Annual faculty concert to benefit jazz students

Mercury Bowen, Entertainment Reporter

The annual EIU Jazz Faculty Concert celebrating the “Goodness of Music” will take place at 7:30 p.m. Sunday in the Grand Ballroom at the Martin Luther King Jr. University Union.

Proceeds from the concert will benefit the David Frank Tanner/Ronald Eugene Gholson Endowed Fund Celebrating the Goodness of Music.

The fund created a legacy that was the first of its kind, benefitting students in the jazz studies program at Eastern.

Professor Paul Johnston, a professor of jazz studies and jazz piano, will be performing in the concert on the piano, and he said the faculty looks forward to the concert each year.

“It is a great opportunity for the Jazz faculty to play together,” Johnston said. “It gives us a chance to bring attention to and raise some money for The David Frank Tanner/Ronald Eugene Gholson Endowed Fund Celebrating the Goodness of Music.”

Johnston was teaching at Eastern when the fund was started, and he said Gholson was very generous over the past years.

“(The fund) has provided money for music and travel and scholarships over the last 10 years,” Johnston said. “This is the tenth event that Ron has helped put on.”

Ronald Gholson, creator of The David Frank Tanner/Ronald Eugene Gholson Endowed Fund Celebrating the Goodness of Music, said he came up with the idea to celebrate his friend David Frank Tanner’s life and show that he made a difference in the world.

“(Tanner) loved music,” Gholson said. “He was really into the Southern rock era and especially the Allman Brothers Band … He could have entertained an entire auditorium full of students to talk about Southern rock era music and the Allman Brothers Band.”

When the fund was started, Gholson said it was with one song dedicated in Tanner’s memory.

“I used the EIU Jazz Ensemble in their spring concert,” Gholson said. “As it turned out, we started inviting people to help me grow the endowment, and then we still had the spring concert. Eventually, the Jazz faculty decided they would turn the proceeds over. When they did their Jazz faculty concert, they would just take the gate receipts and turn that in to the endowment also.”

Tanner was a local Charleston resident and, according to Gholson, having a fund dedicated in his memory was not necessarily something Tanner strove for.

“(Tanner) was not a music major,” Gholson said. “Matter of fact, he did not even attend EIU, but he was just a good friend of mine, and I wanted to celebrate his life and make music something that would be his legacy. That’s what we’ve done.”

The Grand Ballroom will be set up specifically for the event, with refreshments and a cash bar available.

“We’re trying to have a little bit of a jazz club atmosphere over there,” Johnston said. “They’re setting up tables and (Gholson) has coordinated some nice food. It should be a really wonderful event.”

Because the Jazz faculty will be on campus for the concert, Johnston said on the following day Eastern will host students from high schools across the state for EIU Honor Jazz Combo Day.

“This is kind of a select group of students that have applied for this event,” Johnston said. “They have a chance to rehearse together, work with EIU faculty and give a performance at the end of the day.”

Mercury Bowen can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].