Video: UW-Green Bay Music continues proud tradition with Jazz Fest XLIII

UW-Green Bay Music will present one of its most enduring traditions Saturday, Feb. 9, hosting Jazz Fest XLIII on campus.

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This day of education and performances will culminate with a public concert at 4 p.m. in the Cofrin Family (main) Hall of the Weidner Center for the Performing Arts. It’s an event with a rich history, said Associate Prof. John Salerno.

“It got started 43 years ago — Lovell Ives and Wayne Jaeckel decided to start one,” Salerno said. “It is one of the oldest-running successful jazz festivals in the state.”

Jazz Fest invites middle-and high-school bands from across Wisconsin, Michigan and Minnesota. After a day of instruction and rehearsal, two bands are selected to perform with UW-Green Bay’s Jazz and Vocal Jazz Ensembles, as well as a featured guest artist.

“The day is devoted to education,” Salerno said. “We have clinicians and adjudicators come in and listen to bands and some do master classes for the instruments. And then it culminates with a concert in the evening — or I should say, in the afternoon now. We moved it — (it’s) one of the changes we made.”

The event also is known for welcoming top-notch guest artists to teach and perform.

“We’re bringing Bobby Shew back — one of the great, great trumpet players of our time right now,” Salerno said. “(He’s) a wonderful player and a wonderful educator. And through support from our deans, Dean Mattison and Dean Furlong, we’re able to bring in, in addition, Bob Washut, and tie this in with our Jazz Festival. Bobby is a terrific clinician and Bob Washut is a wonderful arranger, and those two have collaborated for some time.”

Jazz Fest remains an enjoyable and infinitely valuable experience for all participants, Salerno said.

“Anytime you can get and hear from the great performers, or people who are really on the top of their field, it’s a wonderful experience,” he said. “They bring so much and the students learn so much from each of them about this wonderful art form that’s truly American — jazz.

“I think this is a really exciting festival for us this year.”

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