University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire


News Bureau . Schofield Hall 201 . Eau Claire, WI 54702
phone: (715) 836-4741
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Preservation Hall Band to Open
Artists Series at UW-Eau Claire

 MAILED:  Sept. 15, 2003

EAU CLAIRE — The Preservation Hall Jazz Band will open the Artists Series season at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire with an evening of traditional New Orleans jazz Thursday, Sept. 25.

Called “the best jazz band in the land” by the San Francisco Examiner, the group will begin its show at 7:30 p.m. in Zorn Arena. The band will play two 45-minute sets with one intermission.

The Preservation Hall Jazz Band does not plan its concerts in advance but instead improvises a song order on the spot. Some of the group’s featured numbers include “Basin Street Blues,” “Little Liza Jane,” “Just a Closer Walk with Thee,” “His Eye is On the Sparrow” and “When the Saints Go Marching In.”

Originating in the early part of the 20th century, New Orleans jazz is a shade slower in tempo than other jazz forms and the melody is always clearly heard with improvisation at its heart. Unobscured by complicated arrangements, its greatness lies in its simplicity.

Led by John Brunious (trumpet), the Preservation Hall Jazz Band is comprised of Walter Payton (bass), Ralph Johnson (clarinet), Joseph Lastie Jr. (drums), Rickie Monie (piano), Frank Demond (trombone) and Don Vappie (banjo).

Standing as an institution of traditional New Orleans jazz, historic Preservation Hall is nestled in the heart of the French Quarter. Built as a private residence in 1750, the building served as a tavern during the War of 1812, and began to evolve into a home for creative artists and writers. In 1952 the hall was an art gallery whose owner, a jazz fan, invited the musicians who helped create the New Orleans sound early in the century to play for his friends. The friends supported the musicians through donations, and soon the art gallery moved next door.

Sandra and Allan Jaffe bought the building in 1961 and the group of musicians who played there regularly became the Preservation Hall Jazz Band. The band has been referred to by one music critic as “a bridge across the ages — a link between the present day and the heyday of traditional New Orleans music.” The musicians, who range in age from 29 to 88, seek to preserve the music that evolved in New Orleans around the turn of the century and to bring it to contemporary audiences.

The Preservation Hall Jazz Band has toured the United States for more than 25 years, performing more than 150 shows a year. The group recently made appearances at Carnegie Hall, Boston’s Symphony Hall and Wolf Trap, where it was presented with the Wolf Trap Medal for Excellence in the Performing Arts. The band has become a global attraction with performances in Israel, Japan, Thailand and all over Europe.

Admission is $15 for the public, $13 for those 62 and older and UW System or Chippewa Valley Technical College faculty and staff, and $5 for those 17 and younger and UW System or CVTC students. Tickets are available at the University Service Center in Davies Center and will be sold at the door. Artists Series season tickets are also still available at the Service Center, offering discounts of 10 to 20 percent.

Patrons also may charge their tickets to MasterCard or Visa when they order by phone. Call (715) 836-3727 — or, outside the immediate Eau Claire area, call toll-free (800) 949-UWEC. A $3 handling fee will be added to all telephone charge orders.

Funded by the students of the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, the Artists Series is administered by the Activities and Programs office of University Centers and Programs.


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

Updated: September 15, 2003