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Jazz Groups to Stage Big Band Battle
At Event To Benefit University’s Jazz Program
MAILED: Sept. 6, 2002
EAU CLAIRE — The University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire department of music and theatre arts will host an evening of music and dancing featuring a big band battle between its two top jazz ensembles.
The special event at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 18, in Zorn Arena will benefit the UW-Eau Claire Foundation’s Jazz Studies Scholarship Fund, which provides scholarships to talented students in the jazz studies area.
Titled “A Salute to the Big Band Era,” the event will celebrate the songs, events and people of one of the most memorable musical eras in American history. Dr. Wil Denson, professor emeritus of theatre arts, will serve as the historical pilot and navigator of the event.
“This was the era when ‘swing was the thing’ and the Big Bands — Benny Goodman, The Dorseys, Glenn Miller and others — were riding high,” said Robert Baca, director of jazz studies.
Baca said the jazz groups will perform swing music popular between 1928 and 1950. There will be two dancing areas adjacent to the reserved seating on the main floor. Refreshments will be available for purchase in the1940s canteen style.
“The evening’s repertoire will include songs like ‘In the Mood,’ ‘Begin the Beguine,’ ‘Chattanooga Choo Choo’ and ‘Sing, Sing, Sing,’” Baca said. “It promises to be a night to remember.”
Jazz studies at UW-Eau Claire has a distinguished history of excellent jazz performances rich in the big band traditions. Under Baca’s direction, the bands have produced 10 CDs, four of which have received Down Beat magazine’s “Best College Big Band” award. Two were nominated for Grammy Awards.
Baca, who was recently elected from the membership of the International Association of Jazz Education to the role of the U.S. representative for the executive board, said about 75 students currently participate in the jazz ensembles and other jazz activities at UW-Eau Claire.
“As more jazz programs are established across the nation, scholarships at a significant level are needed to attract talented students to our program,” Baca said. “We are known because of our efforts to provide financial assistance to high potential music students, and we need to expand those efforts.”
“Many of our students have become professional jazz performers, touring with major artists and performing contract work in our nation’s largest cities,” Baca said, noting that other ensemble and individual accolades include the Music Educators National Conference Honors Jazz Ensemble; principal trumpet in the Chicago Civic Orchestra; member of the Disney Collegiate Jazz Ensemble; winner of the National Trumpet Competition-Jazz Division; and lead trumpet for many national touring Broadway shows.
“We hope our patrons will provide significant donations to the Jazz Studies Scholarship Fund. These funds are needed and greatly appreciated,” Baca said.
Tickets for “A Salute to the Big Band Era” will go on sale Sept. 18 at the UW-Eau Claire Service Center, (715) 836-3727 or (800) 949-8932. The cost is $19.42 (1942 was the pinnacle year of the Big Band Era) for the general public and $15 each for school groups of 10 or more students, age 17 and under. Phone orders require payment by MasterCard or Visa; there is a $3 charge to process phone orders.
Donations to the Jazz Studies Scholarship Fund may be sent to the UW-Eau Claire Foundation, 214 Schofield Hall, Eau Claire, WI 54702-4004.
UW-Eau Claire News Bureau
Updated: February 4, 2003