Jazz band, ensemble come together to play festival

Laith Zuraikat, Staff Writer, Laith.Zuraikat@iup.edu

One of the major strengths of the IUP music program is the diverse number of musical groups that are available for students to showcase their talent.

Members of two of these groups, the IUP Jazz Band and Jazz Ensemble, will strut their stuff when they come together to perform in the annual Jazz Festival at 7 p.m. Saturday in Fisher Auditorium.

Dr. James Flowers is the director of the Jazz Band, while Dr. Kevin Eisensmith leads the Jazz Ensemble. Both the Jazz Band and Jazz Ensemble are open to any IUP student on campus via the audition process.

“There are music majors, both undergraduate and graduate, in the bands, but also students enrolled in other degree programs,” Eisensmith said.

While the two ensembles are two separate musical groups, according to Dr. Eisensmith, they do perform with each other throughout the year, as well as occasionally with other jazz-related groups in the area.

“Each fall and spring, the bands combine for an on-campus concert,” Eisensmith said. “The bands are also invited to perform at area high school jazz festivals, play high school assembly programs and participate in ‘side-by-side’ rehearsals with high school jazz bands.”

The Jazz Ensemble has been a staple of IUP’s music community for more than 70 years.

The festival traditionally features a guest artist performing with the IUP groups. Previous festivals have featured the likes of well-known jazz artists, including guitarist Joe Negri, euphoniumist Rich Matteson and trumpeters Vince DiMartino, Marvin Stamm, Doc Severenson and Dave Detwiler.

This year’s festival will also feature exciting visiting talent, as the groups will welcome the musical stylings of trombonist David Gibson.

Gibson has been a staple of the New York jazz scene for some time now and has released several records both individually and as a member of a quintet. In addition to performing, Gibson teaches at The New School, a university in New York City, and Colombia University.

“We look forward to working with Gibson and playing his compositions and arrangements,” Eisensmith said.

Tickets are sold at the Hadley Union Building box office and priced at $10 for regular admission, $8 for senior citizens and $6 with an I-Card. For more information about this concert, please call the music department at 724-357-2390.