Tag: Jazz Celebration Weekend

Studio Orchestra concert featuring 100-plus musicians to highlight Fred Sturm Jazz Celebration Weekend

Tarrel Nedderman takes part in a Lawrence University Jazz Ensemble rhythm section rehearsal in advance of Fred Sturm Jazz Celebration Weekend. The LUJE will be part of the Studio Orchestra concert on Nov. 8. (Photo by Danny Damiani)

Story by Ed Berthiaume / Communications

When the annual two-day Fred Sturm Jazz Celebration Weekend kicks off at Lawrence University on Friday, it will be, per usual, a celebration of all things jazz.

But this year’s 39th annual event will be a celebration beyond that, a nod to the jazz program’s rich history in the Conservatory, the wide and deep range of student talent across the Conservatory, and the cherished nature of student-faculty collaborations.

The weekend is focused on jazz education, with students from more than 30 middle and high schools on campus to learn, listen, and practice. But the highlights each year are two public performances in Memorial Chapel. This year features the Lawrence University Studio Orchestra Concert at 7:30 p.m. Friday and the Miguel Zenon Quartet at 7:30 p.m. Saturday. The concerts are sponsored by Wisconsin Public Radio.

Members of the Lawrence Symphony Orchestra rehearse in Shattuck Hall.
Members of the Lawrence Symphony Orchestra rehearse in advance of Fred Sturm Jazz Celebration Weekend. The LSO will join forces with the Jazz Ensemble for a Studio Orchestra concert Nov. 8 in Lawrence Memorial Chapel. (Photo by Danny Damiani)

Friday’s massive music celebration

The Studio Orchestra is a combination of Lawrence’s Jazz Ensemble and Symphony Orchestra, bringing more than 100 musicians to the stage. It also includes contributions from a number of Conservatory faculty members.

It’s a music project that has been talked about for a long time. It’s been a decade or more since something like this has been tried.

“The whole idea kind of evolved,” said Patty Darling, director of the Lawrence University Jazz Ensemble (LUJE). “We’ve wanted to combine LUJE and the Lawrence Symphony Orchestra (LSO) for a couple of years now, and when we got together last spring we started out by exploring studio orchestra repertoire.”

Darling, Director of Jazz Studies Jose Encarnacion, Director of Orchestral Studies Mark Dupere, and Director of Bands Andrew Mast all bought in. So did the student musicians and other faculty. Difficult logistics aside, enthusiasm across the Conservatory has continued to grow as the weekend has drawn closer.

“I think both of our groups can learn a great deal from each other even as we work in such different styles,” Dupere said. “I’ve always been drawn to the immediacy of musical expression that jazz performance tends to emit. And in the end, it is just so much fun.”

It was also seen as an opportunity to honor Fred Sturm, the late composer and jazz studies director who founded Lawrence’s Jazz Celebration Weekend in 1981 and set the stage for an event that would bring in such notable performers as Bobby McFerrin, Dizzy Gillespie, Diana Krall, and Branford Marsalis, among others.

“One piece that we absolutely had to include was Terlingua by Fred Sturm,” Darling said of the repertoire for Friday’s concert. “It is so beautiful. We wanted to honor Fred, as he was the founder of Jazz Celebration Weekend and also head of the jazz department for many years, a world-renowned jazz composer and educator, and a dear friend, mentor, and inspiration to us and so many people. From there, we kept expanding the collaboration to involve more faculty and students.”

For more on the Lawrence Conservatory of Music, see here.

José Encarnación, assistant professor of music and director of jazz studies, works with students during a Lawrence University Jazz Ensemble rehearsal. (Photo by Danny Damiani)

The Friday concert will feature works from Sturm, Chuck Owen, Duke Ellington and others. Besides the LUJE and LSO, there will be contributions from the Faculty Jazz Group. It should be a treat for an audience that will include hundreds of middle and high school musicians.

“Not only will they hear a 108-plus-piece studio orchestra with beautiful colors not often used in big band rep, they will also get to experience incredible jazz improvisation by the Faculty Jazz Group — the communication, the connections, free improvisation, in the moment, things that make jazz so exciting,” Darling said.

Getting them all on stage at once might prove to be the biggest challenge.

“Not only are there so many people to fit, but it is also difficult to seat the musicians in a way that they all can hear well,” Dupere said. “In the end, we’ve placed the rhythm section — bass, drums, guitar, and piano — in the middle of the ensemble so that they form a nucleus that the rest of the studio orchestra can gather around and play off of.”

Preparing for the concert has been a logistical juggling act, with smaller group rehearsals interspersed with larger sessions. There have been a lot of moving pieces over the past few weeks.

