Photo by Carter Oswood
There are many beautiful spaces on campus – from Sheslow Auditorium to the reflecting pond and agora. However, there is one that has remained hidden from many of Drake’s students. Inside, there are two full walls of windows, curved couches, chairs with fragmented backs, a ceiling scattered with an array of wooden panels and a black and white collage wrapping around the rear wall. This center, which is not even a year old, is on the north side of the Harmon Fine Arts Center. It is the Patty and Fred Turner Jazz Center.
Microphones are hidden in the panels on the ceiling. An isolated sound booth room lies in the back corner with premium equipment, and there is a state-of-the-art recording system. This last item is the cherry on top. You can listen to a live feed of the Turner Jazz Center shows at www.drake.edu/stream/jazz/. It also allows the student jazz ensembles to record their concerts with professional level technology.
These concerts vary from week to week and give listeners the best of jazz listening. There will be jazz combo nights when smaller band combinations perform pieces from 7-9 p.m. on Oct. 12 and on Nov. 2, and there will be a coffee house night on Oct. 5 at 7 p.m. when students can get food and coffee while having a productive place to study. There will be student recitals on Nov. 6 at 4:30 p.m. for senior Derek Hessing and on Nov. 17 at 7:30 p.m. for junior Roland Hart. The best part is that all of these concerts are free. The Turner Jazz Center also has concerts performed by professionals from the Des Moines area. Michael Buble’s band, the Boathouse All-Stars, played in the center in June. These events usually require a ticket, but they are well worth the money.
More people are noticing this amazing facility. Last Friday, over 200 people attended the Turner Jazz Center kick off. A piano concert held during the first weekend of the semester was so packed that there were chairs on the stage and behind the couches, and people were still left standing. Roughly 90 people also attended the first jazz combo night last Friday. The Turner Jazz Center is quickly catching the eye of people on and off campus.
You can listen to all of the center’s events on iTunesU as well. This and the live streaming can be found on the Turner Jazz Center Facebook page, Twitter and Four square with updates on events and recommendations for other activities on campus.
The Turner Jazz Center is eager for student input. By liking the page you can support events you want to go to and suggest others. Currently, the Turner Jazz Center is considering a swing dancing night, more coffee house study sessions and possibly a pre-finals Christmas event with live pianos. However, in order for these events to be a success, you need to let the Turner Jazz Center know that you’re interested; so take advantage of this opportunity and speak up!