Jazz department shines at festival

Jazz department shines at festival

April 27
00:00 2012

By Ashley Grant/ Senior Staff Writer

Saxophones, trumpets and trombones blend together to create a smooth, up-tempo tune that flows through Kenton Hall during UNT’s Two O’Clock Lab Band’s rehearsal every Thursday afternoon.

The band will be one of UNT’s jazz ensembles performing at the 32nd annual Denton Arts and Jazz Festival on the University of North Texas Showcase Stage, said jazz studies lecturer Jay Saunders, a former One O’Clock Lab Band member.

“Jazz students are going to be up there performing with some great industry professionals throughout this three-day festival,” he said.

On Friday, two forums will take place, followed by Mariachi Aguilas, the Zebras – a keyboard rock fusion group – and the Latin jazz ensemble. All nine of UNT’s lab bands will perform Saturday from 1 to 9 p.m. during UNT Lab Band Madness, and Sunday will also feature UNT jazz vocalists, singing groups and guitar ensembles.

Jazz studies professor Lynn Seaton said some performances will stream live from KNTU 88.1.

“The community has a chance to see all the young, talented people on one stage for this world-class festival,” she said. “It’s also great training and allows students to see what performing on a professional level is like.”

Saunders said the best part about the festival for jazz students is the opportunity to check out performances by other ensembles they ordinarily wouldn’t have the time to see.

History
UNT’s Jazz Department has been a part of the festival since 1995, with only the top three lab bands, jazz singing group, jazz repertoire ensemble and the Zebras performing.

“It started with the originator of the festival wanting our best groups to come out and do a performance on a Saturday afternoon,” Saunders said. “Later it was decided that if UNT and the festival could come up with the money, why not let the Jazz Department have its very own stage.”

Two O’Clock Lab Band member Nathan Hervey said playing in the Denton Arts and Jazz Festival offers high visibility.

“The festival gives the UNT Jazz Department a platform to showcase the extreme talents of the students in the program and gives all those playing a lot of publicity,” he said.

Hervey, a trombone performance master’s student, said he hopes that with such publicity will come higher attendance at future shows.

“I hope it brings more awareness to UNT’s jazz program and encourages others to come check us out for some of our many performances during the year,” he said.

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