Concert benefits victims of Katrina

Jason Price, junior music education major, watched the news reports about New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina, and he decided to do something about the tragedy.

Amidst the excitement of fall break, students and professors gathered Friday, Oct. 21, for a jazz concert to benefit the victims of Hurricane Katrina.

Joe Stellino, junior music education major, called the concert a “really good cause.” He performed on piano, guitar and vocals.

“I like helping people out,” Price, who organized and performed in the concert, said. “I’m always around for people.”

The concert raised $530 in donations to be sent to the Salvation Army.

“I didn’t know what to expect,” Vanessa Hernandez, senior secondary education/history major, said. “But I liked it a lot.”

Retrograde, a jazz ensemble at the College, performed songs like “I Get a Kick Out of You,” “These Are the Days” and “Do You Know What It Means to Miss New Orleans?”

Price, the drummer for the ensemble, called jazz music “a tradition in New Orleans.”

“It’s easy going,” AJ Falisi, junior music education major and the group’s saxophonist, said. “People would rather listen to jazz music than classical music.”

At the conclusion of the concert, the band was given a standing ovation. In return, they treated the audience to an encore.

Craig Stanton, junior music education major and cellist for Retrograde, said that when Price proposed the benefit concert, he thought it was a “great idea.”

The concert was sponsored by the music department at the College. Music majors volunteered as donation collectors and ushers.

“A lot of us care about what’s been going on in New Orleans,” Greg Marsh, junior music education major and volunteer usher, said. “(The concert allowed people) to sit down and have a good time.”

Dave Herman, junior communications major, said, “I thought it was excellent. Jazz is my kind of music. I’m really glad that Retrograde came out to play and support victims of Hurricane Katrina.”

“I really enjoyed it,” Dick Thayer, adjunct professor of mathematics, said. “It was very well done.”

Retrograde was joined by vocalist Shana Baty, junior business major, and trumpet player Gary Feinberg, assistant professor of music.

“It was all organized by (Retrograde),” Feinberg said. “They give a lot of themselves.” He called the benefit “a spirit of making music” and “an honorable cause.”

The decision to play jazz music at the benefit seemed fitting. “(Jazz) is such a part of New Orleans,” Baty said. She chose to wear and look the part with her hair flipped over one eye as she mimicked the singing style of artists like Billie Holiday.

For Retrograde, the decision to play jazz also had a lot to do with personal taste.

“(Jazz) is our outlet,” Baty said.

Overall, Price admitted that the crowd could have been bigger “but what we got is great.”

Retrograde will be performing again Nov. 13 at 7 p.m. at the Princeton Presbyterian Church. This time, they will be part of a concert to raise funds for the Trenton Community Music School.

– For ticket information, e-mail