Jazz Rocks the Great Hall!

Oscar Ortega / Roundup

There aren’t many social things to do on the Pierce College campus during evening hours, but Wednesday offered an exception when Creative Voices put out a remarkable night at the Student Community Center Great Hall.

It was an evening not only for jazz lovers, but for people who appreciated music in general. The series of events by Creative Voices presented Inga Swearingen and her band.

The band comprises Swearingen (singer), Darrel Voss (drums), Dillon Johnson (bass) and Jeff Miely (guitar). All of them are teachers at the Cuesta College in San Luis Obispo County.

Swearingen is a native of California and has lived most of her life in San Luis Obispo. Her passion is jazz music.

Among the musicians who played with Swearingen were Britta Swearingen, her sister, and Donna Accardo, co-chair of the Creative Voices committee and chairman of the English department at Pierce.

“I enjoy Jazz, because I’m able to improvise. Jazz is a huge umbrella that allows other genres to come out,” Swearingen said. “That improvisation comes on the spot.”

She sang a few songs without any background music, resembling Bobby McFerrin’s style.

“I admire Bobby McFerrin, Joni Mitchell and Ella Fitzgerald, who is a big jazz diva,” she said. “They are big influences in my music.”

Accardo had the opportunity to demonstrate her talent with the violin, playing three songs with Swearingen.

“…You worry about something that you created by planning and practicing. Then you think, ‘I hope I didn’t mess up,'” Accardo said. “Then you think, ‘My God, it’s going so quickly, I am just enjoying it.'”

Swearingen’s show kept the audience at the Great Hall wanting more. She kept them intoxicated with her music by asking spectators to sing along at times.

“This is the best Creative Voices we ever had and I’ve been to all of them,” said Craig Kramer, an English professor at Pierce. “It was the first one about music. But, I just enjoyed this one the most of all of them.”

This particular Creative Voices event was sponsored by the Associated Students Organization (ASO). It was the fourth event of a series, and attendance was estimated to be more than 100 people, mostly Pierce students.

“I love it. It was very unique in a way. I’ve never heard that kind of improvisation in songs,” said Sam Accardo, an 18-year-old computer major at Pierce. “It just felt very relaxed, but at the same time I was engaged, if that makes sense.”