Jazz Festival to Celebrate 30th Year with Two Big Concerts

April 2, 2012

MANSFIELD, PA—The Mansfield University Jazz Festival will mark its 30th anniversary with two concerts to be held on back-to-back nights in Steadman Theatre.

New York Voices will headline the Vocal Jazz Festival Concert on Thursday, April 26 at 7:30 p.m.

On Friday, April 27 at 7:30 p.m., the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra will take center stage at Steadman Theatre for the Instrumental Jazz Festival Concert.

Celebrating their 20th anniversary this year, New York Voices (NYV) is a Grammy Award winning vocal ensemble renowned for their excellence in jazz and the art of group singing. Like the great groups that have come before, such as Lambert, Hendricks and Ross, Singers Unlimited, and Manhattan Transfer, they have learned from the best and taken the art form to new levels. Their interests are rooted in jazz, but often Brazilian, R & B, classical, and pop influences are infused with equal creativity and authenticity.

Individually, the four members are involved in a variety of projects including solo performances and recordings, teaching, writing and arranging. The group hopes to continue to explore all styles of music, and expand their audience for years to come.

Along with their extensive concert performances and recording dates, NYV also works in the field of education, giving workshops and clinics to high school and college music students. NYV members Peter Eldridge, Darmon Meader, Lauren Kinhan and Kim Nazarian will work with vocal jazz ensembles from Pennsylvania, New York and Delaware and present clinics for students and directors during the festival.

The Thursday concert will feature the Mansfieldians, under the direction of Sheryl Monkelien, and the MU Jazz Ensemble, directed by Michael Galloway, with NYV.

For more on New York Voices, go to newyorkvoices.com

The Vanguard Jazz Orchestra is the current title for a band that began life as the Thad Jones-Mel Lewis Orchestra in 1966 and has performed continuously ever since.

Booked for three Mondays in February at the legendary Village Vanguard, those original three weeks have become a permanent gig spanning over four decades. The band has survived the deaths of both of its original leaders and today, known simply as the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra, the band is run as a cooperative effort by the members themselves. When asked who was “fronting” the band one of the veterans was heard snapping “…the music!”

Critical acclaim, numerous recordings, Grammy Awards and international success are all a part of the history of this outstanding band. Several of the current key members played for Jones and Lewis, so the original precepts of sound and swinging are proudly held and displayed while the other original precepts of creativity and experimentation are nurtured and encouraged.

To learn more about the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra, go to vanguardjazzorchestra.com

Tickets for each concert are $20. They are available online at music.mansfield.edu, by calling (570) 662-4710 or at the door. Seating is limited so reservations are recommended.

MU students with ID will be admitted free.

The MU Jazz Festival is sponsored by the Mansfield University Music Department. The Jazz Ensemble and Mansfieldians are supported in part by student activity fees. 

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