The Lawrence University Jazz Combo I, under the direction of Jose Encarnacion, minority pre-doctoral fellow in music, earned the Outstanding Performance Award Feb. 21-22 at the 2003 Elmhurst College Jazz Festival in Elmhurst, Ill. The two-day competition featured more than 50 college and university jazz ensembles from throughout the Midwest.

The six-member ensemble performed original compositions by renowned jazz artists James Williams and Gary Thomas that were arranged by Encarnacion as well as members of the group.

Combo members include senior Dan Crane, drums, senior Steve Rogness, trombone, senior Kyle Simpson, trumpet, junior Jacob Teichroew, saxophone, junior Bryan Teoh, guitar and freshman Tucker Yaro, bass.

“The students were overjoyed with the reaction that their performance received from the audience — an audience of their peers from other university jazz programs,” said Fred Sturm, professor of music. “It’s important for them to step beyond the confines of the Lawrence campus and recognize just how strong their work really is.

“For those of us on the jazz and improvisational music department faculty, the accomplishment of Combo I at this prestigious festival helps us spread the word about what’s happening here,” Sturm added. “We’re very proud of these superb young musicians.”

The Jazz Combo I is one of seven small jazz groups in the Lawrence jazz and improvisational music department that focus upon jazz improvisation, theory, aural training and small-group performance practice.