Not your average Jack

By Lauren Hillery
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Thursday, March 10, 2005

EveryMan Jack & Jill, UA's vocal jazz a cappella group may be "just idiots," but they sure do know their jazz, including how to skat.

"That's just the gist of our group. We're more just trying to have as much fun as possible. We go for stuff, but not at the sake of having fun. We're just idiots," said Susanne Hinrichs, ecology and evolutionary biology senior.

This attitude is in part what makes Jack & Jill different from the traditional vocal ensemble. The traditional collegiate a cappella ensemble is larger, usually around 25 people, and usually sings the latest pop song arrangements.

If Jack & Jill was a pop star, it would be the Avril among the Britneys and Christinas with a little more edge and a little less cleavage. For instance, Jack & Jill consists of only four members, three males and one female and they sing less serious songs with a jazz infusion.

"We go for more cheesy, goofy, funny arranging type stuff. Our songs are more unique," Hinrichs said.

However, for James Libbon, molecular and cellular biology senior, it is this non-traditional blend that makes the group.

"It's just natural. We're at the good fortune of having fun people in the group," Libbon said.

Formed three years ago by former jazz director Jim Taylor, the group consisted of four male members and was titled EveryMan Jack. However when Hinrichs joined, the name was changed to EveryMan Jack & Jill.

Now, the number of members fluctuates depending on the type of performance they're doing. The staple members are Hinrichs, Libbon, non-degree seeking Alex McMorran, and doctoral music student Ben Filippone. However, Ian Sidden, music senior and Nathan Bill, UA alumnus, perform with the group for certain gig performances and competitions.

Last weekend, Jack & Jill competed at the International Competition for Collegiate A Cappella at Stanford in the semifinals for the Western region along with their all female sister group, Vocal Ease.

They can apply for grants to obtain funds for traveling, but Jack & Jill members usually pay for these costs out of pocket. The money they made from a gig in St. Johns, Ariz., paid for this competition.

Out of the 12 groups competing, neither Jack & Jill nor Vocal Ease made it to the next round, but Hinrichs explains that it was due to the style of music Jack & Jill chose.

"We both did really well, but we were a fish out of water. We did pretty different jazz and they didn't like it and we got knocked for that," Hinrichs said. "We felt so good about what we did on stage and it was really fun."

Although the group has a few original songs in their repertoire, all members take part in arranging their performance pieces. Some of their pieces include "Can't Buy Me Love," "It's You" from The Music Man and "I'm Always Chasing Rainbows," a barbershop quartet piece.

The group's musical tastes range from jazz to opera to classic rock, but Hinrichs was not always fond of jazz.

However, she became interested in the vocal jazz ensemble when a UA group performed at her high school to recruit members.

"I hated jazz when I was in junior high. Since then I've learned that I really love jazz," Hinrichs said.

Jack & Jill performances range from once to four times a month, depending on the season.

They will perform tonight at 7:30 with Perfect Fifth and The UA Jazz Vocal Ensemble at the Spring Jazz Concert, part of Arizona Jazz week in Crowder Hall. Admission is free.

To find out more about EveryMan Jack & Jill check their Web site: