From classroom to concert
Music is the best…
The UH Hilo Jazz Orchestra, under the leadership of musical director Trever Veilleux, works throughout the school year to bring the University of Hawai’i at Hilo Performing Arts Center some of its most cherished performances. With every show the Orchestra pursues an exciting selection of music featuring an ever-changing lineup of student musicians. The University’s Spring Semester sees the Orchestra select a new theme of popular and challenging songs, while the Fall Semester hosts the recurring community-favorite, the Orchestra’s annual Frank Zappa tribute concerts.
Each semester, the Jazz Orchestra welcomes a cast of musicians both new and familiar to the band. With a diverse assortment of instruments and a band that often includes as many as twenty-five to thirty musicians, the students of the Jazz Orchestra work diligently to create inspiring and fresh renditions of popular songs. Giving the students room to explore and develop their musical prowess, the shows highlight original arrangements and improvisational sections which allow the performers to shine.
(2018) Zappa 6: Holiday in Berlin
The Jazz Orchestra’s sixth Frank Zappa tribute concert included a diverse assortment of material spanning genres from neo-classical to doowop. With songs from Zappa albums such as Sleep Dirt, Burnt Weeny Sandwich, Chunga’s Revenge and more, the band gave it their all as part of a fundraising effort to take their show to the 2019 Zappanale festival in Germany. Watch the complete Zappa 6 performance for free on YouTube!
(2018) All You Need Is Love
Featuring a sprawling selection of material from across The Beatles’ entire catalog, the Jazz Orchestra performed a sold-out show celebrating the iconic music which defined an entire generation. With help from a string section known as the Orchid Isle Orchestra, the band tackled some of The Beatles more orchestrated pieces, including Eleanor Rigby. Watch part of the performance free on YouTube! You can also read a complete review of the show from BigIslandMusic.net.
(2017) UH Hilo Jazz Orchestra Meets Dweezil Zappa
The Jazz Orchestra’s fifth annual Frank Zappa concert featured a very special guest star: Grammy-award winning artist and guitar-wizard Dweezil Zappa. Son of the late composer, band-leader, guitar player, and musician extraordinaire Frank Zappa, Dweezil joined the Orchestra for two concerts spanning a selection of music from across the Zappa catalog. The second evening of performances surprised the audience with a rendition of Joe’s Garage classic Outside Now, sung by Ike Willis. Willis, an alumni of Frank Zappa’s bands who spent over a decade singing some of Zappa’s most recognizable works, joined Dweezil and the students to create an unforgettable homage to the senior Zappa. Watch a few videos of the performance!
(2017) Professor T & the East Side Shredders
In the Jazz Orchestra’s first ever effort to pursue a set of original material, the band tackled previously-unreleased tracks from musical director Trever Veilleux’s album, Professor T and the East Side Shredders. Featuring everything from toe-tapping rock tunes, to gritty hair-raising blues, to lush jazzy jams, the concert offered both students and audience members a chance to explore something novel. Check out this free documentary about the album and concert, featuring excerpts from the performance!
Zappa4Ever! showcased the Jazz Orchestra’s fourth annual Frank Zappa tribute concert. The band tackled renditions of songs such as Andy, Packard Goose, and even included an early Zappa favorite, Hungry Freaks Daddy, to celebrate the 50th anniversry of Frank Zappa’s debut album, Freak Out! With both nights of performance as well as the band’s 12-week rehearsal process documented by music historian Steven Roby, Zappa4Ever! became the subject of the full-length documentary film Zappa U.
(2016) Return of the Blues Brothers
Accompanied by dancers under the choreography of Dori Yamada, the Jazz Orchestra turned blue to back Hilo’s own Jake and Elwood Blues. With a selection of some of the most classic and recognizable songs from the film, the band revitalized this old favorite with a new flair.
(2015) Zappa Part 3
In the third installment of the annual Frank Zappa tribute show, the Orchestra continued its exploration of Zappa’s eclectic and virtuosic catalog. Highlights included a show-stopping journey through the band’s arrangement of Mr. Green Genes seamlessly seguing into a riveting Florentine Pogen. The band was also joined by former Saturday Night Live musical director Quack Moore and Medicine For The People drummer Justin Chittams for a special performance of Uncle Remus.
(2015) Funk It Up!
Bringing the funk to Hilo, the Jazz Orchestra grooved its way through favorites from iconic funk-maestros such as Sly Stone, Stevie Wonder, Herbie Hancock, and many more. Complete with electrifying performances of enduring classics from the works of Parliament Funkadelic and Tower of Power, Funk It Up! showcased the Orchestra’s propensity for gettin’ down.
(2014) It Can't Happen Here
Proving Hilo’s love for Frank Zappa, It Can’t Happen Here was the second annual Frank Zappa tribute concert. Hoping to repeat the success of the first show a year prior, It Can’t Happen Here raised the stakes by including increasingly challenging pieces such as Montana and Sofa. Demonstrating the community’s appetite for the music, the show once again filled theater seats and cemented an annual tradition.
(2014) Swing Thing
Swing Thing began with a short set by the Honoka’a Jazz Band before swingin’ into full gear as the Jazz Orchestra took the stage to perform swing staples from Duke Ellington, Cherry Poppin’ Daddies, and The Brian Setzer Orchestra, among others. Accompanied by a dance performance choreographed by Dori Yamada, the Orchestra enticed the audience through a laid back evening of swing.
(2013) Jazz Isn't Dead, It Just Smells Funny!
In an effort to salute his lifelong musical hero, band director Trever Veilleux put together a full concert featuring the works of late composer Frank Zappa. Challenging the students to navigate Zappa’s complex rhythms and intricate harmonies, the effort culminated in a sold-out show which would prove to be only the first iteration of a new annual event that quickly became a community favorite.
“Love their enthusiasm!”Ahmet Zappa