Fusion Ensemble jazzes up Notre Dame

Angela Conners
Piling in to South Bend, Ind.

In perhaps the smallest 15-passenger van in existence, Columbia’s Fusion Ensemble began the two-hour journey March 1 to South Bend, Ind. for the University of Notre Dame’s 56th Annual Collegiate Jazz Festival. The eight-piece ensemble includes vocalist Elli Sutter; alto saxophonist and backup vocalist Chakeiya Richmond; tenor saxophonist Tyler Gasek; soprano saxophonist Jack Willson; guitarist Perry Cowdery; bassist Anthony Piazza; keyboardist CheeHo Jeong; and drummer James Boyd. The judges ranked Columbia’s Fusion Ensemble in Division I, which is the highest level an ensemble can rank, and Cowdery received an Outstanding Soloist Award. After scoring in the elite category in every section, director Bill Boris proudly began the drive back in the midst of a bone-chilling snowstorm.