Four School of Music Jazz Ensembles Kick Off New Semester of Performances

The concert marks the first campus performance for Hayley Kirkland as the new director of vocal jazz ensemble Syncopation

Four BYU ensembles — Synthesis, Jazz Ensemble, Syncopation and Jazz Legacy Dixieland Band — will join together for the School of Music’s annual Jazz Showcase on Oct. 2. 

Jazz Ensemble director Mark Ammons sees the concert as a chance for campus and community audiences to sample different styles and approaches to the genre. 

“The Jazz Showcase is a great opportunity for people to dip their toes in the water of jazz to see what they might like,” said Ammons. “With big bands, a vocal jazz group and a traditional Dixieland jazz group performing, there’s bound to be something that piques your interest.”

The concert will also serve as an introduction to Hayley Kirkland, who is taking over for Emily Merrell as the new director of Syncopation. Kirkland is an alum of the vocal ensemble and is excited to give back to the BYU jazz community.

“I had such an amazing experience as a student at BYU singing in this group that I feel a sense of responsibility to help give that experience to my students,” said Kirkland.

The Jazz Showcase will offer a glimpse into the season Kirkland has planned for Syncopation.

“This year we are focusing on the heart and soul of jazz music: improvisation,” said Kirkland. “The choir will show off their scatting chops with ‘Everybody’s Boppin,’ a tune written over rhythm changes at a burning speed. We are also bringing back a tradition that has been lost through the years — the choir will sing a gospel version of ‘Come, Come Ye Saints’ arranged by my former BYU vocal jazz professor, Kelly Eisenhour.”

Kirkland and Ammons — along with Synthesis director Ray Smith and Jazz Legacy Dixieland Band director Kristen Bromley — hope that audiences of all ages and interests come away from the showcase with a greater appreciation of the genre.

“If it’s been a while since you’ve experienced jazz — or perhaps you never have — this is the concert you should attend,” said Ammons. “Come get in touch with your ‘inner-jazz self’ at the Jazz Showcase!”

Tickets and Show Details

Performance Dates and Times: Oct. 2 | 7:30 p.m.

Location: de Jong Concert Hall

Price: $7

Tickets: Available in person at the BYU HFAC or Marriott Center Ticket Office, by phone at (801) 422-2981 or online at