Trumpeter Bobby Shew to be featured at Jazz Weekend

Jazz will echo through campus as the 2012 Jazz Weekend begins Thursday.

The events will be held Thursday and Friday in the Music Building's Staples Family Concert Hall, Platcha Auditorium and the Bovee University Center Down Under Food Court, featuring different types of jazz including swing, big band and group performances.

The featured artist will be trumpeter Bobby Shew, who has been actively playing since the '60s.

The final performance will be at 8 p.m. Friday at the 39th annual Jazz Weekend Gala Concert at Warriner Hall's Platcha Auditorium, featuring Shew playing with jazz students from Jazz Lab One, conducted by Assistant Professor of Music Rob Smith.

Traverse City senior and Jazz Lab One's lead alto saxophone player, Myles Boothroyd, has been involved in Jazz Weekend for four years.

"I like that it's a day full of jazz and jazz performances," he said. "It's good for jazz students to see and hear the featured artist."

Along with the featured performances, the Central WAILS Saxophone Orchestra, Jazz Central and jazz trombone group JazzBone will be performing throughout the two-day event. Boothroyd will also be performing with the Central WAILS Saxophone Orchestra.

During the day, jazz ensembles from high schools around the area will be performing for panels of judges who will critique their routines.

Portland senior Matt Sumner, who will be performing alongside Shew at the Gala Concert, says the weekend is a great opportunity for young musicians.

"It's a very educational opportunity for high school students to keep the art form of jazz alive," he said. "By coming and seeing all these events, it opens up a new door for the education of these students."

Sumner has performed with trumpet player John Fedchock and saxophone player Bob Mintzer at past events.

Sumner said the group performing with Shew will be playing pieces such as "Daahoud" by Clifford Brown and "Always and Forever" by Pat Metheny, among others.

Midland junior Kevin Keith is experiencing the weekend for the first time, performing drums for Shew's performance.

"I'm pretty excited to have the experience of working with someone like him," he said.

Keith said the band started compiling pieces and practicing for the event in December.

"We want to make sure we give the audience the best show we can," he said.

Shew said the pieces chosen for him to perform along with bands are based on a difficulty level the school dictates.

Smith will be making the transition from student to conductor. Smith was a student in the jazz band when Shew first performed at CMU, back in 1966.

Shew, now mostly retired from live performance, travels to colleges and conservatories around the world giving clinics in solo, group or even improvised performance. He also teaches students about life in the music business.

"The main thing we want to do is to leave inspiration with the students," he said. "If a student sees in me a great passion, that passion will inspire him."

Shew said doing events like this help keep music education, especially jazz education, alive in American universities.

"With all the cutbacks in the schools' music programs, it's a blessing that they keep the arts supported in the schools," he said. "Especially jazz, since it's one of the more complicated music genres out there. It could be the first thing to go."

Shew said he feels honored to help keep the tradition alive.

"I'm rather grateful that they keep the jazz programs going at the festivals like this," he said.

A full schedule is available on the School of Music's website.


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