More than 55 high school, middle school and junior college bands will be at Pittsburg State University this week for a festival that celebrates America's unique musical gift to the world - jazz.
The 36th annual PSU Jazz festival begins early and ends late on Friday, March 5. Judging for student musicians begins at 7:30 a.m. on campus and at satellite sites in Pittsburg's Memorial Auditorium and runs until 5:30 p.m. The day will conclude with a concert at 7:30 p.m. in Memorial Auditorium. Schools scheduled to participate in this year's Jazz Festival come from Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma and range from small rural schools to metropolitan schools in Wichita, Kansas City and Springfield.
Festival director Bob Kehle said the annual event is something schools look forward to for months. Not only do students have an opportunity to perform and learn, said Kehle, but they also attend a concert that features nationally or internationally recognized jazz artists. This year, the evening concert includes John Fedchock's New York Big Band, as well as the PSU One O'clock Jazz Ensemble.
Fedchock's 16-piece New York Big Band is comprised of alumni from major big bands, along with several of New York's finest players in the "modernist tradition." The group performs many of Fedchock's own compositions and arrangements as well as more well-known standards.
The band's four CDs for the Reservoir Music label are "New York Big Band," "On The Edge," "No Nonsense," and "Up & Running." Fedchock was honored by the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences with a 2003 Grammy Award nomination for "Best Instrumental Arrangement" for his chart on "Caribbean Fire Dance." The band's 2007 release, "Up & Running," spent eight weeks in jazz radio's Top Ten.
Tickets for the evening concert are $15 and are available through the PSU Ticket Office at (620) 235-4796. All of the daytime events are free. For more information, call the Department of Music at (620) 235-4466.
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