Top U.S. Mental Health Official Urges Audience to “Get Involved” in Responding to National Opioid Crisis

                                                                            Eastern Graduates 1,200 Students at XL Center

Written by Ed Osborn

Elinore McCance-Katz

Hartford, CT — Eastern Connecticut State University alumna Elinore McCance-Katz, assistant secretary for mental health and substance use in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), told the graduates and their families at Eastern Connecticut State University’s 128th Commencement exercises that the current opioid crisis facing the United States is “the nation’s greatest medical challenge since the AIDS epidemic of the 1990s. It is a tragedy of major proportions, and we need to work together to help those addicted get treatment and recover from this disease.”

Eastern’s annual graduation ceremony was held at the XL Center in Hartford on May 15, with more than 12,000 family members and friends cheering on their sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, as 1,105 undergraduates and 85 graduate students received their diplomas.

McCance-Katz told the audience that Eastern had grown from a small college when she attended Eastern Connecticut State College in the 1970s to become “a comprehensive university that has flourished.”

The commencement speaker also received an honorary doctor of science degree from Eastern in a special hooding ceremony during the graduation exercises.  She graduated magna cum laude from Eastern in 1978 with a degree in biology. Following a sterling career in medicine, psychiatry, academic achievement and public administration, McCance-Katz’s DHHS appointment in August 2017 made her the first assistant secretary-level director of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

After earning her degree from Eastern, Dr. McCance-Katz went on to earn a Ph.D. at Yale University in Infectious Disease Epidemiology in 1984, and then received her M.D. from the University of Connecticut in 1987. 

After completing a residency in psychiatry, she held teaching positions at the Yale School of Medicine, Brown University, Virginia Commonwealth University, the University of California in San Francisco, the University of Texas and the Albert Einstein College of Medicine.

Prior to her HHS appointment, McCance-Katz was Chief Medical Officer of the Rhode Island Department of Behavioral Health, Developmental Disabilities and Hospitals from 2015 to 2017, and served as professor of psychiatry and human behavior and professor of behavioral and social sciences at the Alpert Medical School at Brown University.

Describing how her professional journey had taken her from treating AIDS patients in the 1990s to her current national leadership role in treating substance abuse and mental illness, McCance-Katz described federal and state efforts to develop new recovery services and support services.  “We will turn the tide on this epidemic,” she said, urging graduates to get involved as medical professionals, nurses, counselors and social workers.

 “Be adventurous. Take advantage of every opportunity that comes your way. Be an advocate for those who have not had the advantages you have had.  There is no greater satisfaction than helping others.”

Eastern President Elsa Núñez

Other speakers at the Commencement Exercises included Eastern President Elsa Núñez; Yvette Meléndez, vice-chairof the Board of Regents for Higher Education; and Mark Ojakian, president of the Connecticut State College and Universities System. Additional members of the platform party included Justin Murphy ’98, president of the ECSU Foundation; Father Laurence LaPointe; and other Eastern officials.

Núñez told the graduates their liberal arts education at Eastern was highly prized by American employers.  “In five separate surveys conducted by the Association of American Colleges and Universities over the past decade, the vast majority of employers — over 90 percent! — say they are less interested in specialized job proficiencies, favoring instead analytical thinking, teamwork and communication skills — the wide-ranging academic and social competencies available through a liberal arts education.”

Núñez also urged the graduates to give back to their communities, saying, “I know that the majority of our seniors have found ways to donate their time and good will to making our community a better place to live.  Wherever you end up — in Connecticut or beyond — make sure you continue to give a portion of your time to make a difference in your community.” 

Lastly, Núñez encouraged the Eastern seniors to be active citizens as they participate in the American democratic system of self-governance. She quoted New York Times columnist Bret Stephens, who has written that disagreement is “the most vital ingredient of any decent society. It defines our individuality, gives us our freedom, enjoins our tolerance, enlarges our perspectives, makes our democracies real, and gives hope and courage to oppressed people everywhere.”

“So never abdicate your responsibilities as a citizen to someone else,” said Núñez. “Be willing to question the status quo.  And stand up for the values you believe in.”

More than 40 percent of the graduates were the first in their families to earn a bachelor’s degree. As Connecticut’s only public liberal arts university, Eastern draws students from 163 of the state’s 169 towns. Approximately 85 percent of graduates stay in Connecticut to launch their careers, contribute to their communities and raise their families.

