More than 500 students in 24 jazz ensembles from the bi-state region will perform for three jazz experts, receive written and recorded comments, and participate in a live clinic session. The bands can be heard on Friday, Feb. 8, from 8:25 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and Saturday, Feb. 9, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the Donald C. Bedell Performance Hall. Admission is free to this daytime event.
Bands attending will represent Cape Central High School, Farmington High School, North County High School, Charleston High School, DeSoto High School, Dexter High School, Woodland High School, Kelly High School, Northwest High School, Hillsboro High School, Fox High School, Seckman High School, Herculaneum High School, as well as junior high bands from Cape Girardeau, Poplar Bluff, Hillsboro and Murphysboro Ill.
The guest artist for this acclaimed event will be world renowned pianist Reggie Thomas. Reginald (“Reggie”) Thomas joined the Michigan State University College of Music as professor of jazz (piano) in 2011 after nearly 20 years as professor of music at Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville. He regularly appears as a guest artist at collegiate jazz festivals around the country, including those hosted by Lawrence University, the University of South Florida and Texas Tech University. He has also performed internationally in Canada, Italy, Poland, Senegal and England. He can be seen fronting his own groups (Mardra/Reggie Thomas Ensemble; OGD) on both piano and Hammond organ and performing with other artists including Ann Hampton Callaway and the Carl Allen/Rodney Whitaker Project. His recordings include work with Clay Jenkins, Kim Richmond and Clark Terry/Mike Vax, as well as his own recordings “Fade to Blue” with his wife, Mardra (MaxJazz), “Standard Time” (Victoria) and “4” (Jazz Compass). He is also a consultant/clinician for Jazz at Lincoln Center, working with the Essentially Ellington Program and the Band Director Academy. He has served on several summer jazz faculties across the country and abroad including the International Association for Jazz Education Teacher Training Institute, the Birch Creek Music Center, the Eastman School of Music Summer Jazz Camp, the Summer Jazz Academy in Chodziez, Poland, and, most recently, the Barbican Center in London.
The Southeast chapter of Phi Mu Alpha music fraternity handles all of the logistics of this event including guiding bands from warm-up to performance, handling collection of adjudication data, audio recording of each ensemble, as well as setup and teardown before and after each group. This is an annual service project for this fraternity which benefits Southeast Missouri State as well as the surrounding community.
Coupled with this festival will be the annual gala concert on Friday, Feb. 8, at 7:30 p.m., featuring Thomas performing with Southeast’s jazz ensembles. For further information, contact Robert Conger at (573) 651-2398. Tickets for the Friday evening concert may be purchased by contacting the River Campus Box Office, located in the Cultural Arts Center, 518 S. Fountain St., weekdays 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., RiverCampusEvents.com or (573) 651-2265.