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Celebrated jazz grad to share the stage with Jazz I

Jazz students will take the stage alongside a nationally celebrated artist and composer later this month when Jamey Simmons returns to his alma mater to perform with UW-Eau Claire's Jazz Ensemble I.

The April 30 concert will feature works from compositions Simmons wrote while a student at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, as well as his other award-winning works, and new compositions.

The performance will begin at 7:30 p.m. in Gantner Concert Hall of the Haas Fine Arts Center.

"Whatever you think jazz is, Jamey Simmons has played it and written it," says Robert Baca, director of jazz studies at UW-Eau Claire.  "Jamey is a master in playing and composing all genres. Jamey's compositions for this concert will contain traditional, contemporary and commercial jazz as well as classical compositions." UW-Eau Claire's Contemporary Chamber Orchestra will perform a Frank Zappa piece during the show's intermission," which Baca describes as "definitely an entertaining experience."

An arranger, composer, trumpeter and educator, Simmons won a prestigious Down Beat award for best composition when he was still a student at UW-Eau Claire.

After earning a bachelor's degree in music in 1994 and a bachelor's degree in music education in 1999 at UW-Eau Claire, Simmons won a full scholarship to the Eastman School of Music. He earned his master of music in jazz and contemporary media at Eastman, where he studied under jazz composer and arranger Fred Sturm and won another Down Beat award and a world composition contest. 

Simmons has written many compositions and arrangements, which have been performed by a range of groups spanning from middle school jazz ensembles to university ensembles, to the Buffalo Pops. As a trumpet player, Simmons has shared his talents with the world by touring with the Glenn Miller Orchestra throughout the United States, South America and Japan.  

Currently, Simmons is the director of jazz studies at Middle Tennessee State University, where he directs the Jazz Ensemble I and teaches various courses in jazz. 

Tickets to the April 30 show featuring UW-Eau Claire alumnus Jamey Simmons and Jazz Ensemble I — recognized — as one of the premiere jazz ensembles in the United States are available at the Service Center in Davies Center and will be available at the door.