Senior Class President Charlotte MacDonald presented the Senior Class Gift to President Nunez — an annual Class of 2018 scholarship — and thanked her classmates’ families, friends and faculty for supporting the senior class in its journey. Recalling the Eastern tradition where freshmen toss a penny into a fountain on campus as they make a wish — presumably to graduate in four years — MacDonald shared her own three wishes with her classmates. “My first wish is that you go confidently in the direction of your passions . . . the education you have received at Eastern has prepared you for this.  My second wish is for you not only to better yourself but others around you. Contribute to your community, offer things you no longer use to those in desperate need, volunteer your time . . . My last wish is that you find a path to happiness. . . your willingness to conquer challenges is what will separate you from the majority.”

Meléndez, former vice president of government and community alliances for Hartford Hospital, spoke on behalf of the Board of Regents for Higher Education, expressing gratitude to all who had supported Eastern’s graduates — parents, family, friends and especially Eastern’s faculty. “Their commitment to your success is what makes this university so special. Today is a significant milestone.  We hope today is merely a catalyst for a fulfilling life as each of you pursues your goals.”

Michele Bacholle, Distinguished Professor of the Year

 

Ojakian also offered remarks, commending Eastern President Núñez, her administrative team and “an exceptional faculty that guided you onyour journey to get to today.  The journey is now yours. It is your own path and your own truth that will motivate you . . .  Trust your instincts . . .  You have an obligation to leave this world a better place.  Take charge!”

This year’s graduation ceremonies again reflected Eastern’s Commencement traditions, ranging from the Governor’s Foot Guard Color Guard, to the plaintive sound of the bagpipes of the St. Patrick’s Pipe Band and the pre-event music of the Thread City Brass Quintet. University Senate President Maryanne Clifford presided over the commencement exercises; seniors Halie Poirier, Michael Beckstein and Hannah Bythrow sang “America the Beautiful”; Senior Nathan Cusson gave the invocation; and French Professor Michèle Bacholle was recognized as the 2018 Distinguished Professor Award recipient.

CREATE Conference Shows Breadth and Depth of Eastern Students

Written by Michael Rouleau

Displays of research and creativity filled the Student Center at Eastern Connecticut State University on April 13 for the annual CREATE conference. CREATE stands for “Celebrating Research Excellence and Artistic Talent at Eastern,” and is the University’s premier undergraduate conference of the academic year.

CREATE featured more than 200 students of all majors who led oral and poster presentations, panel discussions, music and dance performances, art and photography exhibitions, as well as documentary viewings and new-media demonstrations.

Students give a musical performance.
A student gives an oral presentation.
Conference patrons peruse the CREATE art gallery.
Students give a theatrical performance.

 

“This conference really cements our slogan that Eastern offers a ‘liberal arts education, practically applied,’” said Brian Oakley, conference co-chair and professor of environmental earth science. “It’s evident when you look around and see the breadth and depth of the work being done by our students.”

“There is no event on campus more important than CREATE,” affirmed Eastern President Elsa Nunez. “Some of the work on display represents three or four years of problem solving, testing and intellectual pursuit. This event is more than a source of pride; it’s a validation of our university’s mission.”

Midway through the conference, two students and two faculty members received awards for undergraduate research and faculty mentorship.

Julie Underhill ’18, who majors in labor relations and human resources management, and Tess Candler ’18, who double majors in political science and economics, received the undergraduate research awards. The faculty awards went to Underhill and Candler’s mentors, respectively: Business Administration Professor Niti Pandey and Political Science Professor Courtney Broscious.

Award recipients Julie Underhill (middle) and Niti Pandey (right) with Provost Dimitrios Pachis.
Award recipients Courtney Broscious (middle) and Tess Candler (right) with Provost Dimitrios Pachis.

 

“Without the professors we cannot celebrate the success of the students,” reminded Provost Dimitrios Pachis, “and without the students we cannot celebrate the success of the professors. This is how the world works, the yin and the yang. With this sort of partnership, we create the future.”

The CREATE conference advances Eastern’s strategic plan by reinforcing high-impact practices such as mentored research and creative projects; increasing the percentage of students who present scholarly work; raising awareness of the accomplishments of Eastern students; and contributing to the intellectual richness of the campus community.

