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Student Union Board hosts 60th annual Collegiate Jazz Festival

| Friday, February 23, 2018

This weekend, collegiate bands from across the nation will travel to South Bend to perform in Notre Dame’s 60th annual Collegiate Jazz Festival (CJF). The festival — which is the oldest in the nation — also features a panel of world-renowned jazz musicians, who serve as performance adjudicators throughout the event and participate in a “Judges’ Jam” on the first night of performances.

This year’s CJF will feature jazz bands and ensembles from Western Michigan, the University of Illinois at Chicago, Roosevelt University, Lee University, Columbia College and Alma College, as well as Notre Dame’s own Jazz Band 1 and New Orleans Brass Band, junior Kyle Miller, the event’s lead programmer, said.

“This has been in the works since last June,” he said.

The CJF committee, a program of SUB, has 10 members who all help with planning and running the event. The committee also collaborates with Notre Dame’s music department to pick judges for the performances.

We actually have musicians reach out to us, asking to judge at the festival,” Miller said. “[Assistant director of bands] Larry Dwyer helps us make a decision.”

Each band performs for an audience and the panel of judges, and they are then given the opportunity to have their performances critiqued by a judge in a brief clinic.

The event draws crowds from both Notre Dame and the surrounding community to Washington Hall, where the festival takes place on Friday and Saturday nights. A “preview night” is also held Thursday evening, during which Notre Dame’s Jazz Band 2 performs.

CJF is notable for its featuring of a wide range of talented jazz bands and professional musicians, but it also offers Notre Dame’s own jazz bands a chance to showcase their sound.

“Performing for CJF is a great time, as we show the work that we put in year round,” sophomore Saul Cortez, a bass trombonist in the University‘s Jazz Band 1, said. “We also enjoy having our best instrumentalists perform some of the most exciting and moving solos that you can only experience if you paid to watch professional jazz musicians.”

And now that the festival is set to get underway, Miller said he hopes turnout from the student population will be high given the quality of the performers coming in.

“The type of jazz played by each band ranges from traditional jazz to New Orleans style to Latin fusion,” Miller said. “We have some really great bands coming out this year, and we hope to see lots of students there.”

The festival begins Friday night at 7 p.m. in Washington Hall.

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About Kara Miecznikowski

Kara Miecznikowski is a Notre Dame senior majoring in biological sciences with a minor in journalism. Originally from Chesterton, Indiana, she currently lives in Howard Hall.

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