Eastern hosting 60th Jazz festival

Hannah Shillo, Entertainment Reporter

The Doudna Fine Arts Center will be heavily populated with music lovers this weekend as the 60th annual Eastern Illinois University Jazz Festival begins Friday through Saturday.

Daniel Crews, director of programming, publicity and promotion in Doudna, said this festival is considered one of the premiere Jazz festivals held in Illinois.

He said middle school and high school students from Illinois and Indiana will be performing during the event and will “sharpen their musical skills.”

Samuel Fagaly, Jazz Festival coordinator and director of Jazz studies, said this annual event is one of the oldest Jazz festivals anywhere.

Fagaly said the students will perform for three judges who will grant awards for the best performances.

He said the festival is not only competitive, but also educational, as students will have the opportunity to learn more about jazz from the various clinics they will be able to attend Saturday.

Hosting some of those clinics, Fagaly said, are Tim Stanley, Josh Marcus and Aaron Eckert: three former Jazz students at Eastern.

Fagaly said these former students have done well in the field of music and jazz, so they will provide a lot of information.

The three will host information clinics about their instruments: trumpets, trombones and saxophones.

Fagaly said faculty will also host clinics for the rhythm section.

“The thing that is special about (the 60th annual festival) is that we are featuring our own folks,” Fagaly said. “The judges are all alumni, too. This is the first time we have had EIU alumni.”

In addition to hosting their own clinics, Stanley, Marcus and Eckert will perform at the opening concert Friday at 7:30 p.m. in Doudna.

Fagaly said the event is open to the public and there are benefits for those who attend.

“The music will be excellent,” he said. “The Friday night concert is going to have a variety of stuff, from classic Swing pieces to more contemporary jazz-sounding pieces.”

Tickets for the opening concert can be purchased at the Box Office in Doudna, and Saturday’s events are free.

Fagaly said Saturday will be a great day for education majors to attend, not only to learn more about music (to teach future students), but also to see how events like these are organized by schoolteachers with chaperones and itineraries.

Fagaly said he is most excited to see his old friends and former students.

“Between the six judges and three performers,” he said, “it’ll be kind of like a homecoming party.”

Fagaly said he is looking forward to a fun event for all involved.

Hannah Shillo can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].