It was unexpected music to the ears of weary travelers who visited the rest stop on southbound Interstate 71 near Oregonia on May 13.
“It was really a nice surprise to find a little jazz here at the visitor center,” said David Wedeen, who was traveling from California.
Students in the Wright State University Jazz Ensemble performed for about an hour outside the busy rest stop as part of Jazz Art in Unlikely Places, a program created by Stephen Wadsack, instructor of music and director of the Jazz Ensemble.
“It was super fun to jam out with some people from school,” said Carter Moran, a junior majoring in music education.
“I never thought I would play a gig at a rest stop,” Omar Lattimore, a senior music education major.
In Jazz Art in Unlikely Places, the Jazz Ensemble performed in unexpected locations to target people who are not often exposed to jazz and allow students to perform in front of a unique audience. The students were also able to perform music they composed for the first time while making an impact on people who live outside of Raider Country.
“We want to spread the word about what’s possible at Wright State,” said Wadsack.
The four student musicians and Wadsack also performed at Devil Wind Brewery, International Peace Museum and the National Afro-American Museum and Cultural Center.
The program was funded by a College of Liberal Arts strategic grant, and each performer was compensated for their work. Although this was the last performance, Wadsack hopes to continue the program next academic year.