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