Video: Prof. Salerno on Jazz Fest XLI

The University of Wisconsin-Green Bay’s Jazz Fest XLI, which includes a full day of musical performances and education on campus, is scheduled for Saturday, Jan. 29. The public concert begins at 4 p.m. in the Weidner Center for the Performing Arts, 2420 Nicolet Drive.

“This is an art form that encourages you to be creative, to put your own stamp on it,” said UW-Green Bay Prof. John Salerno, the director of Jazz Studies.

Salerno says this year’s festival will be unique.

“This is our 41st jazz festival and this year we’re featuring a flute player from San Diego, Lori Bell,” “I don’t think we’ve had a flute player to my recollection but she’s an exciting player and she’ll be coming in and playing with both the Jazz Ensemble and the Vocal Jazz Ensemble. She’s also put together a combo with a couple faculty members to play some tunes.”

Jazz Fest is a combination of performance and instruction.

“Forty-one years is a long time to have a successful festival and the reason it is successful is we do try to bring in guest artists that are very good players for sure. That’s part of it. But during the daytime they do clinics and we also have other adjudicators or guests that come in and work with the bands and that’s also part of its success. We try to maintain a balance between a really good jazz player and one that likes to talk to students about jazz,” Salerno said.

Salerno says the concert is one that jazz lovers should definitely check out.

“You’re going to have a good time. It’s going to show two premiere groups from the University, the Jazz Ensemble and the Vocal Jazz Ensemble. Lori Bell is terrific, a great player, very charismatic woman. I think you’ll be very happy with this.”

Ten high school and middle school jazz bands, combos and vocal ensembles will perform for judges earlier in the day at Jazz Fest XLI with a chance to be included as part of the final concert. Performances are judged on jazz style, enthusiasm, program and technical precision. Bell will also give a jazz clinic to the young musicians.

The schools, bands and directors participating this year include:
• Fond du Lac High School – big band, jazz combo; Dale Shipe, director
• De Pere High School – big band, three jazz combos; Casey Schmidt, director
• Wisconsin Lutheran High School – big band; Jordan Beckman, director
• Ashwaubenon High School – big band; Marc Jimos, director
• Hortonville Middle School – big band; Larry Manley, director
• Greenville Middle School – big band; Suzie Patch, director
• Preble High School – Kevin Flogel, director
• Notre Dame Academy – William Hill, director
• Norway High School (Michigan) – big band; Greg Hunt, director
• Gladstone High School (Michigan) –big band; Bill Sjoquist, director

Tickets for the 4 p.m. concert are $12 in advance or $15 at the door. Order online at www.uwgb.edu/tickets/, or call University Ticketing Services at (920) 465-2217 or (800) 328-8587.

For more information visit www.uwgb.edu/music/jazzfest/.