“The soloists with the rhythm section, the LSO woodwinds with LUJE, our LUJE pianist with Janet Planet and strings — all these components were prepared independently, and now we are in final prep with the combined rehearsals,” Darling said.

It all comes together on Friday night.

For details on jazz offerings at Lawrence, see here.

Portrait of Miguel Zenon sitting with his saxophone.
Miguel Zenon will lead the Miguel Zenon Quartet in a Nov. 9 concert at Lawrence Memorial Chapel, the second night of the Fred Sturm Jazz Celebration Weekend.

Saturday’s concert features a saxophone innovator

Come Saturday, the audience will get to hear and experience what is making Miguel Zenon such a rising star. The saxophonist from San Juan, Puerto Rico, has multiple Grammy nominations and Guggenheim and MacArthur fellowships on his resume already.

He’ll lead the Miguel Zenon Quartet in a concert mixing Latin American folkloric music and jazz.

“His music, artist, and genius,” Encarnacion said of what makes the Zenon Quartet special. “They are one unit in complete alignment with the universe.”

In advance of the concert, Zenon will be doing an open sound check and Q&A from 5 to 6 p.m. at Memorial Chapel, a chance for Lawrence musicians and visiting students to interact with him.

“It’s very important that our students get the opportunity to interact with an artist of this caliber,” Encarnacion said. “It is so valuable in so many ways — as a performer, composer, music business person, improviser, entrepreneur, and educator. Miguel can speak to our students and faculty about his experiences and perspectives on all these aspects of being a professional musician.”

Encarnacion said he first encountered Zenon in the early 1990s on a visit to Hato Rey, Puerto Rico, to see an old high school saxophone teacher. The teacher wanted to show off one of his talented young musicians.

“He said, ‘Come here, I want to introduce you to one of my students. This guy is going to be amazing; his name is Miguel Zenon.’ He was right.”

Zenon has released 11 albums through the years and has toured or recorded with the likes of Charlie Haden, Fred Hersch, and The Mingus Big Band, among others.

“I love the way Miguel conceptualizes traditional or folkloric music from Puerto Rico with jazz music,” Encarnacion said. “I love all his recordings. They are always fresh, rooted in the tradition but always moving forward with new sounds, rhythmic complexities, and adventurous musical stories.”

Admission to the Friday and Saturday concerts at the Chapel will be $25-$30 ($20-$25 for seniors, free for students).

Ed Berthiaume is director of public information at Lawrence University. Email: ed.c.berthiaume@lawrence.edu

Eventful fall: 16 events we’re looking forward to in Fall Term

Story by Awa Badiane ’21

Pull out your cozy sweaters and go find your pumpkin-carving kit, because fall is upon us. Personally, I love fall. The cool weather, leaves changing colors, cute fall outfits — everything about fall is just perfect. And I get it, some of you may be sad about summer ending. But honestly, there is no reason to be sad over summer, because Fall Term is jam-packed with so many fun things to do on and off campus. That is why I have created this list of things Lawrence students can look forward to this fall. 

1) Soup Walk 

This is exactly what it sounds like. On Oct. 19 from 1 to 4 p.m., restaurants in downtown Appleton will have their best soups for people to try. With your soup ticket, you can walk into the participating restaurants on College Avenue and try their soups. And once you’ve had all the soup your heart desires, vote for your favorite. Tickets for the soup walk are $20 and go on sale Oct. 1. There’s is nothing better than a bowl of soup on a cool autumn day. 

2) Downtown Appleton Christmas Parade 

The Downtown Appleton Christmas Parade always takes place on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving. That’s Nov. 26 this year. As odd as that might be, it’s great for Lawrence students because we are still on campus for it! The parade takes place on College Avenue, meaning you can see the parade from campus. It is filled with floats, bands, Santa Claus, even floats that shoot out fire to make sure everyone stays warm. If you want to watch the show from College Ave., be sure to get there early because the streets do fill up. The parade starts at 7 p.m.  

3) Octoberfest

Who doesn’t love fancy cars and good food? On Sept. 27 and 28, Appleton will be hosting its annual Octoberfest. The first night of Octoberfest kicks off with a classic car show called License to Cruise. The car show is filled with about 400 cars, live music, and great food. And if you think that’s great, the second day of Octoberfest is a huge block party — Appleton’s largest block party of the year. The party boasts five stages with live music, an arts and crafts station, and more delicious food. Luckily for us, Octoberfest takes place right on College Avenue, only a few blocks from campus. 

The Fox Cities Performing Arts Center as seen from College Ave.

