Upcoming jazz festival to feature over 30 bands from across the state

by Molly MishlerStaff Writer

Get ready to hear some toe-tapping, rhythm-centered music. The third annual Jazz Festival is Jan. 24-25 in Lekberg Hall.

Over 30 bands from across the state will be arriving today to compete for a spot to qualify in the Iowa Jazz Contest. There are four classes in Iowa and a band from each class could qualify.

Simpson is also bringing in three clinicians from across the country to help out and judge the bands. Dr. Robert Knop from Cal-State in San Bernardino, James Bunte from the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music, and Dr. Andrew Heglund from the University of Nevada, Reno.

When the festival began three years ago, it started out with 18 bands competing and the festival only lasting one day. The next year 20 bands were brought in to compete. This year brings the biggest change in that bands are being brought from all across the state, from both large and some small schools. The festival will also last two days as opposed to one.

There is a lot of preparation that goes into the two-day long event. Dave Camwell, assistant professor of music, spends time preparing by going over the possibilities of bringing in different adjudicators each year; as well as arranging flight and room reservations for them.

“The student organization of IBA, the Iowa Bandmasters Association, is the real key to the success of the whole weekend,” Camwell said. “It also helps that we have a very supportive department and this is aware because of the recruitment results that come from it.”

Jay Nugent, instructor of instrumental music, is one of the faculty members that supports Camwell and looks forward to the event each year.

“It’s a really good event for Simpson because it enables high school students to see what we have to offer,” Nugent said. “It’s also a really creative recruitment opportunity.”

Students in the IBA chapter are required to help out the two days, but most enjoy the festival as well.

“On one level it’s a great accomplishment for the IBA chapter,” junior Carl Rowles said. “We are able to come together to achieve one common goal. The work is an incredible accomplishment.”

Rowles also enjoys the festival because he’s able to meet many band directors from across the state and learn from their teaching techniques.

“I look forward to it because I’m able to meet lots of people and directors,” Rowles said. “What the clinicians teach to the other bands, I retain so when I’m out teaching I can use the advice to re-teach to others.”

Sophomore Katherine Simpson agrees that one can learn a lot from the different directors, not just the adjudicators.

“It’s a great opportunity to hear the high school bands perform and see what the other directors do and learn from them”, Simpson said. “I feel it’s important to participate so I can see what’s going on in the field and so we can all be better directors in the future.”