Eastern to hold Ninth Annual Service Expo and Awards Ceremony

WILLIMANTIC, CT (04/11/2018) Eastern Connecticut State University will hold its annual Service Expo and Awards Ceremony on April 19 from 2-5 p.m. in the lobby of the Fine Arts Instructional Center. Sponsored by the Center for Community Engagement (CCE), the event will showcase the numerous service projects being spearheaded by Eastern students in the Windham area.

Student volunteers will present posters describing their projects, which have occurred at more than 30 sites in the region. Guest judges from the community and Eastern faculty and staff will present awards for the best programs.

Awards will be given to the following individuals: Service Learning Award – Denise Matthews, professor of communication at Eastern; Community Program Award – Christy Calkins and Journey House Program at Natchaug Hospital; and Community Engagement Awards to Nancy Brennan, Interfaith Campus Ministry, Erin Corbett and student Makayla Mowel.

The expo will kick off with keynote speaker Erin Corbett of Second Chances, an education program within the Connecticut prison system. The event is open to the public. For more information, contact the CCE at (860) 465-0090.

The Eastern Chamber Singers Tour Post-Hurricane Puerto Rico

The Chamber Singers pose for a group photo in San Juan

Written by Michael Rouleau

A group of talented vocalists from Eastern Connecticut State University embarked on a unique tour of post-hurricane Puerto Rico this spring break. From March 9–15, members of the Chamber Singers performed in concerts and worked on service projects in the slowly recovering island.

In addition to three performances in San Juan, the group volunteered in the hurricane-battered neighborhood of La Perla, just beyond the walls of Old San Juan. Divided into three work crews, they cleared away debris from the residential section of the neighborhood while others repaired roofs and restored gardens.

Eastern students repairing roofs
Eastern students sorting through rubble in La Perla

 

“We witnessed the devastation firsthand while sorting through the rubble in La Perla,” said Jenny Lindquist ’20 of Tolland, who sings alto. “Piece after piece, we picked up the left-behind memories and belongings of families.”

Hannah Bythrow ’18 of Bolton, alto, remembers seeing new electricity poles being installed along the roads—flown in by helicopters—a stark reminder that many people are still living without power. “Exploring outside the city was eye opening,” she said. “I realized how long it might take for the island to return to its former glory. It made me realize the privileges we take for granted on the mainland.”

On a lighter note, during a roofing project, Bythrow recalled, “I remember us hammering nails in the heat of the day, singing at the top of our lungs and thinking to myself, ‘This is happiness.’”

The Chamber Singers performed for enthusiastic crowds at Stella Maris Parish and Escuela Libre de Música (Music School in San Juan).

“The high school-ers were shouting and dancing in their seats the entire time, itching to get up and sing with us,” said Halie Poirier ’18 of Putnam, soprano. “I’ll never forget those amazing kids.”

The Chamber Singers perform at Escuela Libre de Musica

David Belles, conductor of the ensemble, said of the demands of the tour: “Seeing our students have to kick it up a notch and adjust immediately to a new environment, new audiences, new spaces—having music be the only language many of us had in common—was a moment when all the work preparing for this endeavor really paid off.”

“Much like the colorful buildings and landscapes of the island,” added Bythrow, “our audiences’ faces lit up when they heard us and it was clear that they were truly thankful be a part of our singing.”

For Poirier, a graduating senior, this was her final tour with the Chamber Singers. “Puerto Rico was the perfect ending to a magnificent run with these truly awesome and talented people. I have laughed and cried with them while singing many wrong notes but still making beautiful music. I’ve toured with them for three years and no matter where we go, we always have a fantastic time.”

The Chamber Singers is Eastern’s premier vocal ensemble, composed of 20-25 auditioned singers from various academic departments. Performance repertoire encompasses chamber music from more than four centuries. The annual spring tour serves to enrich the musical lives of audiences near and far, and enhance the cultural experience of members of the ensemble while studying at Eastern.

Eastern’s Music Program to present a medley of April concerts

Written by Michael Rouleau

WILLIMANTIC, CT (03/26/2018) The Music Program at Eastern Connecticut State University will present a number of concerts and recitals this April. All performances will occur in venues of the Fine Arts Instructional Center (FAIC). Admission is free, no tickets required.