4) ‘Hamilton’ in Appleton 

Your eyes are not deceiving you; Hamilton is coming to Appleton! The Broadway production that took the world by storm will be at the Fox Cities Performing Arts Center for a multi-week run in October. And unlike trying to see Hamilton on Broadway, you may actually be able to get tickets thanks to their lottery system. Check the PAC website for show dates and details.

5) Apple picking 

This is a fall classic! As a kid, my favorite school trip was going to the nearest orchard and going apple picking. I didn’t really like eating the apples; I just really enjoyed picking them. Luckily for us, Appleton has a ton of apple farms, (see what I did there?), meaning we can take part in this fall ritual. The Hofacker’s Hillside Orchard is the closest orchard to campus, and they also have a pumpkin patch! 

6) Fall Formal  

Get your outfits ready! Every year Lawrence International hosts a Fall Formal, which is happening Sept. 27. The formal will be taking place at Liberty Hall in Kimberly, which is about 15 minutes from campus. If you don’t have a ride, no worries. There will be a shuttle running from campus to Liberty Hall every 15 minutes.     

7) Convocation 

A new academic year means a new Convocation Series. Every year, the Convocation series is kicked-off with the Matriculation Convocation. This Convocation is special because it is led by our very own president, Mark Burstein. This year, the Matriculation Convocation will be held at 11 a.m. Sept. 19 in Memorial Chapel.  

Dancers perform traditional Native American ceremony in Warch Campus Center on Indigenous Peoples Day.

8) Indigenous Peoples Day  

Every year, the Lawrence University Native American Organization (LUNA) hosts an Indigenous Peoples Day Celebration. This year, the celebration will be held on Oct. 14 on Main Hall Green. The celebration is typically filled with music, food, and traditional dancing that is sacred to indigenous cultures. This celebration gives indigenous students a chance to celebrate and share their culture with the wider campus as it also gives non-indigenous students a chance to learn about indigenous cultures.  

9) The Price is Right  

Lawrentians, come on down! As a way to celebrate Lawrence’s annual Giving Day, the Student Ambassadors Program (SAP) will be hosting a game of The Price is Right. Students will be able to dress in funky costumes and guess the price on different items around Lawrence to win prizes … just like the game show! The game will be held on Oct. 10 in the Mead Witter Room (second floor Warch), starting at 6:30 p.m. Giving Day will also have other events for students. Stay tuned.  

10) Blue and White Weekend  

Let’s go Vikes! As a way to celebrate the Lawrence community, Lawrence University hosts an annual Blue and White WeekendFrom Oct. 3-6, Lawrence will be filled with different events for families, alumni, and students. Last year’s Blue and White weekend was so much fun! There were different sporting events, concerts, and lots of places on campus to get free food, so I can’t wait to see what they have in store for this year! 

Portrait of four members of Brooklyn Rider
Brooklyn Rider

11) Artist and Jazz Series 

The performers coming to Lawrence during 2019-20 season have been announced! Brooklyn Rider will be the first group to kick-off the Artist Series, preforming Oct. 4 at 8 p.m. in the Lawrence Memorial Chapel. Brooklyn Rider is a strings quartet that creates music focused on healing. The Jazz Series, meanwhile, will begin with the Fred Sturm Jazz Celebration Weekendwith the Miguel Zenon Quartet as the first featured performance. Miguel Zenon is a Grammy-nominated saxophonist who will be preforming at the Lawrence Memorial Chapel at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 9. You will not want to miss these performances, and the best part is, they’re free for students.

12) Game Night  

As a way to ease the transition from high school to college for first-year students, Lawrence University’s Black Student Union (BSU) will be hosting a series of game nightsThe game nights will be open to the entire campus with a focus on being a space where students of color can have fun and get to know each other. The first game night will be held at 8:30 p.m. Sept. 20 in the Diversity and Intercultural Center.  

13) Events from S.O.U.P. 

S.O.U.P. is the Student Organization for University Planning. All the fun, really random things that happen on campus are typically brought to us by S.O.U.P.  This year will be no different, as S.O.U.P. continues to bring new events to campus for student to enjoy. On Sept. 28, S.O.U.P will be hosting Blacklight Zumba and bringing magician Peter Boie to campus. Be sure to be on the lookout for more events hosted by S.O.U.P happening this fall. 

The Vikings offensive line faces University of Chicago football players on the Banta Bowl field.

14) Fall Sports  

TOUCHDOWN! Fall term means fall sports. Be sure to stay up to date on the schedules for the football, volleyball, soccer, and tennis teams so you can support our Vikes! 

