Besides education, going to college gives many students the opportunity to discover new things, explore their passions, and make connections that will help them in their future careers. For a group of music majors from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, the university led them to find each other first as friends, then as bandmates.
The Prism Trio is a jazz group made up of current and former UNL students. The members are Jonah Bennett, a major in music education, Sean Lebita, a major in piano performance, and former student Andrew Wray. Since 2019, the group has been making music together and performing throughout Nebraska.
The Prism Trio will meet for a performance Tuesday evening at 7:30 p.m. at the Lied Center for Performing Arts. Their performance will be live at the Lied Center as well as live on the Lied Center website. Interested participants can obtain free tickets for the in-person and online experiences at the website.
According to Bennett, the group will be performing original music, including some they wrote just for this performance. Bennett said he encourages those who are comfortable attending the show in person for the full musical experience.
âI would always encourage coming in person while still being masked and everything,â Bennett said. âWatching live music is great, but there’s really nothing quite like being in the room. With this music so interactive, free, open and exciting, the online experience is somewhat pale compared to the in-person experience. We offer a musical experience unlike anything in the immediate area.
According to Bennett, their passion for jazz was nurtured at the Glenn Korff School of Music and the formation of the group allowed them to explore their style.
âWe are all heavily involved in the jazz department of the music school,â Bennett said. âWe all play in jazz combos and ensembles throughout the school, and we’re all very passionate about the genre. Having a trio like this gives us the opportunity to compose music and explore the world of jazz.
Bennett said his passion for the genre came from his love for jazz history as well as his ability to be creative while following his own path in jazz music.
âI love how authentic and personal jazz is,â Bennett said. âThe history of jazz is simply incredibly rich and strongly based on tradition and respect for tradition, while creating something new that is unique to you. It’s so free and interactive and really exploratory.
Bennett said these unconfined, experimental aspects of jazz music are what make the trio’s performances exciting. He said they weren’t following a script for the entire performance and they knew each other so well that they could be innovative during the show.
âPlaying with Sean and Andrew is so much fun because we played so much together that we kind of melded together. We know what the other person is going to do, âBennett said. âBut at the same time, it’s still fun and interesting because sometimes I have no idea what they’re going to do. It’s super interactive with them because we trust each other so much with the music.
Lebita said spontaneity is also what he likes in jazz music. He said that the established friendship of the group is what allows them to be free on stage and have exciting performances.
âAs a jazz musician you can play with a ton of people, but when you play with people you’re not that close to it can get really stale,â Lebita said. âYou don’t feel them as much as when you play with close friends and know how they play. It makes a huge difference in the way you interact.