Members of the Jazz Ensemble played at a Troy Night Out event last fall

Members of the Rensselaer Jazz Ensembles have been working to produce a special concert that will make its debut in the Rensselaer Union McNeil Room on Friday, Dec. 2, beginning at 8 p.m. Members of the campus and local community are invited to attend to listen and dance the night away.

The launch of the inaugural concert, called the “Local Heroes Concert Series,” is special to the Rensselaer Union, given its focus to also raise funds for an area organization. This year’s concert will serve as an opportunity to support the Melodies Center for Childhood Cancer and Blood Disorders at the Bernard and Millie Duker Children’s Hospital at Albany Medical Center. Joe Campo, associate director of operations in the Rensselaer Union, received tremendous assistance at the Melodies Center for his daughter, Hannah, who had severe aplastic anemia, a blood disorder. While she is now in remission, the Campo family says that it was only through the care and compassion of many at the Melodies Center that their daughter is a survivor today.

The concert will feature performances by two of the jazz groups, along with special guests, “surfin’ band” Big Fez and The Surfmatics. Under the direction of Bob Button, who is director of the Jazz@Rensselaer program, the performance will include a selection of jazz and swing favorites along with combinations of holiday songs.

“I have known and worked with the local musicians who will be performing with us for over 40 years,” said Button. “It is a wonderful opportunity to bring local talent to meet and perform with our students who represent all parts of the world. This opportunity will enrich the students’ experience and will send everyone home with a huge smile on their faces while supporting an area center so vital to many. The concert will be presented as a way to support the Melodies Center, and we are happy to be able to give back in Hannah’s honor.”

“This event will be fun and lively and provide the audience an opportunity to listen to, and dance to, music featuring some of the Rensselaer Union’s student jazz music ensembles,” said Cameron McLean, director of student activities. “The event also gives us an opportunity to support an local organization that helped one of our own and his family through a very difficult time. We are so happy that Hannah is on her way to recovery, and we hope that many will join us to support not only our students, but to give back in her honor.”

The event is free, but a suggested donation of $10 for adults and $5 for children is welcome. All proceeds will be donated to the Melodies Center for Childhood Cancer and Blood Disorders. For more information, contact Cameron McLean at mcleac2@rpi.edu or call (518) 276-6505.