ELLENSBURG, Wash. (December 27, 2012) — Central Washington University is the only university on the West Coast invited to perform at the prestigious national Jazz Educators Network (JEN) conference January 2-5 in Atlanta, Georgia. CWU Jazz Band I and Vocal Jazz I (pictured) earned featured performance slots at the conference, which draws 3,000 jazz artists, educators, students, and music industry leaders annually.
Todd Shiver, CWU Department of Music chair, said it would be remarkable for one ensemble to win an invitation from JEN’s rigorous audition process. Qualifying both instrumental and vocal jazz ensembles marks CWU’s music program as elite in the nation.
“Very few, if any, other university jazz programs are demonstrating such excellence in performance, teaching, and arranging,” said Shiver, adding that the department has 11 jazz ensembles. “There simply are no other programs in the nation performing consistently with this breadth, at this level.”
This is the third consecutive year CWU jazz ensembles have earned exclusive invitations to perform at national conferences. Vocal Jazz 1, conducted by Vijay Singh, performed at the national American Choral Directors Association conference in Chicago in 2011. Jazz Band 1, conducted by Chris Bruya, performed at last year’s JEN conference in Louisville, Kentucky.
CWU Vocal Jazz 1 is one of just seven high school, college or university vocal jazz groups invited to perform at the JEN conference and one of five invited to perform on the Main Stage during the evening headliner concerts. Each evening, the Main Stage events host more than 2,500 people—one of the largest audiences of jazz professionals in the country. Vocal Jazz 1 will open the Friday night 8 p.m. main stage concert and also will perform an hour-long concert Saturday on the Impressions Stage.
For more information about jazz at CWU and for sound clips, visit here.
In addition, Columbia Basin College, in Moses Lake, had its free-form Vocal Jazz group also earn a performance spot in the JEN college division. CWU alumnus Dave Cazier directs the ensemble.
JEN is an international non-profit 501(c)(3) organization, based in the United States, which seeks to advance jazz education, promote performance, and develop new audiences. JEN was founded in 2008 in Chicago and now has more than 1,500 members in all 50 states, seven Canadian provinces, and 22 countries around the world.