On April 6 at 7:30 p.m. in the FAIC Proscenium Theatre, four Eastern music professors will perform “This is the World”” by American composer David Maslanka. “This is the World” is an epic work for two pianos and two percussion performers based on Edward Hopper’s 1942 painting “Nighthawks.” The ensemble will include pianists Okon Hwang and Eric Ouellette, and percussionists Matt Bronson and Jeff Calissi.

The 50-minute, five-movement piece “is spacious and patient, with simple rhythms, slow harmonies, expansive and touching melodies, and moments of ferocity, whimsy and grandeur,” wrote Maslanka. The immersive concert will feature lighting and image projections designed by Eastern faculty and students. “This is the World” is part of the Music Program’s Faculty Recital Series, which was established to raise scholarship funds for current and incoming music students.

On April 15 at 2:30 p.m. in the FAIC Concert Hall, the Eastern Concert Chorale and Eastern Chamber Singers will perform “Diversity, Adversity, and Education: A Multimedia Presentation.” The concert will explore these themes and their relationship to each other through a multimedia presentation. The concert is in connection with World Voice Day.

The Eastern Concert Chorale (and the Eastern Chamber Singers) will perform on April 15

On April 23 at 7:30 p.m. in the FAIC Concert Hall, the Music Program’s student chamber ensembles will present a varied program of repertoire ranging from the Baroque period to the present. The repertoire includes works for strings, winds, brass, voice and guitar. Ensembles work weekly with faculty coaches to prepare for this recital.

On April 25 at 7:30 p.m. in the FAIC Concert Hall, the Eastern Concert Band will present an evening of classics and lighter fare from the wind band repository. The Concert Band is a unique blend of more than 80 musicians composed of Eastern students, faculty, alumni, local music educators and talented musicians from the eastern Connecticut area. Performance repertoire includes classic band literature as well as challenging works from contemporary composers.

On April 27 at 7:30 p.m. in the FAIC Concert Hall, the Eastern Jazz Ensemble will perform a variety of big band music featuring student soloists. This ensemble is a traditional “big band” that plays music from a variety of styles and eras. Focusing on traditional and contemporary jazz composers, the ensemble also incorporates jazz improvisation into their unique and entertaining performances.

On April 28 at 2:30 p.m. in the FAIC Concert Hall, the Eastern Opera Workshop will present “The Things We Do for Love: An Afternoon of Scenes from Opera and Operetta.” Eastern’s voice students have spent the semester studying and preparing scenes from Mozart’s “The Marriage of Figaro” and “The Magic Flute”, Donizetti’s “L’elisir d’amore,” Gilbert and Sullivan’s “The Mikado,” and Verdi’s “Falstaff.” Highlights from their semester’s work will be featured in this program.

On April 29 at 2:30 p.m. in the FAIC Concert Hall, the Eastern percussion ensembles will perform a concert featuring the Percussion Ensemble, Percussion Group and World Percussion Ensemble with a variety of music for large and small ensembles from different cultures. The concert will feature the premieres of four works, including two from faculty members Jeff Calissi and Anthony Cornicello, and a clarinet concerto with faculty member Chris Howard.

On April 29 at 7:30 p.m. in the FAIC Concert Hall, the Music Program will present “New Music at Eastern,” featuring performances of new works by Eastern student composers.

On April 30 at 7:30 p.m. in the FAIC Concert Hall, student performers of the 3 O’ Clock Band will celebrate International Jazz Day with a performance of jazz tunes ranging from standards and bebop to modern jazz and rock.

“These performances highlight the variety of music study occurring on our campus every day – in our studios, practice rooms and rehearsal halls,” said Emily Riggs, head of the Music Program. “From opera to global percussion, whatever your interests, you are certain to find something on our calendar that excites you!”

Eastern Hosts Renowned Korean Architect

Korean architect and author Hwang Doojin explains his architectural style at a lecture in Eastern’s FAIC.

Written by Anne Pappalardo

On Feb. 28, well-respected South Korean architect and author Hwang Doojin presented stunning examples of his eclectic architectural projects during a lecture in the Fine Arts Instructional Center (FAIC) at Eastern Connecticut State University.

