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celebrating 50 years of jazz studies

jazz festival

Investing in the program

Jazz is a national treasure. Keeping it alive and vibrant is part of the mission of the UW-Eau Claire jazz studies program , which boasts five big bands and 16 combos and hosts one of the oldest and best-known jazz festivals in the nation. The program's quality is widely recognized nationally through its numerous individual student and big band awards from Down Beat magazine and nominations for two Grammy awards.

Thanks to the generosity of a small but committed group of donors through the UW-Eau Claire Foundation, jazz studies has been able to provide tremendous value-added experience to its students. Gifts to the UW-Eau Claire Foundation make the crucial difference between a good program and a great one. Consider recent opportunities students have had as a result of Foundation funding:

  • The Artist Masters program has enabled several jazz students to take private lessons with top jazz musicians around the country. Saxophone player Ben Herpel-Dobay traveled to New York City to take private lessons with Rich Perry, a tenor saxophone player with the Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Orchestra; bass player Jeremy Boettcher (pictured at left) traveled to Los Angeles for a week of private lessons with Grammy-nominated John Clayton; Michael Wolter took guitar lessons from David Singley, one of the top jazz guitarists in the world who lives in St. Paul, Minn.
  • During the fall of 2006, Bob Baca, director of jazz studies, and five student musicians traveled throughout China as jazz ambassadors to the world. Part of their trip to China was at the invitation of the Sichuan Fine Arts Institute, the only art institute in southwestern China, to assist in the start of a new music program.
  • Twelve students are touring the United States as the backup ensemble for Five By Design, a well-known jazz group.
  • Jazz studies runs a guest artist program, inviting top jazz artists to give students advice about professional jazz careers. As an example, renowned jazz musician Dave Mancini spent time on campus in 2005 conducting clinics and master classes. Mancini recently toured and performed as the drummer for legendary trumpet player and former "Tonight Show" bandleader Doc Severinsen.
  • Top jazz student musicians from around the country have received scholarships through the Foundation.

Recently, an anonymous donor challenged jazz studies to expand its base of financial support through the Foundation. The goal through this funding challenge is to double both the number of donors to the program and the size of the program's advancement fund through the UW-Eau Claire Foundation. Your investment in the more than 100 students participating in jazz studies today will yield tremendous results both for today's students and future jazz musicians. This is an opportunity to secure the long-term future of the program.

Thank you for considering a gift to benefit jazz studies at UW-Eau Claire. For more information, contact Gretchen Peters, music and theatre arts department chair, at or 715-836-4102.

Give to Music and Theatre Arts

"This collection will benefit students and researchers well into the future. UW-Eau Claire's outstanding jazz studies students and superb faculty will be able to use this music in perpetuity. It has been a pleasure and an honor to be a part of all this."

- Ron Keezer, UW-Eau Claire associate professor emeritus of music


Find out about about the John L. Buchholz Jazz collection of rare jazz music he helped acquire.