audience invited to two free jazz concerts at SU on Saturday | Winchester Star


WINCHESTER – The Shenandoah Conservatory is hosting the Essentially Ellington Regional High School Jazz Band Festival on Saturday in partnership with Jazz at Lincoln Center at the Ohrstrom-Bryant Theater on the main campus of Shenandoah University.

The one-day festival offers the public two opportunities to attend free performances:

“A Special Tribute Performance: Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra” at 4:30 p.m. and The US Navy Commodores at 7:30 p.m.

Tickets for free concerts are available on a first come, first served basis.

“A Special Tribute Performance: Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra” is a tribute to the late bassist John Kirby, originally from Winchester. The concert features Kenny Rittenhouse on trumpet, Scott Silbert on clarinet, Charlie Young on alto saxophone, Matthew Niess on trombone, Robert Larson on piano, Amy Shook on bass and Ken Kimmery on drums.

During the festival, more than 250 students from 10 high school jazz groups from Virginia and West Virginia will compete for the best section and top soloist awards. A group will perform as part of the US Navy Commodores concert. Musicians from the US Navy Commodores as well as clinicians from Jazz at Lincoln Center / festival judges Tatum Greenblatt and

Julius Tolentino will provide clinics during the festival. Greenblatt and Tolentino are renowned jazz legends. Conductors as well as members of the Winchester community will also participate in a panel discussion with clinicians.

“It is a rare pleasure for students and directors to meet and work with educators and musicians sent to our area from Jazz at Lincoln Center,” said Niess. “Few institutions are selected to host this event, so we are very fortunate to be chosen. The performance windows quickly filled once word got out, and we look forward to an exciting day filled with performances, of clinics and a dedicated performance featuring music by John Kirby of Winchester. “

As part of its annual Essentially Ellington program, Jazz at Lincoln Center (JALC) co-produces non-competitive educational festivals designed to provide high school jazz orchestras the opportunity to perform music by Duke Ellington and other composers and arrangers from big band. Participating groups receive professional feedback from JALC clinicians and other prestigious jazz professionals.

Visit su.edu/conservatory/invites/essentially-ellington for more information.


Willie J. Johnson

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