Seoul, Korea, is a key influence in the evolution of Doojin’s architectural style. He is one of a select group of architects who incorporate modernism with traditional culture and history. During the move toward industrialization and economic change in Seoul a few decades ago, many traditional Korean homes, called hanoks, were bulldozed. Despite efforts to preserve them, the single-story courtyard homes were replaced with large, drab commercial buildings and stark modern housing developments. Doojin’s projects have resulted in a newer urban architectural style and have triggered the rethinking of urban architectural movements.

An example of Doojin’s architectural style.

The director of Doojin Hwang Architects in Seoul, Doojin studied architecture at Seoul National University and Yale University. He was selected by Richard Meier, a well-known American architect, to work on the Seamarq Hotel, which welcomed global visitors to the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics last month. The hotel’s construction included a small village composed of five discrete wooden hanoks. This nod to tradition, combined with modern luxury, is an eclectic example of Doojiin’s style. Some of his other major projects can be found in Frankfurt and Stockholm.

Eastern Professor of Music Okon Hwang (left) and her brother, well-known Korean architect Hwang Doojin (right).“Tradition matters only when it has future values,” said Doojin. “When you try to reinterpret tradition, the first step is the process of ‘fragmentation’ — you either get inspiration from ideas or concept, or you borrow certain elements and play with it. You can never keep tradition intact as a whole while doing something creative with it.”

Doojin has authored numerous books and is the recipient of prestigious awards such as the Prime Minister Prize of the Korean Architecture Award, the UNESCO Asia-Pacific Cultural Heritage Award and the Korean Public Design Award Grand Prize. His sister, Eastern Professor of Music Okon Hwang, arranged for his visit to Eastern, which he graciously accepted during a busy week of engagements at Harvard and Yale.

Eastern’s Music Program to offer a Variety of Programming in March

WILLIMANTIC, CT (02/21/2018) The Music Program at Eastern Connecticut State University will host a variety of performances in March. From jazz to opera, audiences will be treated to performances representing a diverse range of genres and style periods. All concerts and recitals will be performed in the Fine Arts Instructional Center (FAIC) Concert Hall–admission is free; no tickets required.

On March 2 at 7:30 p.m., Eastern faculty members Emily Jo Riggs, soprano, and David Ballena, piano, will present a recital of art songs, arias and familiar songs from American Music Theater. Riggs and Ballena will be joined by their colleague, Chris Howard, clarinet. This program is presented as part of the Music Program’s “Faculty Recital Series.” The series was established to raise scholarship funds for current and incoming Music Program students. Each year, Eastern’s Music faculty/artists present a series of recitals to generate funds to support annual awards that recognize student achievement at all stages of the degree program. All Faculty Recital Series events are free and donations are accepted at the door.

On March 7 at 7:30 p.m., the Eastern Wind Ensemble will present a concert featuring the music of Michael Daugherty, Percy Grainger, Frank Ticheli, and Kevin Puts. Also featured on the program is Eastern’s World Percussion Ensemble led by Professor Matt Bronson. The Eastern Wind Ensemble is the newest instrumental ensemble on campus and is designed to provide students with a unique, student-centric instrumental playing experience. Led by Professor Kelly Watkins, the Wind Ensemble performs standard repertoire from the wind band/chamber winds realm, as well as more contemporary works.

On March 19 at 7:30 p.m., the Music Program will host guest artists José A. Zayas Caban, saxophone, Joel Gordon, saxophone, and Casey D. Rafn, piano. The trio will present a diverse program of classical music for saxophone and piano and conclude with a special tribute to Puerto Rico.

On March 26 at 7:30 p.m., The Straight-Up Jazz Trio will perform as part of the Music Program’s “Faculty Recital Series.” Expect the unexpected as the trio gives their interpretation of jazz standards, Broadway hits and recent pop tunes. The group will be joined by guest vocalist Emily Riggs. The Faculty Recital Series was established to raise scholarship funds for current and incoming Music Program students. Each year, Eastern’s Music faculty/artists present a series of recitals to generate funds to support annual awards that recognize student achievement at all stages of the degree program. All Faculty Recital Series events are free and donations are accepted at the door.

Eastern Music Program to Host 4 February Concerts

Eastern Makes “College Consensus” List of Top Colleges in Connecticut

Written by Ed Osborn

WILLIMANTIC, CT (01/26/2018) College Consensus, a unique new college review aggregator, has recognized Eastern Connecticut State University in its ranking of “Best Colleges in Connecticut for 2017-18.” Eastern was ranked in the top 10 schools in Connecticut, and was one of only two public institutions chosen, the University of Connecticut being the other.

