University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire


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UW-Eau Claire Jazz Ensemble I Again
Receives National Honors

 MAILED:  April 24, 2003

EAU CLAIRE - For the fifth time in seven years, a national magazine has named University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire's Jazz Ensemble I one of the best collegiate jazz ensembles in the country.

Down Beat magazine - considered the premiere jazz publication in the United States - again gave one of its "Best College Big Band" awards to UW-Eau Claire's Jazz Ensemble I, giving it special recognition for the sub-category of "outstanding performance."

"I am so proud of our students," said Robert Baca, director of jazz studies at UW-Eau Claire. "We can commend them not only for their outstanding musical talent and hard work, but for their selfless attitude toward each other and the dedication to the music they have such a passion for."

Junior music major Tom Krochock of Minneapolis also won a Down Beat award for best Classical Trumpet.

While Jazz Ensemble I has received the Down Beat honor five times, it's the first time many of the current members have received such a prestigious award, Baca said.

"Their success lies in their dedication and well-rounded training as classical musicians," Baca said. "These musicians fit our university's expectation for excellence and are proof that excellence is possible in a smaller university atmosphere."

Baca said he doesn't know of another group that has received the magazine's top award as many times as UW-Eau Claire's Jazz Ensemble I. And other colleges and universities winning the award in past years have been significantly larger institutions, with many of them having full-time jazz faculty members, graduate programs in jazz and/or undergraduate degrees in jazz studies, he said.

Down Beat magazine is a national publication for student, amateur, and professional musicians and educators seriously involved in various types of contemporary music, including jazz, rock, blues and electronics. Baca describes the magazine's annual awards as the "educational Grammys" because they are so prestigious.

Jazz Ensemble I received yet another honor this month when it was invited to perform at the Midwest Band and Orchestra International Clinic in downtown Chicago. With more than 14,000 participants, it's the largest gathering of music professional people at one clinic in the world, Baca said. "It's the largest event we could hope to perform for," Baca said, noting that the ensemble attracted more than 2,000 audience members when it last performed at the clinic in 1997. "It's an honor to get an invitation."

In recent years, members of Jazz Ensemble I have toured throughout the world, with Europe, England and China being among their performance destinations.


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 Judy Berthiaume, Director
UW-Eau Claire News Bureau
Schofield 201
(715) 836-4741

Updated: April 24, 2003