February 18, 2010

Area schools’ jazz ensembles to compete at SIUC

by Andrea Hahn

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Big band and jazz ensembles from area high schools and middle schools have the chance to compete against each other and learn from professionals in the field during the Southern Illinois University Carbondale Jazz Festival 2010.

The all-day event is on Feb. 27, and finishes in grand style with a feature concert presented by the SIUC Studio Jazz Orchestra with special guest star, lead trumpet Steven Reid. The feature concert, which SIUC Studio Jazz Orchestra director Tim Pitchford described as showcasing Reid’s “loud and fast and high” style, begins at 5 p.m. and is free of charge. The other performances throughout the day are also open to the public with no admission charge.

Each ensemble takes to the stage at Shryock Auditorium for the competitive part of the festival. The young musicians also attend master classes with SIUC School of Music faculty, and may have the opportunity for a seminar with Reid.

Here is a schedule of school performances:

9:30 a.m. -- Murphysboro Middle School Jazz Ensemble (Director Nick Williams)

10 a.m. -- St. Charles (Mo.) West High School Jazz Ensemble (Director Ben Meyer)

10:30 a.m. -- Murphysboro High School Jazz Ensemble (Director Michael Moreland)

11 a.m. -- St. Charles (Mo.) West High School Jazz Combo (Director Ben Meyer)

11:30 a.m. -- Jacksonville High School Jazz Ensemble (Director Steve Thorne)

12:30-1 p.m. -- Master Class with Steve Reid

1:30 p.m. -- Dexter (Mo.) Middle School Jazz Ensemble (Director Scott Rybolt)

2 p.m. -- St. Charles (Mo.) West High School Jazz Band (Director Ben Meyer)

2:30 p.m. -- Sesser-Valier Junior-Senior Jazz Ensemble (Director Mark Mikulay)

3 p.m. -- Dexter (Mo.) High School Jazz Ensemble (Director Scott Rybolt)

3:30 p.m. -- Harrisburg Middle School Jazz Ensemble (Director Marc Henshaw)

Reid’s current musical affiliation is with the Brian Setzer Orchestra, a band featured on The Tonight Show, Late Night with Conan O’Brien, the Rachel Ray Show, the Today Show and more.

He also played for three years with KC and the Sunshine Band, known for such mid-1970s hits as “That’s the Way (I Like It),” “I’m Your Boogie Man,” and “(Shake Shake Shake) Your Booty.” The band’s music has seen a recent reawakening of interest with Dance Revolution and even as samples for hip-hop artists.

Reid began his professional musical career in the 1990s, playing lead trumpet for Disneyland and Walt Disney World. While there, he worked with such famous jazz musicians as Bobby Shew, Maynard Ferguson, Della Reese, Rosemary Clooney, Mercer Ellington and Lionel Hampton. He played lead trumpet with the Duke Ellington Orchestra, and then later backed Whitney Houston, Bobby Brown and Branford Marsalis. Reid also played in the pit orchestra during Broadway productions of “Cats” and “Miss Saigon,” toured with the Big Bop Nouveau Band, and on Bourbon Street at the Famous Door.

The SIUC Studio Jazz Orchestra is the top student jazz ensemble at SIUC. The group includes brass, saxophone and woodwind and rhythm. Their repertoire combines classic and new, as the ensemble presents concerts, backs up visiting jazz artists and records at SIUC’s studio.