To identify the Best Colleges in Connecticut for 2017-18, College Consensus averaged the latest results from the most respected college ranking systems, including U.S. News and World Report among others, along with thousands of student review scores, to produce a unique rating for each school. Read about the organization’s methodology at https://www.collegeconsensus.com/about.

“Congratulations on making the list of Best Colleges in Connecticut for 2017-18,” said Carrie Sealey-Morris, managing editor of College Consensus. “Your inclusion in our ranking shows that your school has been recognized for excellence by both publishers on the outside and students and alumni on the inside.”

Part of the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities System, Eastern began its life in 1889 as a public normal school. Today the University is recognized as one of top 25 public universities in the North Region by U.S. News & World Report, and has been named one of the nation’s Green Colleges eight years in a row by the Princeton Review.

Eastern is Connecticut’s public liberal arts college, with a student body of 5,300 students; more than 90 percent of Eastern’s students are from Connecticut. Eastern’s size gives its students an uncommon degree of individualized attention, aided by a 15:1 student/faculty ratio and a strong commitment to student success.

In addition to a strong liberal art foundation, Eastern has many opportunities for students to engage in practical, hands-on learning, ranging from internships to study abroad, community service and undergraduate research. For instance, Eastern has sent more student researchers to the competitive National Conference on Undergraduate Research in the past four years than all the other public universities in Connecticut combined. In 2018, 41 of the 44 students from Connecticut who will present their research at the conference in April are from Eastern.

With its history, Eastern is also one of Connecticut’s foremost educators of teachers, and its professional studies and continuing education programs have made it an important institution for Connecticut’s working adults.

To see Eastern’s College Consensus profile, visit https://www.collegeconsensus.com/school/eastern-connecticut-state-university.

Eastern Jazz Ensemble Performs!

Jazz Ensemble

Jazz Ensemble

Written by Jolene Potter

Jazz music is in the air at Eastern Connecticut State University. Two concerts featuring student performers hit the main stage this December, including the Jazz Ensemble and 3 O’Clock Band, which performed on Dec. 1 and Dec. 4 respectively. Both concerts took place in the Fine Arts Instructional Center (FAIC) Concert Hall.

Michael Della Valle ’19 of North Haven, who majors in Accounting, played bass in the Eastern Jazz Ensemble.

The Eastern Jazz Ensemble is composed of students who play traditional jazz instruments including saxophone, trumpet, trombone, piano, bass, guitar and drums. The ensemble performs works from the standard and modern Big Band repertoire.

Conducted by Bryce Call, the ensemble performed several selections from Duke Ellington. Ellington, who called his music “American Music” rather than jazz, remains one of the most influential figures in jazz and is widely considered as one of the twentieth century’s best-known African American composers. The ensemble also performed selections from Benny Carter and Marty Paich, providing a unique and entertaining show.

The Jazz Ensemble came out strong with an opening performance of “C Jam Blues,” an Ellington staple written in 1942 that features several improvised solos. The ensemble also performed Benny Carter’s “Vine Street Rumble,” a traditional Big Band jazz piece with extensive solos for tenor saxophone and piano.

This traditional ensemble entertains Eastern students, faculty and community members with music from a wide variety of styles and eras in the jazz idiom. In addition to performing compositions from traditional and contemporary jazz composers, the ensemble also enjoys improvisation.

The 3 O’Clock Band is a variable-sized ensemble that provides the student with a small-group experience. Students play classic jazz tunes from a variety of eras, ranging from standards and bebop to recent jazz and rock. Similarly to the Jazz Ensemble, the 3 O’Clock Band values experience in improvisation, a staple in jazz music.

The 3 O’Clock Band was featured in the Dec. 4 concert that highlighted significant figures in the jazz idiom, as well as musical compositions seen as highly influencial in the progression of jazz improvisation from the mid 1940s to present day. Composers featured in the concert included Jaco Pastorius and Charlie Parker. Pastorius was bass player known primarily for his highly advanced techniques on the bass. Charlie Parker was one of the first to introduce Bebop to the world, as well as adding to the style of improvisation.

Among the performed pieces by the 3 O’Clock Band was Billie Holiday’s “God Bless the Child,” a timeless jazz piece that originated from an argument between Holiday and her mother.