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SXU Debuts New Commercial Band, Fish 'n' Chips


Saint Xavier University's (SXU) director of Jazz Studies, Shawn Salmon, D.A., has been planning to start a student-led band for quite some time. As the Music Department began working on two new emphases, jazz and commercial music, Salmon sought to engage and educate students in playing a larger variety of music styles and create an opportunity for students interested in jazz, rock, pop, funk, R&B, and electronic music. From there, SXU's official commercial band, Fish 'n' Chips, was born.  

Fish 'n' Chips consists of 15 members who perform works by popular artists of the past, present and future, including Bruno Mars, The Jackson 5, The Strokes, David Bowie, Paramore, Vampire Weekend, and more. 

"The idea of this ensemble was to have the students learn how to become a band. Unlike other ensembles, where a director provides music programmed ahead of time, I had the students bring in songs they wanted to learn. They vote on the ones they like and then begin working on them," Salmon said.  

For music majors, playing live is an essential part of putting their talent into practice. Learning theory, history, and other lessons in the classroom help to strengthen students' musicianship. Salmon attests that being part of Fish 'n' Chips has been a great way for students to put their skills to the test on stage and to learn the ins and outs of the field. 

"This band is unique in that much of the programing and responsibility to choose the music, learn the songs, and rehearse together is transferred onto the students -- it really does replicate real-work gigging. In music, just as in other fields of work, you need to learn responsibility, cooperation, accountability, and how to get along with your co-workers. I have already seen this band start to talk about forming their own groups outside of SXU, scheduling rehearsals to jam, and supporting each other at concerts of their own," Salmon said. 

Fish 'n' Chips has been quite busy this academic year, playing at the Christmas Spectacular, the SXU staff holiday party, the We Are SXU Day reception, and a concert at Evergreen Park High school. They also stepped in as the pep band for two SXU volleyball games and closed out the spring semester with a concert in McGuire Hall. 

Participation in the commercial band is open to all students with musical backgrounds. Register for MUS-150 to join the ensemble in the fall 2023 semester or contact Dr. Salmon at salmonFREESXU with any questions. Make sure to check out Fish 'n' Chips during the 2023 fall semester and see why President Joyner called them the "crowd pleasers!"  

Currently, Fish ‘n Chips is comprised of:  

Natalie Chibe – Vocals (communication major) 

Lucas Lowry – Vocals and piano (music education major) 

Ladarius Boyland – Drums (music major) 

Timothy Brazel – Guitar and bass (graphic design major, music minor) 

Kevin Dryer – Saxophone and cowbell (music major) 

Christopher Habrelewicz – Drums and vocals (music education) 

David Leonard – Bass guitar (exercise science major) 

Nicholars Vasitis – Drums (history major) 

Luke Walshon – Guitar (jazz performance major) 

Laura Blachowicz – Clarinet (communications major) 

Valerie Dupont – Bass guitar (studio art and design major) 

Mina Maryland – Vocals (music major) 

Peter Schied – Guitar (English major) 

Jessica Ziemann (psychology major and music minor) 

Ben Candelas – Vocals (art and studio design major)