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UW-Eau Claire to host April 22 conversation with Doc Severinsen

Editor's note: This event, previously scheduled for April 21, has been rescheduled to 2:30 p.m. April 22. The location also has been changed from Gantner Concert Hall to Schofield Auditorium at UW-Eau Claire.

An in-person conversation with Doc Severinsen, the Grammy-award-winning trumpet player and conductor best known for his years as the bandleader on “The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson,” will be held at 2:30 p.m. April 22 in Schofield Auditorium at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire.

The free event, which is open to the public, will feature an in-person question-and-answer session between Severinsen and Robert Baca, professor and director of jazz studies at UW-Eau Claire. Questions from the audience also will be invited.

The event will be attended by students participating in the Eau Claire Jazz Festival, and it is anticipated the auditorium will be full. Community members are encouraged to arrive early for the best seating.

Parking during the Q&A will be available in any campus lot, with no permit required. (See campus map for lot locations.) 

“Doc Severinsen is one of my idols,” says Baca. “He’s on the same level as some of the greatest Hollywood movie stars. He’s not just a jazz musician — he represents music for an entire generation.”

Severinsen also will be one of the featured headliners at concerts to be presented at the State Theatre in downtown Eau Claire on both evenings of the jazz festival. Severinsen will play alongside Milwaukee-born drummer Carl Allen and UW-Eau Claire’s Jazz Ensemble I during the concerts, slated for 7:30 p.m. April 21 and 7 p.m. April 22.

After touring with the Charlie Barnett Band and then bands led by Tommy Dorsey and Benny Goodman in the 1940s, in 1949 Severinsen became a staff musician for NBC’s radio network. He was invited to join the highly respected Tonight Show Band in 1962. After five years in the band’s first trumpet chair, he became the music director for “The Tonight Show,” a position he held until 1992, when host Johnny Carson retired and Severinsen and announcer Ed McMahon also parted from the show.

Severinsen holds a reputation as one of the greatest trumpeters and musicians of the last 60 years, respected in the worlds of classical music, jazz, big band and world music. Still displaying the bold fashion sense he was known for during his years on “The Tonight Show,” he continues to tour regularly with his own big band and performs with symphony orchestras across the U.S.

The Q&A with Severinsen and the evening concerts are among a variety of activities planned for the 51st annual Eau Claire Jazz Festival, to be held April 21-22 at UW-Eau Claire and throughout the city of Eau Claire. UW-Eau Claire partners with Eau Claire Jazz Inc. to present the festival, which is sponsored by Jamf. Find details about the Eau Claire Jazz Festival online at

For more information about the Q&A with Doc Severinsen or the Eau Claire Jazz Festival, contact Robert Baca, UW-Eau Claire professor of music and director of jazz studies, at 715- 379-1846.