The Parthenon

Festival gathers bands and all that jazz

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Bridgeport High School’s honor band plays at the Joan C. Edwards Playhouse Thursday.

Bridgeport High School’s honor band plays at the Joan C. Edwards Playhouse Thursday.

Andrea Steele

Andrea Steele

Bridgeport High School’s honor band plays at the Joan C. Edwards Playhouse Thursday.

“We in the music area, just like the Artist’s Series does, we try our best to bring quality musicians to the campus for people to check out and to listen to, and I think those are important opportunities people need to open themselves up to.” - Martin Saunders

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Marshall University’s 46th annual Winter Jazz Festival started Thursday at the Joan C. Edwards Playhouse.

Martin Saunders, director of jazz studies, said the festival is the second oldest jazz festival to host high school and middle school students.

“We in the music area, just like the Artist’s Series does, we try our best to bring quality musicians to the campus for people to check out and to listen to,” Saunders said. “And I think those are important opportunities people need to open themselves up to.”

Small group jazz combos started the event.

Middle and high school students will perform during the day Friday and Saturday.

Jazz professionals offer the students critiques to prepare them for the state competition in March.    

Friday’s concert will include performances from the Marshall Alumni Band, a eighteen piece ensemble, followed by the Marshall Jazz Ensemble.

The Sean Jones Quartet will end the festival Saturday.

Saunders said the quartet is arguably one of the top five jazz artists in the world.

The festival began in 1969 as a way to spread the love of jazz music in public schools. Saunders said he hopes to expand the invitation to the community and other college groups in the future. 

Saunders said there are many opportunities for students to attend other jazz concerts besides the festival.

The Jomie Jazz Artists Series has concerts scheduled for the spring semester for students and the community to attend.

“You can look at something on YouTube if you want to, but that’s not the same as personal interaction and experiencing,” Saunders said.

It is free to attend the festival Friday, and students can purchase tickets for Saturday’s concert for $5 and $10 for the public at the box office in The Joan C. Edwards Performing Arts Center.

Mikaela Keener can be contacted at [email protected]

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