15) Wriston Art

Let there be ART! The Wriston Art Gallery will soon be opening its fall exhibitions. New pieces will be displayed in the gallery with an opening reception at 8 p.m. Sept. 27. Come check out the incredible art right here on campus. 

16) World Music Series 

The World Music Series is keeping the ball rolling from last year with a performance from Çudamani: Gamelan and Dance of Bali. This group is considered Bali’s most forward-thinking ensemble and will be coming to campus at 8 p.m. Sept. 23. The World Music Series is free for students, so be sure to take advantage of the opportunity to see performances from around the world. 

Awa Badiane ’21 is a student writer in the Communications office. 

Lawrence University Presents 38th Annual Jazz Weekend

Lawrence University will present the 38th annual Fred Sturm Jazz Celebration Weekend with live performances from the Regina Carter Quartet on Friday, November 2 and the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra on Saturday, November 3. Both concerts will take place at 7:30 pm in the Lawrence Memorial Chapel. Tickets are free for all students with a valid student ID, and range from $20 – $30 for seniors and adults. Tickets are available for purchase from the Lawrence University Box Office in person, online or by calling 920-832-6749.

Headshot of Regina Carter
Jazz Violinist Regina Carter

Fred Sturm Jazz Celebration Weekend brings professional jazz artists to the Lawrence campus for a non-competitive jazz education festival. Over the course of the weekend hundreds of middle and high school students from around the Midwest work with Lawrence faculty and jazz educators from across the country. The weekend culminates in the Friday and Saturday evening concerts given by internationally acclaimed jazz musicians.

The concert on Friday, November 2 will feature Regina Carter, a Sony Masterworks recording artist and the foremost jazz violinist of her generation. Her quest for beauty combined with her passion for excellence did not escape the attention of the MacArthur Foundation, who awarded Regina their prestigious fellowship “genius grant.” Carter’s recent release, Ella: Accentuate the Positive and touring program, Simply Ella, mark the 100th birthday of musical legend Ella Fitzgerald. Carter will perform Simply Ella live at Lawrence with her quartet.

Vanguard Jazz Orchestra
Vanguard Jazz Orchestra

The concert on Saturday, November 3 showcases the multiple-Grammy winning 16 piece Vanguard Jazz Orchestra which features some of the world’s finest musicians. Co-founded by legendary trumpeter Thad Jones and drummer Mel Lewis, after more than 50 years the ensemble still plays virtually every Monday night at the renowned Village Vanguard Jazz club, New York City’s most famous basement. The beautiful and unique arrangements of Thad Jones enchanted audiences worldwide. The mixture of the music from diverse backgrounds created their innovative sound and the band was quickly recognized as a world-class big band. The ensemble cultivated its rich history while commissioning new music that made them the prototype of innovative big band music.

For more information about these events or the Fred Sturm Jazz Celebration Weekend, contact Jillian Johnson at 920-832-6773

Percussionists Terri Lyne Carrington, Peter Erskine Headline 34th Jazz Celebration Weekend

A pair of Grammy Award-winning drummers will share the headliners’ spotlight Nov. 7-8 for Lawrence University’s 34th annual Jazz Celebration Weekend.

Terri Lyne Carrington_News Blog
Terri Lyne Carrington and her band, along with singer Lizz Wright, opens Jazz Celebration Weekend Friday, Nov. 7.

Terri Lyne Carrington kicks off the weekend Friday night with a performance alongside her eight-piece band and vocalist Lizz Wright. Peter Erskine closes the weekend Saturday evening in a performance with the Lawrence University Jazz Ensemble and the Lawrence Jazz Faculty. Both concerts begin at 7:30 p.m. in the Lawrence Memorial Chapel.

Tickets, at $30-25 for adults, $25-20 for seniors and $20-18 for students, are available through the Lawrence Box Office, 920-832-6749.

Saturday night’s concert with Erskine is the first of four upcoming “Music for Food concerts designated for the benefit of the Fox Valley’s St. Joseph Food Pantry. Audience members attending are encouraged to make a charitable donation — monetary or a nonperishable food item — to help combat hunger in the Fox Cities. All monetary donations are tax deductible, with 100 percent of the proceeds going directly to St. Joseph Food Pantry.

“We are so fortunate to have two of the most successful and creative drummers on the planet performing at this year’s Jazz Celebration Weekend,” said percussion maestro and Lawrence Professor of Music Dane Richeson. “Both have had a profound influence on my own playing, beginning in the mid 1970’s when I heard a young Peter Erskine with the Maynard Ferguson Big Band.

