February 21, 2011

Jazz Fest headliner Bill Prince plans free concert

by Andrea Hahn

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- High school and junior high school students from a three-state area will visit Southern Illinois University Carbondale to jam with a jazz great during the third annual SIUC Jazz Fest.

The highlight of Jazz Fest is a free public performance by headliner Bill Prince, set for 5 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 26, in Shryock Auditorium. The SIUC Studio Jazz Orchestra, the School of Music’s premiere student jazz ensemble, will accompany Prince.

One of the things that makes Prince such a jazz legend is that he is amazing on the trombone. Another thing that makes him such a legend is his saxophone skill. And another thing that makes him so highly regarded among jazz and other musicians is his adept playing on the clarinet. In fact, Prince can claim mastery over pretty much any instrument that one might find in a jazz ensemble.

That, Tim Pitchford, Jazz Fest coordinator and lecturer in trombone in the School of Music, is very rare.

“We’ll perform some familiar compositions in the concert, but they will be Bill Prince arrangements,” Pitchford said. He noted that a Prince crowd pleaser is his practice of borrowing an instrument for a few minutes from a member of the ensemble.

Prince will conduct master classes with students attending Jazz Fest, and with University students as well.

“Bill has done about every thing you can do in the music industry, from performing to business and recording,” Pitchford said, noting that Prince’s master class will be helpful to almost every music major, jazz specialist or not.

In addition to the master classes, the young jazz musicians visiting campus will have the opportunity to perform and have the performance critiqued by a jazz clinician, and to work with and learn from their University peers.

This year’s participants come from:


• Murphysboro Middle School

• Sesser-Valier Junior/Senior High School


• Paducah Middle School


• Cape Central Junior High School

• Dexter High School

• McCluer North High School -- two ensembles (Florissant)