LUJE takes it on the road -rws -dlh

Reid Stratton

Earlier this month, the Lawrence University Jazz Ensemble got a chance to show high school kids in the Chicago area what college jazz has to offer. Participating in the Frank Mantooth Jazz Festival, earlier it was known as the New Trier Jazz Festival, members of LUJE had the opportunity to play in a significant festival in the Chicago area and hear other college and professional groups perform.
On Feb. 5, LUJE drove down to New Trier High School, the venue of the 21-year-old festival that was started with the goal of keeping the big band jazz format alive. Each year, the festival invites one university jazz ensemble in addition to a few professional groups. The performances were broadcast on the radio and the internet under the impressively able and organized hands of high school tech crews ********– there is, in fact, a video recording of the LUJE performance on the Jazz Festival’s website. The focus of the festival is the students that come from twenty-five junior and senior high schools for clinics and performances over the weekend. For this reason, the festival is an ideal chance for LUJE to showcase the Lawrence jazz department, and the conservatory in general, to potential Lawrentians.
While the performance opportunity for band members was not something to be missed, the general feeling after the performance was one of disappointment. Junior trombonist James Hall cited the stresses of travel, ambitious music and a new venue as causes that resulted in a less than ideal display for the students. That did not, however, keep many students from shaking hands with and congratulating the band members afterward.

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