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Fri, Jan 17


Merrimans' Playhouse

The George DeLancey Group

"His command of the elements in harmony, melody, and rhythm is superb, and displays a sophisticated sense of swing, coupled with maturity in composition and arrangements." - James Nadal, All About Jazz

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The George DeLancey Group
The George DeLancey Group

Time & Location

Jan 17, 2020, 8:00 PM – 10:05 PM EST

Merrimans' Playhouse, 1211 East Mishawaka Avenue, South Bend, IN, USA


About the Event

Hal Melia - sax

Rufus Ferguson - piano

Ethan Bouwsma - drums

George DeLancey - bass

George DeLancy is a native of Cambridge, OH, a former student of Rodney  Whitaker at Michigan State University, and a veteran of the New York  City Jazz Scene. He is currently touring national with the Larry Fuller Trio, and has performed as a sideman with Wynton Marsalis, Cecile  McLorin Salvant, Houston Person, Bria Skonberg, Christian Howes, Judy  Carmichael, Willie Jones III, Wycliffe Gordon, Johnny O'neal, Steve  Nelson, Ben Paterson, and many others.  

"George DeLancey understands the entire scope and history of the bass, his playing reflects this and looks towards the future. As a composer, he is without a doubt, one of the most creative melodists of his generation." - Todd Stoll, Jazz at Lincoln Center - Education, Vice President  

"Deploying exceptional players, DeLancey nevertheless commands the forefront; he's the driver here, pushing tunes... with zest and an unerring sense of drama. His solos are crystalline, his placement precise." - Carlo Wolff, Downbeat 

"His command of the elements in harmony, melody, and rhythm is superb, and displays a sophisticated sense of swing, coupled with maturity in composition and arrangements." - James Nadal, All About Jazz 

"Bassist George DeLancey boasts a lithe touch and a beautiful tone, but so do many of his peers on the New York City jazz scene. What sets DeLancey apart is his sophisticated composing and arranging... DeLancey paints vignettes that evoke the vibrancy of New York City at every turn." - JAZZIZ

Hal Melia The energy and personality Hal Melia brings to both his teaching and his performing are contagious. Those who have experienced his workshops, classes, and performances never forget the tireless effort and positive aura he exudes in any setting. He is the epitome of the multi-instrumentalist – he plays soprano, alto, tenor and baritone saxophones, flute, piccolo, clarinets (Bb, Eb Soprano, and Bass), and EWI (electronic wind instrument). A consummate professional, Hal is noteworthy as a vocalist and scat singer, and has composed and arranged a body of work for a variety of settings. 

Hal spent 1986 through 1991 in Los Angeles recording and arranging with top jazz and R&B groups (Tower of Power Horns, Buddy Rich Band, Billy Vera and the Beaters), and appearing in several major motion pictures (Bugsy, Dick Tracy, The Marrying Man, Mobsters, Parent Trap III, and others). He has also recorded with artists on several labels, including MCA Records and Positive Music Records, Inc.In the fall of 1991 Hal and s family returned to Dayton, Ohio, where Hal was founder and director of Miami Valley Jazz Labs, a jazz school for kids from middle school through high school. He also taught jazz at various schools and privately in the Southwestern Ohio area, while maintaining a rigorous regional performing schedule.  During this time he attained his Masters Degree in Saxophone Performance from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. 

From 1998 – 2004 Hal was Visiting Assistant Professor of Music and in Jazz Studies at the University of Missouri-Kansas City Conservatory of Music, where he resurrected a dormant Jazz Studies Program, working with jazz great Bobby Watson the last four of those years. During his time there, Hal became an integral part of the Kansas City jazz scene, performing and recording in a variety of venues, and serving as President of the Jazz Ambassadors, a jazz support organization in Kansas City.  

Hal now resides in Dayton, Ohio, serving as Assistant Professor of Music (Saxophone, Clarinet, Flute, and Jazz Studies) and Director of Jazz Studies at Central State University in Wilberforce, OH. In addition, Hal serves as Musical Director for the Miami Valley Summer Jazz Camp, teaches privately, and performs quite often both regionally and nationally. He is also Secretary for Jazz Education Connection of Ohio (JECO), a support organization for jazz performance, teaching, and learning throughout the state of Ohio. 

Hal's premier CD, WADUYATHINK, was released in 1993 on Positive Music Records and was a top 25 jazz CD.  The recording features straight ahead jazz music, including both original compositions and original arrangements of jazz classics and standards.  Along with Hal on Soprano, Alto, and Tenor Saxophones and Flute, the CD features Dayton area artists Jeff Hufnagle on Piano, Bob Bowen (now in New York) on Bass, and Steve Barnes (now in Los Angeles) on Drums.  Special guest artist Kenny Drew, Jr. on Piano appears courtesy of Antilles Records.  

Hal maintains a high profile as a performer, traveling across the nation as well as regionally doing Broadway Shows (most recently The Producers, Little Shop of Horrors in Kansas City and Columbus, OH), various jazz performances and recordings (Kansas City Boulevard Big Band, Columbus Jazz Orchestra, Blue Wisp Jazz Club in Cincinnati, OH), and serving as clinician and adjudicator for numerous jazz festivals.  Hal is much in demand for club performances and recordings (Marilyn Maye and many others) both regionally and nationally. 

Rufus Ferguson Rufus Ferguson is a jazz pianist who earned degrees from Western Michigan University under the mentorship of Jeremy Siskind and Matthew Fries. During his tenure at WMU he has studied with artists such as Scott Cowan, Andrew Rathbun, Edward Simon, and Frank Carlberg. Rufus got his start studying classical piano at the age of 5. He became a gospel church organist at a young age and later began playing jazz piano at age 13. His dedication to being equally well-versed in multiple genres of music has afforded him many unique opportunities such as playing with Grammy-nominated and award-winning artists and groups of all genres. Rufus is an experienced performer, arranger, composer and teacher, specifically in the jazz genre. His arrangements have most recently been presented by his 9-piece ensemble at the 2018 Gilmore Keyboard Festival. Rufus has performed at several festivals such as the Notre Dame Jazz Festival, Elmhurst Jazz Festival, Flint Jazz Festival and the Jazz Education Network (JEN) Conference in Louisville, KY. He has also taught at many jazz camps including the Keith Hall Summer Drum Intensive in Kalamazoo, Michigan and Show Choir Camps of America at Heidelberg University in Tiffin, Ohio. Rufus has served as class piano instructor at Western Michigan University where he also directed the University Jazz Lab Band and is currently piano instructor for the Suzuki Academy of Kalamazoo, Crescendo Academy of Music, Kalamazoo Academy of Rock and Gilmore Education Department. He is also the Jazz Band Director at Portage Northern High School and rhythm section coach for the Kalamazoo Youth Jazz Orchestra.    

Ethan Bouwsma

Ethan Bouwsma is a drummer and composer from West Michigan. Currently living in Kalamazoo, MI, he earned his Bachelor of Music at Western Michigan University under the mentorship of Keith Hall. He is a versatile drummer, playing a wide variety of genres with many different artists all over West Michigan. 


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