“And I was awestruck when I first saw Ms. Carrington — as a teenager — sit in with a group at an outdoor festival in New York City that I was performing at in the early 80’s,” Richeson added. “These are two of the most dynamic drummers you will ever hear.”

Carrington — composer, producer, clinician. media entrepreneur as well as drummer —initially captured attention on a pair of television shows, first as the house drummer for the “Arsenio Hall Show” in the 1980s and later for the late-night program “Vibe” in the late 1990s.

Over the course of her career, Carrington has recorded with a Who’s Who of jazz luminaries, including Herbie Hancock, Carlos Santana and Wayne Shorter.

Her 2011 ensemble CD The Mosaic Project” won a Best Jazz Vocal Album Grammy Award. A socially-conscious musical celebration of female artists, the album featured the talents of some of the world’s foremost female instrumentalists and vocalists, including Dianne Reeves, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Esperanza Spalding and Gretchen Parlato.

Earlier this year, she earned her second Grammy Award when her 2014 album, “Money Jungle: Provocative in Blue,” was recognized with the Best Jazz Instrumental Album.

Joining Carrington, who teaches percussion at Boston’s Berklee College of Music, her alma mater, and her band, will be acclaimed jazz vocalist Lizz Wright, whose voice is rooted in the gospel music she grew up with. NPR has hailed Wright’s music “as spiritually uplifting as it is graceful, grounded and unmistakably cool.”

Peter Erskine_News Blog
Legendary drummer Peter Erskine Erskine has been voted “Best Jazz Drummer of the Year” 10 times by readers of “Modern Drummer” magazine.

Erskine, who has been voted Best Jazz Drummer of the Year 10 times by readers of “Modern Drummer” magazine, is internationally known as an energetic and expressive performer in a wide range of musical styles. He has collaborated with artists as diverse as Stan Keaton, Weather Report, Chick Corea, Joni Mitchell and Steely Dan. A prolific recorder as well as performer, Erskine has released 50 albums and produces jazz recordings on his own label, Fuzzy Music.

Prior to his concert performance, Erskine will conduct a free clinic on Friday (11/7) from 1:30-2:30 in Shattuck Hall 46. The clinic is open to anyone who would be interested in attending.

The Saturday evening concert will pay tribute to award-winning composer and arranger Fred Sturm, who founded Jazz Celebration Weekend in 1981. Sturm, the long-time director of jazz studies at Lawrence, died Aug. 24 after a long battle with cancer. Erskine, and the Lawrence University Jazz Ensemble, under the direction of Patty Darling, will perform Sturm’s “Home Jubilation” and “Patience” as part of the program.

More than 750 middle and high school students from throughout Wisconsin and neighboring states will attend Jazz Celebration Weekend to participate in educational jazz clinic sessions on campus. The visiting clinicians include Ike Sturm, music director for the Jazz Ministry at St. Peter’s Church in New York City, trombonist Tim Albright of the Julliard School, trumpeter Frank “Pancho” Romero of New Mexico State University, trumpeter Marty Robinson of UW-Oshkosh and bassist Karyn Quinn of UW-La Crosse.

In addition to the two headliner concerts, five free concerts will be held throughout the day on Saturday, including a 1:30 p.m. performance in the Lawrence Memorial Chapel by the Lawrence Jazz Band under the direction of Matt Turner. The free Saturday concerts are highlighted in color in this PDF.

About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a nationally recognized conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. It was selected for inclusion in the Fiske Guide to Colleges 2015 and the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College.” Engaged learning, the development of multiple interests and community outreach are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,500 students from nearly every state and more than 50 countries.

Jazz Celebration Weekend Welcomes Kurt Elling Quartet, Maria Schneider Orchestra

It’s encore time for two multi-award winning artists making return appearances at Lawrence University for the college’s 32nd annual Jazz Celebration Weekend.

The Grammy Award-winning Kurt Elling Quartet opens the two-concert weekend Friday, Nov.  2 with the world-renowned Maria Schneider Orchestra closing the weekend Saturday, Nov. 3. Both concerts begin at 7:30 p.m. in the Lawrence Memorial Chapel.

Tickets, at $22-20 for adults, $19-17 for seniors and $17-15 for students, are available through the Lawrence Box Office in the Music-Drama Center, 920-832-6749.

13-Time Male Vocalist of the Year Winner

Kurt Elling

No less an authority than the New York Times has hailed Elling as “the standout male vocalist of our time.” He will combine his vocal virtuosity with the talents of the Lawrence University Jazz Ensemble. In addition to a 2009 Grammy Award for his “Dedicated To You: Kurt Elling Sings The Music Of Coltrane And Hartman” CD, Elling has won the DownBeat Critics Poll “Male Vocalist of the Year” Award an unprecedented 13 years in a row (2000-2012). He holds the distinction of having each of his first nine albums earn a Grammy Award nomination.

