Saint Martin’s “Music @ 11” to showcase Manila Smiles jazz ensemble

March 13, 2013

Lacey, Washington – The Saint Martin’s University Music Department welcomes the Manila Smiles jazz band, including member Phil Lawson, a classical and jazz guitarist and an adjunct professor at Saint Martin’s, as its next guest in the 2012-13 “Music @ 11” recital series. The one-hour concert, featuring original pieces written by all five members of the musical ensemble, as well as some Brazilian jazz tunes, will take place at 11 a.m., Tuesday, March 19, in Kreielsheimer Hall, on the Saint Martin’s University campus, 5000 Abbey Way SE. The event is free and open to the public.

“It’s very exciting to be able to give the students and the public, in general, an opportunity to show what Manila Smiles can do and spread some great jazz around,” says Lawson, who teaches History of Rock and Roll and applied guitar lessons to students at Saint Martin’s. Lawson, who also teaches guitar from his Music 6000 private studio in Olympia, has performed for years as a local freelance musician, playing with numerous bands of genres that, in addition to jazz, include rock, folk, bluegrass, classical, and country.

“I have been playing in bands since I was a child, but I haven’t been this excited about a band in a long time,” says Lawson. Brazilian jazz pieces to be played by Manila Smiles include the work of Hermeto Pascoal, a beloved Brazilian composer well-known for his improvisational talents. “Brazilian jazz combines the idea of Latin rhythms with jazz harmony,” Lawson says.

Joining Lawson onstage will be bassist and band originator Steve Luceno; percussionist Jeff Busch; John Croarkin, who plays saxophone and flute, and pianist Drew Gibbs. All of the musicians are familiar to Olympia area jazz fans. “There’s a growing interest in jazz around here,” Lawson says, “and the local jazz community is supporting it very well.”

The “Music @ 11” recital series, now in its eighth year, was created by Saint Martin’s University Associate Professor of Music Darrell Born, M.M., chair of the University’s Department of Fine and Performing Arts, to raise awareness of the musical arts and provide opportunities for students and the community to experience various kinds of music in a recital setting.

Saint Martin’s University is an independent four-year, coeducational university located on a wooded campus of more than 300 acres in Lacey, Washington. Established in 1895 by the Catholic Order of Saint Benedict, the University is one of 14 Benedictine colleges and universities in the United States and Canada, and the only one west of the Rocky Mountains. Saint Martin’s University prepares students for successful lives through its 23 majors and seven graduate programs spanning the liberal arts, business, education, nursing and engineering. Saint Martin’s welcomes more than 1,100 undergraduate students and 400 graduate students from many ethnic and religious backgrounds to its Lacey campus, and 300 more undergraduate students to its extension campuses located at Joint Base Lewis-McChord and Centralia College. Visit the Saint Martin’s University website at

For additional information:

Darrell Born
Chair, Fine and Performing Arts Department

Meg Nugent Dwyer
Media relations manager