Jazz Studies Program to celebrate 50th Annual Winter Jazz Festival Feb. 22-23

The School of Music Jazz Studies program will present the 50th Winter Jazz Festival Feb. 22-23 on the Huntington campus, featuring special guest performances from elite artists and clinics for high school and middle school musicians.

There will be two evening performances that are free and open to the public. The MU Jazz Ensemble I, featuring renowned trumpeter Rob Parton, will perform at 5 p.m. Friday, Feb. 22, at Smith Recital Hall. The Columbus Jazz Orchestra will perform there with Parton at 7 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 23.

High school and middle school jazz ensembles and combos of any size are invited to participate in the two-day festival. Each group will receive feedback and have the opportunity to work with some of the nation’s most accomplished jazz artists.

The festival begins on Friday morning, Feb. 22, with performances by middle and high school jazz bands, each of which will participate in a clinic from adjudicators Pete Mills, Rick Tolbert, Danny Cecil or Nick Vassar. Highlights include a master class by Parton and performances by MU Jazz Combo I and MU Jazz Ensemble I, featuring Parton as a special guest. It also marks the premiere performance of Huntington’s own Jewel City Jazz Orchestra.

The festival will continue on Saturday, Feb. 23, with more school band performances and clinics in the morning and afternoon. Saturday’s highlights include performances by the Thundering Herd All-Star Big Band, and featured guests the Columbus Jazz Orchestra, under the direction of Parton.

Outstanding soloist awards and/or outstanding section awards will be presented at the end of each festival day in a brief ceremony during the evening concerts.

For more information about the event, contact Dr. Martin Saunders by e-mail at m.saunders@marshall.edu.