This will be Elling’s second Jazz Celebration Weekend appearance, having first performed here in 2003.

“I’m thrilled that one of my vocal jazz heroes will be making another visit to Lawrence,” said Phillip Swan, associate professor of music and co-director of choral studies at Lawrence. “Kurt’s improvisational skill and musical creativity continues to draw me to his recordings and live performances. I’m really looking forward to hearing him collaborate with the LU Jazz Ensemble.  The combination of those two forces will create a memorable musical experience.”

Elling’s latest release, 2012’s “1619 Broadway – The Brill Building Project,” pays tribute to the New York workplace where dozens of composers and lyricists generated some of America’s most popular music over the course of four decades.

His prolific career includes collaborations with diverse artists ranging from Chicago blues legend Buddy Guy, seven-time Grammy Award-winning jazz singer Al Jarreau and Smashing Pumpkins frontman Billy Corgan. He has written multi-disciplinary works for The Steppenwolf Theatre and the City of Chicago and was the featured performer at the Obama administration’s first state dinner.

Maria Schneider

Composer and conductor Maria Schneider’s ascent to international jazz acclaim began shortly after forming her 17-member orchestra in 1993. A weekly performer at Visiones in Greenwich Village early on, the orchestra has since become a staple at concert venues around the world, earning 2005’s “Large Jazz Ensemble of the Year” award from the Jazz Journalists Association.

The 21st Century’s Premier Composer for Large Jazz Ensemble

Schneider, who closed out Lawrence’s 2006-07 Jazz Series with a June concert, scored an awards trifecta in 2005 for “Concert in the Garden,” earning  composer of the year, arranger of the year and best jazz recording honors from the DownBeat Magazine Critics Poll and the Jazz Journalist Association.

An unabashed fan, Fred Sturm, Lawrence’s own award-winning composer and conductor who collaborated with Schneider in the creation of “Maria Schneider: Evanescence,” a 1995 Universal Edition text featuring her original scores, calls Schneider, “the premier composer of music for the large jazz ensemble in the 21st century, and her Jazz Orchestra is among the finest big bands in the world today.”

“Maria’s original works contain the most artistic renderings of melody, harmony, orchestration, and structure created by composers in all jazz-related genres over the past decade,” said Sturm, director of jazz studies and improvisation music at Lawrence and founder of Jazz Celebration Weekend. “Her scores and recordings have dramatically impacted the evolution of the jazz composition art form worldwide.”

Schneider’s extensive list of compositions includes commissions by the Danish Radio Orchestra, Metropole Orchestra, Stuttgart Jazz Orchestra, Orchestre National de Jazz, Carnegie Hall Jazz Orchestra, Monterey Jazz Festival, Jazz at Lincoln Center and the Los Angeles Philharmonic Association.

In addition to the two headline concerts, Lawrence will host more than 30 university, high school and middle school ensembles on Saturday that will participate in daytime performances, educational clinics and master classes with some of the finest jazz educators from across the country. All Saturday daytime events are free and open to the public.

About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a world-class conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. It was selected for inclusion in the Fiske Guide to Colleges 2013 and the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College.” Individualized learning, the development of multiple interests and community engagement are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,450 students from nearly every state and more than 50 countries. Follow Lawrence on Facebook.

Tierney Sutton Band, John and Gerald Clayton Headline 31st Annual Jazz Celebration Weekend

The multi-Grammy Award nominated Tierney Sutton Band makes its Lawrence University debut Friday, Nov. 4 when it opens the college’s 31st annual Jazz Celebration Weekend. Father-son duo John and Gerald Clayton share the stage with the Lawrence University Jazz Ensemble and Studio Orchestra in the weekend’s finale Saturday, Nov. 5. Both concerts begin at 7:30 p.m. in the Lawrence Memorial Chapel.

Tickets, at $22-20 for adults, $19-17 for seniors and $17-15 for students, are available through the Lawrence Box Office in the Music-Drama Center, 920-832-6749.

Singer Tierney Sutton

Led by Tierney Sutton, who grew up in Milwaukee and earned a degree in Russian language and literature at Wesleyan University, the five-member band celebrated both the recent release of its ninth album, “American Road,” as well as its third Grammy nomination for “Best Vocal Jazz Album.”

