OneVoice is the flagship ensemble of the vocal jazz program at Millikin University. Begun in 1986 by the group’s musical director and keyboardist, Stephen Widenhofer, the program has grown to include a second group, Blue Bop. OneVoice has been specially recognized by DOWN BEAT magazine several times and has been invited to perform at various educational conferences and collegiate jazz festivals in the United States including the IAJE international convention in New York City (2001) and San Diego (1989), the UNC/Greeley Jazz Festival in Colorado and four times at the Illinois State Music Educator’s Association state conference in Peoria. Last year the ensemble was one of two vocal jazz ensembles featured at the national convention of the American Choral Director’s Association in Oklahoma City. Over the years, OneVoice has been recognized numerous times as one of the outstanding groups at both the Elmhurst Jazz Festival and Gold Company Invitational Jazz Festival. OneVoice regularly tours regionally and has toured the Dominican Republic on three different occasions.
About their CD, Esperanto
Esperanto is their debut recording, containing the work of 22 student vocalists and a five-man jazz rhythm section, from the years 2005 to 2009. Special thanks are given to Milliken alumnus Kyle Lehning ’71, who graciously recorded the rhythm section for ‘Chicago’ and ‘Peace,’ and mixed both recordings at his studio in Nashville. There are 9 accompanied songs here, some favorites in addition to Fred Fisher’s ‘Chicago’ and Horace Silver’s ‘Peace’ are: Vince Mendoza’s ‘Esperanto,’ the rhythmic ‘Bailando’ by Greg Jasperse, a smoky, bluenote take on Peter Gabriel’s ‘In Your Eyes,’ the lovely, a cappella (with a sweet faux flugelhorn) ‘A Child Is Born’ by Thad Jones and Alec Wilder, Bill Cantos’ simmering ‘Morning Coffee’ and Israel Houghton’s joyous ‘Who is Like the Lord.’ An impressive and enjoyable debut recording for OneVoice!