The Oklahoma Christian University jazz band will share the stage with a celebrity guest Thursday night during its spring concert.
Keith Anderson, a saxophonist from Dallas, TX, was a member of Grammy award-winning Prince’s horn section and was featured in Kanye West’s album, The College Dropout, in 2004. The Oklahoma Christian jazz band will feature Anderson as a soloist during its set.
Anderson attended high school with Heath Jones, director of the jazz band, which gave Jones the chance to organize the collaboration.
Junior Logan Banister said, because of the jazz band’s busy spring schedule, the group has not had the opportunity to focus on playing with Anderson until recently.
“Dr. Jones has been throwing the idea around all year, and it kind of materialized for sure probably a month and a half ago or so,” Banister said. “We had tour last weekend and then we played at the associate’s gala, so there were some other things we’ve been tunnel-visioning on. Now that this is here, we’re really excited for it.”
Banister, a saxophonist for the jazz band, said it’s intimidating and inspiring to have the chance to play with someone like Anderson.
“It makes you realize things that you need to work on, but it’s a really cool opportunity,” Banister said.
Anderson will also accompany the jazz band Wednesday night for a video shoot promoting the opening of The Brew on campus, providing more time for the group to spend with the musician. Anderson and the jazz band will also perform in chapel on Thursday.
“I’m really excited for it,” freshman Trent McAlister said. “This is a big opportunity for us because this is a big artist who is world renowned.”
According to McAlister, Jones told the jazz band he thinks Anderson is one of the best saxophonists living today.
“I’m just a college kid,” McAlister said. “I’m learning as I go and yet I’m going in with this professional that’s like the top of the top and I’m at the bottom of the bottom learning my way up. I’m striving to be like this, but he’s coming to play with us. It’s a lot of pressure.”
McAlister said he hopes a celebrity guest will increase attendance at the concert Thursday night.
“We always have really nice attendance for our concerts, but I’m hoping this gets out in the community and people see this is a big deal,” McAlister said.
The jazz band and symphonic band will perform at 7:30 p.m. Thursday night in Hardeman Auditorium. Admission to the concert is free.