“Tierney is a terrific choice as one of our headliners,” said Fred Sturm, Jazz Celebration Weekend founder and Lawrence’s director of jazz studies and improvisational music. “She is a Wisconsin native, a marvelous singer and an experienced educator who taught jazz studies at the University of Southern California and now directs the vocal department at the Los Angeles Music Academy. She undoubtedly will inspire the student musicians attending our festival.”

During its nearly two-decade long incorporated partnership, the band — Sutton on vocals, pianist Christian Jacob, bassists Trey Henry and Kevin Axt and drummer Ray Brinker — have garnered critical praise for their performances and recordings throughout the world with such musical luminaries as Ray Charles and Placido Domingo.

In addition to three Grammy nominations, Sutton was recognized with JazzWeek’s Vocalist of the Year Award in 2005 and the Los Angeles Jazz Society’s Jazz Vocalist Award the following year.  The 2002 disc “Something Cool” reached no.1 on the jazz charts.

Legendary composer/arranger/conductor and virtuoso bassist John Clayton, alongside his son, acclaimed pianist Gerald Clayton, close the weekend. The Claytons were a mid-summer Jazz Celebration Weekend replacement for Lyle Mays, who had to cancel his appearance for personal reasons.

Bassist John Clayton

“Folks my age typically don’t admit to having heroes, but John Clayton is surely one of mine,” said Sturm. “When I invited him to appear at Jazz Weekend, he asked ‘Can I bring my son Gerald?’ I was thrilled, for the word has been out about this 27-year-old jazz prodigy for several years. Seeing and hearing this remarkable father-son duo will be an unforgettable musical experience for Jazz Weekend participants and audience members.”

A Grammy Award-winning composer, John Clayton’s career is littered with an impressive   array of accomplishments. Comfortable in both classical and jazz styles, he served as bassist with the Count Basie Orchestra and the Amsterdam Philharmonic Orchestra and as artistic director of Jazz for the L.A. Philharmonic and the Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra. As a music arranger, he has worked with Nancy Wilson and Quincy Jones, Whitney Houston and Queen Latifah, among others.

“Quite simply, John can do it all,” said Sturm.

Born in the Netherlands but raised in Los Angeles, Gerald Clayton was named one of the top “up-and-coming pianists to watch” in a 2008 Downbeat Readers Poll. Influenced by Oscar Peterson, Monty Alexander and Benny Green, Gerald Clayton styles his music on the notion “tradition and innovation can peacefully coexist.”

Pianist Gerald Clayton Photo by Emra Islek

He began playing the piano at the age of six and has since performed for audiences across the globe while collaborating with such notable artists as Lewis Nash, Terrell Stafford and Clark Terry. In addition to award-winning piano skills that garnered a Grammy nomination in 2009 for his work on Cole Porter’s “All of You” in the Best Improvised Jazz Solo category, Gerald Clayton’s composition “Battle Circle” was a 2010 Grammy nomination for “Best Instrumental Jazz Composition.” Most recently, the Gerald Clayton Trio released its second album, “Bond: The Paris Sessions,” and made its debut at the North Sea Jazz Festival in the Netherlands.

As part of the Saturday concert, the Lawrence Studio Orchestra and the Jazz Ensemble will perform original works written and conducted by John Clayton and accompanied by Gerald Clayton. The Jazz Ensemble also will perform a set of Clayton works scored for the Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra, one of the world’s premier big bands.

In addition to the two evening concerts, Lawrence will host more than 30 university, high school and middle school ensembles at part of  the 2011 Jazz Celebration Weekend. On Saturday, these ensembles will participate in daytime performances, educational clinics, and master classes with some of the finest jazz educators from across the country. All daytime  Saturday events are free and open to the public.

Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a world-class conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. Ranked among America’s best colleges, it was selected for inclusion in the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College.” Individualized learning, the development of multiple interests and community engagement are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,445 students from 44 states and 35 countries.

Jane Monheit, Kenny Wheeler Highlight Lawrence University Jazz Celebration Weekend’s 25th Year

Combine the vocal charisma of Jane Monheit, one of jazz’s hottest young vocalists, with the wide-ranging virtuosity of veteran trumpeter Kenny Wheeler and you have a bona fide “extravajazza” worthy of a celebration.

Monheit and Wheeler will headline the 25th edition of Lawrence University’s annual Jazz Celebration Weekend Nov. 11-12 at the Lawrence Memorial Chapel, 510 E. College Ave., Appleton.

Hailed as “jazz’s next sultry sweetie” by People magazine, Monheit performs Friday, Nov. 11 at 7:30 p.m. along with her quartet and the Lawrence Jazz Singers under the direction of Christine Salerno.

