Jazz Ensemble to perform May 18 before traveling to Greece, Italy

GETTYSBURG, Pa. - A precursor to a ten-day performance trip to Greece and Italy, Gettysburg College's Jazz Ensemble will perform a farewell concert May 18 on campus.

The 7 p.m. performance will take place on the lawn outside Schmucker Hall on the west side of the building. The ensemble will play jazz favorites including Fats Waller's "Jitterbug Waltz" and Neil Hefti's "Splanky" in preparation for five performances while traveling through Athens, Delphi and Venice. The Jazz Ensemble is directed by Dr. John "Buzz" Jones. Admission is free and the concert is open to public.

This will be the fourth trip abroad in the history of the Jazz Ensemble. The group held fundraising concerts throughout the academic year to assist with travel costs. In addition to performing, students will have the opportunity to sight-see and network with several Gettysburg College and Jazz Ensemble alumni who will be traveling with them, such as Nick Boire, a 2007 graduate who is working for the Peace Corps in Africa and is a former vibraphone player. Jones said the connections that students make with one another and people abroad are the main reasons he offers this type of trip every few years.

"The students experience a real sense of community and camaraderie when they are traveling together," Jones said. "It carries over into the next performance year and serves as a source for great musical energy."

The Gettysburg College Jazz Ensemble is an auditioned ensemble of 18 to 22 students. All styles of jazz are studied encompassing swing, Latin, fusion, bop and American popular standards of the Big Band Era. The group has performed at the Montreux, Vienné and North Sea jazz festivals, opened for Ray Brown, Phil Woods and Kenny Baron and participated in the Villanova and George Mason intercollegiate jazz festivals.

Jones is a professor of music and director of Gettysburg College's Sunderman Conservatory of Music. He coordinates the theory program and teaches jazz history, counterpoint and composition. During his tenure as director of bands from 1989 to 2002, the program grew in size from 35 to 90 musicians performing more than 20 concerts annually. Moreover, the number of music majors and minors doubled while he served as department chair from 1999 to 2005. Jones is an 11-time ASCAP Standard Award winner in composition and has been the recipient of numerous commissions for wind, jazz ensemble and chamber orchestra. He founded and directs The Buzz Jones Big Band, central Pennsylvania's leading jazz orchestra. The group performed more than 200 concerts and dances, toured five European countries and produced four CDs during its 29-year history. Jones received his bachelor's degree from Lebanon Valley College, master's degree from Towson University and doctorate from Temple University.

The Sunderman Conservatory of Music at Gettysburg College combines Gettysburg's superb music tradition and its strengths as one of the nation's leading liberal arts colleges. Established in 2005 through a $15.7 million gift from 1919 graduate Dr. F. William Sunderman Sr., the conservatory offers three degrees -- bachelor of music in performance, bachelor of arts in music, and bachelor of science in music education -- as well as a minor in music.

Gettysburg College is a highly selective four-year residential college of liberal arts and sciences with approximately 2,600 students. It is located on a 200-acre campus adjacent to Gettysburg National Military Park in Pennsylvania. The college was founded in 1832.

Issued: 5/9/08

Posted: Fri, 9 May 2008

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