55th annual Elmhurst University Jazz Festival begins Feb. 24

  • The Grammy Award winning Vanguard Jazz Orchestra will be one of the featured performers on Saturday, Feb. 26, during the 55th annual Elmhurst University Jazz Festival.

    The Grammy Award winning Vanguard Jazz Orchestra will be one of the featured performers on Saturday, Feb. 26, during the 55th annual Elmhurst University Jazz Festival. Courtesy of Vanguard Jazz Orchestra

 
By Desiree Chen
Elmhurst University
Updated 2/17/2022 11:35 PM

The Vanguard Jazz Orchestra, John Beasley's MONK'estra, and the Elmhurst University Jazz Band will be among the featured artists at the 55th annual Elmhurst University Jazz Festival, which audiences can attend in person or remotely this year.

The exciting lineup of guest artists also includes trumpeter and recording artist Wayne Bergeron, saxophonist and composer Denis DiBlasio, and Grammy-nominated trombonist Steve Wiest. They all will serve as adjudicators at the Festival, which will be held from Thursday, Feb. 24, through Sunday, Feb. 27.

 
John Beasley and MONK'estra, a 15-piece big band, will perform on Friday, Feb. 25, during the 55th annual Elmhurst University Jazz Festival.
John Beasley and MONK'estra, a 15-piece big band, will perform on Friday, Feb. 25, during the 55th annual Elmhurst University Jazz Festival. - Courtesy of MONK'estra

One of the oldest and best-known collegiate jazz festivals in the country, the Elmhurst University Jazz Festival welcomes top college and university jazz bands from across the country to take part in four days of performances and education.

The bands take turns performing for some of the greatest names in professional jazz today, who offer critiques and honors, and then give a performance of their own.

Wayne Bergeron has recorded with artists in contemporary jazz and pop, running the stylistic gamut from Ray Charles to Green Day.
Wayne Bergeron has recorded with artists in contemporary jazz and pop, running the stylistic gamut from Ray Charles to Green Day. - Courtesy of Wayne Bergeron
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In 2021, after the 54th Jazz Festival became the first in its history to be presented entirely online, the overwhelmingly positive response inspired this year's festival to be offered both in person in Hammerschmidt Memorial Chapel, and via livestream.

The festival kicks off at noon on Thursday, Feb. 24, with the High School Invitational, made possible by the generous support of the Sylvia and William W. Gretsch Memorial Foundation. Bands from Lakes Community, Hinsdale Central, West Aurora and Northview high schools as well as the Youth Jazz Ensemble of DuPage will be featured.

Denis DiBlasio, executive director of the Maynard Ferguson Institute of Jazz at Rowan University, will be featured at the 55th annual Elmhurst University Jazz Festival.
Denis DiBlasio, executive director of the Maynard Ferguson Institute of Jazz at Rowan University, will be featured at the 55th annual Elmhurst University Jazz Festival. - Courtesy of Denis DiBlasio

The invitational will end with a feature performance by the guest artist/adjudicators and the Elmhurst University Jazz Band.

College and university band performances begin on Friday, Feb. 25, and that evening's feature performance by John Beasley's MONK'estra begins at 7:30 p.m.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

On Saturday, Feb. 26, a clinic and master class with Bergeron, DiBlasio and Wiest begins another day of college performances, followed that evening with performances by the acclaimed Elmhurst University Jazz Band and the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra.

The Sunday, Feb. 27, program begins at noon with Chicago-area and Midwestern college and university ensembles, including bands from Harper College, Roosevelt University, and Michigan State and Purdue universities; and concludes with a performance by the guest artist/adjudicators with the Elmhurst University Jazz Band.

The 55th annual Elmhurst University Jazz Festival will feature Grammy Award nominated trombonist and composer Steve Wiest.
The 55th annual Elmhurst University Jazz Festival will feature Grammy Award nominated trombonist and composer Steve Wiest. - Courtesy of Steve Wiest

For more information and to purchase tickets for the 55th Annual Elmhurst University Jazz Festival, visit elmhurst.edu/jazzfestival.

To protect the health of our community, campus visitors will be required to wear a mask during all indoor events, regardless of vaccination status. This requirement may change to reflect any new public health guidance.

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