The Amherst College Jazz Faculty In Concert
Buckley Recital Hall Amherst, Massachusetts
Sunday September 11, 2016
The healing power of music was evident recently as drummer Claire Arenius and her fellow Amherst College Jazz faculty members presented a powerhouse concert at the Buckley Recital Hall. Ripping through an exciting repertoire of original compositions and jazz standards, every member was prominently featured from duo configuration, to full group ensemble… Barely giving the audience time to catch their breath before moving on to the next thrilling number.
Claire was on fire that night… Playing with an impassioned determination that reached the farthest rows, and beyond. Her finesse and sensitivity showed through on every tune. Whether using sticks or brushes, playing fast or slow - stylistically, it didn’t matter… Her K Zildjian cymbals and Yamaha Drums cut through everything with ease.
Each year the Amherst jazz faculty introduces themselves to the college community and incoming students by showcasing their department and its multi-talented staff of first-rate musicians… Including Joe Belmont (Guitar), Carl Clements (Saxophones, Flute), Geoff Cunningham (Trumpet, Flugelhorn), Bruce Diehl (Saxophones), Ann Maggs (Vocals), David Picchi (Bass), Jason Robinson (Saxophones, Flute), and Eugene Uman (Piano).
Sadly, this year was much different… Claire recently lost her life partner of thirty-five years visual artist, Bob Laclair. Yet, she continues to be inspired by the language and love of jazz… It has helped to sustain her through this most difficult time. One of the more poignant moments in the entire performance was the original composition Claire wrote for Bob called ‘Blues For The Wizard’. Amherst College also exhibited a number of Bob’s digital ‘Fractal’ art pieces to coincide with the concert.
On September 29th - A benefit concert was held in Claire’s honor to help raise needed funds for the expenses she has accumulated since Bob passed away. A large contingent of musicians turned out to help by donating their time and money for the cause. Those in attendance included : James Argiro, Paul Arslanian, Billy Arnold, Joe Belmont, Carl Clements, Samirah Evans, Marion Groves, Andy Jaffe, Ethel Lee, Wayne Roberts, Art Steele, and Barbara Weene.
There is little doubt that the huge turnout at both events demonstrated that drummer Claire Arenius is universally loved by the Jazz community, and a very large number of truly caring friends.