Winter Jazz Festival


Festival Information

The Marshall University Winter Jazz Festival is the oldest collegiate jazz festival in North America. Founded in 1969, the festival is held in February of each year and features performance by the tri-state areas finest middle school and high school jazz ensembles along with clinics and performances by world-renown jazz artists. Jazz ensembles and jazz combos at the high school and middle school levels are invited to participate! Any size jazz ensemble is eligible and every group will receive feedback and work with some of the best professional jazz musicians in the country. Past guest artists include Jim Snidero, The Sean Jones Quintet, & The Stan Kenton Orchestra.

The 49th Winter Jazz Festival will be help February 22-24, 2017. Our special guests this year will be TBA!

Download Festival Schedule

The Festival will begin the evening of February 22 with a performance by the selected High School Honor Jazz Ensemble and a debut by the Capital City Jazz Orchestra. Performances on Friday and Saturday nights will highlight MU Jazz Ensembles and will feature some of our guest adjudicators, the Thundering Herd All-Star Big Band, the Marshall University Jazz Alumni Big Band, and our TBA guest artists. Concerts and clinics will occur during the day by the MU Jazz Ensemble, and by various clinicians and MU faculty, and will give all students opportunities to learn from the professionals!

Select students and sections will receive outstanding soloist and section awards during a brief awards ceremony held at the end of each day before the evening concerts.


Festival Registration

To register your jazz ensemble or combo for the festival, please click the button below. Application deadline is January 31, 2018.

Director/School Sign-Up Form

Thundering Herd All-Star Big Band Nominations

The Thundering Herd All-Star Big Band, comprised of director-nominated students, is one of the highlights of the MU Winter Jazz Festival. High School directors are encouraged to nominate students for participation n the Thundering Herd All-Star Big Band. Directors may send nominations in bulk via email by clicking here.

Each student recommended must also fill out an online application! An audio or video file of the student playing a jazz selection must be submitted via the online form. This allows us to place students where they will enjoy the most success within the ensemble.  Directors, start thinking about any students that you feel could best represent your schools! Application deadline is January 31, 2018.

Thundering Herd All-Star Band Student Application Form

High School Honor Jazz Ensemble

The High School Honor Jazz Ensemble will perform on the opening concert of the Winter Jazz Festival on Thursday evening. To apply, each band is required to submit 3 recordings, one of which should be in a swing style. Application deadline is January 31, 2018.

Honor Jazz Ensemble Application


History of the Festival

Past Guest Artists

2017 – Steve Turre & Ashlin Parker

2016 – Jim Snidero & Reggie Watkins

2015 – Earl MacDonald