Marsalis performed with the University of Puget Sound Jazz Orchestra for a swinging holiday concert.

On a rainy, winter evening, the stage lights went up in Tacoma’s historic Blue Mouse Theatre, where Grammy Award-winning trombonist, composer, and music educator Delfeayo Marsalis was on hand to lead the University of Puget Sound Jazz Orchestra for a night of holiday standards and reinterpretations of classic songs. Before the concert, Marsalis spent time on campus teaching a master class and rehearsing with student performers, which included vocalist Eli Kitchens ’22.

“Performing with the Jazz Orchestra has been a bucket list item for me before graduation,” Kitchens says. “Jazz vocals are totally different than the classical and musical theater repertoire I typically sing. It was a challenge, but as soon as we got to rehearse with Delfeayo, it locked in the tone and brought the energy of the piece way up. Working with such an accomplished performer was amazing and humbling.”