Monday, March 9, 2009

Inaugural Disney Jazz Celebration Competition a Success

#JazzBluesFlorida #jazz #blues #Florida #Concerts #Festivals #Clubs

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla – The inaugural Disney Jazz Celebration, a competition for high school and middle school jazz vocal and instrumental ensembles, premiered at the Walt Disney World Resort February 19. The three-day festival gave students from across the U.S. a chance to learn from jazz legends, and contemporary jazz celebrities alike. The experience included Master Classes with Conn-Selmer, Inc. clinicians, a Jam Session featuring the professionals and the students, clinics following each performance, and an inspiring closing award ceremony.

Legendary jazz icon Arturo Sandoval performed for more than 700 jazz students at the opening ceremony. Over the course of his career, Sandoval has received four Grammys, six Billboard Awards, an Emmy, and the title of Cuba’s Best Instrumentalist from 1982 – ‘90. This Florida International University tenured professor shared his love of jazz with the student musicians.

"After the Arturo Sandoval concert my lead tenor player came out and said 'That completely changed my life.’ Having the ‘Who's who’ of jazz education in one spot working with these kids was extremely inspiring," said Mike Whipkey, band director of Eden Prairie High School, Minn.

The annual Disney Jazz Celebration is supported by Conn-Selmer, Inc. and their family of fine instruments. Vincent Bach, Selmer, King, Ludwig Musser and Glaesel are the official instruments of the event. The Conn-Selmer, Inc. renowned instrumental jazz clinicians included Steve Fidyk, jazz drummer, author, and member of the jazz faculty at Temple University; Bob Mintzer, saxophonist, bass clarinetist, composer, arranger, Grammy winner, and educator; and Jiggs Whigham, internationally acclaimed trombonist, band leader, conductor of the BBC Big Band in Great Britain, artistic director of the Berlin Jazz Orchestra, visiting professor at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, and a lifetime member and general advisor to the International Trombone Association, British Trombone Society, and German Trombone Society. Joining the event as a vocal clinician was Jennifer Barnes, highly sought-after studio vocalist, live performer, educator, clinician and arranger.

“The 2009 Disney Jazz Celebration had the perfect vibe for sharing, learning and performing. The teaching model Disney has is wonderful. It provides each student a great balance of hands on playing experience mixed with real world instruction,” said Fidyk.
Disney Jazz Celebration Master Classes were one-hour presentations inside the World ShowPlace Pavilion at Epcot. They were conducted by the Conn-Selmer, Inc. jazz clinicians. During the classes, they focused on students’ artistic achievement, successful career skills, and the tools for performance excellence.

“The Master Classes were also very inspiring and educational. I plan on adding many concepts to our daily routine. All in all, we had a great experience and look forward to doing the Festival again,” said Roger Shew, director, Laguna Beach High School, Calif., Jazz Orchestra.

The nightly concerts included performances by some notable jazz rising stars. The performers included Laura “Lolly” Allen, a true triple-threat as a vibraphonist, singer and drummer; Nathan Warner, an in demand classical, orchestral, commercial, big band and jazz trumpet player; and Kenneth Whalum III, expert saxophonist who played with hip-hop stars Jay-Z, 50 Cent, and Sean “P-Diddy” Combs.

On Friday night selected students from the ensembles had an opportunity to perform with the Disney Jazz Celebration Clinicians, Adjudicators, and featured performers during the Jam Session.

“It was an honor to be a part of an event that will undoubtedly inspire some young folks to carry the jazz tradition on, very much in the way I was inspired by jazz events and veterans when I was in school,” said Allen.

“It was a blessing to be involved in such a positive event. I am certain that the goals were accomplished and that the students left with a positive outlook on their next steps,” said Whalum.

The instrumental adjudicators included Dr. Willie L. Hill Jr., director of the Fine Arts Center at the University of Massachusetts/Amherst; Joel Leach, professor of music at California State University – Northridge; and Dr. Ramon Ricker, senior associate dean for Professional Studies, professor of saxophone and director, Institute for Music Leadership at the Eastman School of Music. The vocal adjudicators include Larry Lapin, professor of jazz studies and director of studio music and jazz vocal program at the University of Miami; Michele Weir, a leading figure in vocal jazz education who is currently serving on the faculty of UCLA; and Dr. Steve Zegree, professor of jazz at Western Michigan University.

“The environment for learning, creating and exploring the many possibilities that this music has to offer was extraordinary. All of our adjudicators, clinicians and performers gave their all to those well deserving students and their teachers,” said Dr. Hill.

MENC: The National Association for Music Education officially endorses the Disney Jazz Celebration. For more information on the Disney Jazz Celebration visit or call toll-free 1-800-603-0552.
Press Release Distribution by:
Jazz Blues Florida

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