Wheeler, one of the jazz world’s most highly respected trumpet soloists, takes the stage Saturday evening, Nov. 12 for a 7:30 p.m. concert with the Lawrence University Jazz Ensemble under the direction of Fred Sturm and the Lawrence Jazz Trio.
Tickets for both concerts, ranging from $15 for students to $22 for adults, are available at the Lawrence University Box Office, 115 S., Drew St., Appleton, 920-832-6749.

Growing up in a musical family on Long Island listening to Ella Fitzgerald recordings, Monheit, 27, burst on the jazz scene in 1998 as a 20-year-old singer, earning second-place honors at the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competition. Two years later she released the first of her five albums, “Never Never Land“ with accompaniment by such notables as pianist Kenny Barron, bassist Ron Carter and saxophonist David “Fathead” Newman.

Monheit’s second album, “Come Dream with Me,” which featured saxophonist Michael Brecker and trumpeter Tom Harrell, entered the charts at no. 1 when it was released in May, 2001. She made her major label debut in 2004 with “Taking a Chance On Love“ on Sony Classical, which has remained on the Billboard Top 10 jazz chart since its release. Her latest CD, “The Season,” an 11-track holiday-themed collection of Christmas tunes, was released by Epic Records in mid-October.

Her performance career has taken Monheit to Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, the Kennedy Center and London’s Royal Festival Hall as well as the world’s most prestigious jazz festivals, including Monterey, JVC and North Sea. Following a 2002 concert in London, The Guardian hailed Monheit as a singer who “decorates a melody, lights up a lyric, but never loses the essential thread of the song itself.”

Born in Toronto, Canada, Wheeler, 75, has made his home in England since 1952. More than 50 years into his career, Wheeler has garnered more critical acclaim than popular recognition, but remains one of Europe’s most sought-after trumpet and flugelhorn players.

Influenced by the likes of Miles Davis and Fats Navarro, Wheeler has toured with bands led by Anthony Braxton, Ian Carr and Mike Gibbs and has collaborated with such jazz stars as Brecker and Keith Jarrett during his career.

Wheeler’s discography includes more than 20 recordings, including his 1975 solo album “Song For Someone,” which earned him Melody Maker Album of the Year honors. His most recent release, 2005’s “What Now” features Wheeler with bassist Dave Holland, pianist John Taylor and tenor saxophonist Chris Potter.

In addition to his noted performance skills, Wheeler is equally regarded as a composer, especially his works for jazz orchestras and large ensembles. He also remains an active music educator and is a member of the faculty at the prestigious Canadian Banff Workshop.

While Monheit and Wheeler may headline Lawrence’s Jazz Weekend, they are only part of the two-day celebration. More than 40 high school and middle school jazz ensembles from throughout Wisconsin and the Midwest will perform in seven educational workshop sites throughout the day on Friday.

From 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, the Lawrence Memorial Chapel stage will showcase continuous performances by visiting artist and educators, Lawrence jazz big bands, combos and the Faculty Jazz Sextet. All of the Saturday daytime performances are free and open to the public

This year’s visiting clinicians include Michelle Weir, the vocal jazz director at UCLA and co-conductor of the World Youth Choir; Matt Harris, one-time pianist/arranger with Maynard Ferguson and Buddy Rich and current director of jazz studies at the University of California, Northridge; Clay Jenkins, jazz professor at the Eastman School of Music in New York and former jazz trumpet soloist with Stan Kenton, Harry James, Buddy Rich and Count Basie; Steve Sveum, instrumental music teacher at Sun Prairie High School whose jazz ensemble has been a four-time national finalist in Jazz at Lincoln Center’s “Essentially Ellington” jazz festival; and Jennifer Scovell, vocal jazz director at McNally Smith College of Music in St. Paul, Minn.

Launched in 1981 as a way to bring professional jazz artists to the campus, establish a non-competitive jazz festival and promote jazz education, Lawrence’s Jazz Celebration Weekend has evolved into one of the area’s premier jazz events, hosting a veritable “Who’s Who” of jazz luminaries during its storied history, among them Dizzy Gillespie, Wynton Marsalis, Bobby McFerrin, Chick Corea, Wayne Shorter and Diana Krall.

“When we started the festival in 1981, we had 60 instrumental students from four local high schools in attendance and presented a single concert,” said Sturm, director of jazz and improvisational music at Lawrence.

“Within five years, we had grown to the point where we had more than a thousand vocal and instrumental students coming in from 60 schools throughout the Midwest and concert headliners like Dizzy Gillespie and Gerry Mulligan. Over the years, the lure of Jazz Celebration Weekend has been the performances by international jazz stars and our unique non-competitive festival philosophy.”