Pittsburg State University - Pittsburg, Kansas
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News and information from Pittsburg State University, Pittsburg, Kansas.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Students show a growing interest in jazz

It's the only uniquely American form of music and Bob Kehle is happy that more and more American youngsters are discovering jazz. Kehle, a member of the faculty in Pittsburg State University's Department of Music and director of the annual PSU Jazz Festival, said more than 1,500 students from more than 70 high school, middle school and community college jazz bands will be at PSU on Friday, March 3, for the 32nd Jazz Festival.

"The demand has been so great that we opened up a fourth site for performance and judging," Kehle said. "Even with the extra site, I had to turn down some who wanted to register late."

The PSU Jazz Festival began in 1974 under the direction of Russell Jones, another member of the Music Department faculty. That first festival attracted 14 bands.

Throughout the day, beginning at 8 a.m. and ending at 5 p.m., the participating bands will perform at McCray Recital Hall and the Overman Student Center, both on the PSU campus, and at Memorial Auditorium at 5th and Pine. The groups will play 30-minute concerts and will be judged by professional jazz educators and performers. They will also receive suggestions about how to improve their performances in the future.

All of the performances throughout the day are free and open to the public. In addition, the PSU Jazz Ensemble I and Jazz Combo will give a brief performance at 11:30 a.m. at Memorial Auditorium. That concert, as well, is free and open to the public.

Kehle said an impressive group of judges has been assembled for this year's Jazz Festival. They come from Missouri State University, Friends University, the University of Tulsa, Texas State University, the University of Michigan and other locations across the country. One has played with the Stan Kenton Band and another with the Count Basie Band.

The Jazz Festival will conclude Friday evening with a concert by the Count Basie Orchestra in Memorial Auditorium. The concert is sold out.

For more information about the 32nd annual PSU Jazz Festival, contact festival director Bob Kehle at 620-235-4474, . For information about Jazz Studies at Pittsburg State, visit the Department of Music Web site at .

---Pitt State---