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Smooth sounds

New Collection blends voices on stage, in studio

The New Collection has a new collection of music to plug, and the group’s founder said a Denton concert this weekend is a good chance to hear what the ensemble does.

“As good as this group is, they’re better when they record,” said Paris Rutherford, the founder and conductor of the Dallas-Fort Worth vocal jazz group. “We’ve grown in so many ways. We’re in our fourth year, and not only are these good lyric and music people, but they’re friends.”

Rutherford spent more than 30 years building the University of North Texas Jazz Singers, the school’s top vocal jazz group. Over the last four years, he’s been busily writing and arranging music, all while conducting and leading the 30-voice New Collection, which includes some UNT voice faculty as well as businessmen and women, doctors and teachers.

The group recently released its debut album, My Romance, a volume of a cappella arrangements of jazz numbers. The choir performs Miles Davis’ “Nardis,” the Beatles’ “Come Together,” and “Windmills of Your Mind” with tight harmonies and atmosphere.

Rutherford said the New Collection rehearses intensely and follows the credo he pressed when he was coaching singers at UNT.

“It gets down to the lyric,” Rutherford said. “There’s just singing the lyrics in tune, of course, but what’s really important is to really dig into the lyrics and sing the story.”

The New Collection records routinely, usually near a performance date. My Romance is an exhibition of a group’s ability to sustain sound without the help of accompaniment, and it’s way of making a song a narrative that connects immediately with an audience.

“The song that’s brought a lot of people to tears in concert is ‘Windmills of Your Mind,’” Rutherford said.

The Sunday concert in Denton includes Gene Purling’s arrangements of “My Romance,” “Michelle” and “Both Sides Now.” The group will also perform an arrangement of “Scarborough Fair” by former UNT jazz singer Kerry Marsh.

The show is at 4 p.m. Sunday at the Campus Theatre, 214 W. Hickory St. Tickets cost $15 for adults and $10 for seniors. For reservations, visit

— Lucinda Breeding