53rd Annual Elmhurst College Jazz Festival Begins Feb. 20

January 23, 2020 | by the Office of Marketing and Communications

The Legendary Count Basie Orchestra and the Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra will be among the featured performers at this year’s Elmhurst College Jazz Festival, one of the oldest and best-known collegiate jazz festivals in the country.

The impressive lineup of guest artists also includes pianist/organist Bobby Floyd, drummer and composer Dennis Mackrel, trumpeter Bobby Shew and saxophonist Gary Smulyan, who all will serve as adjudicators at the Festival.

Each February, top college jazz bands come to the Elmhurst College campus for three days of performances and education. The bands take turns performing for some of the greatest names in professional jazz today, who offer critiques and award a variety of honors. The professionals cap off each night of the Festival with a rousing performance of their own.

  • The Festival begins at 12:30 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 20, with the High School Invitational, followed by a feature performance by the guest artist/adjudicators and the Elmhurst College Jazz Band under the direction of Doug Beach.
  • The Friday, Feb. 21, evening session begins at 7:30 p.m. with performances by college ensembles and The Legendary Count Basie Orchestra directed by Scotty Barnhart.
  • On Saturday evening beginning at 7:30 p.m., The Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra is the featured performance.
  • The Sunday performances begin 11:30 a.m. with several Chicago-area college ensembles, and conclude with a performance by the guest artist/adjudicators with the Elmhurst College Jazz Band.

This year, some of the participating college bands include DePaul University, University of Illinois–Chicago, University of Wisconsin–Whitewater, Columbia College, University of Kentucky, Harper College and Wayne State University. 

The 53rd Annual Elmhurst College Jazz Festival will be held in Hammerschmidt Memorial Chapel. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit elmhurst.edu/jazzfestival.

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