Jazz Orchestra wins perfect score at Notre Dame collegiate fest

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Photo of WMU's University Jazz Orchestra.

University Jazz Orchestra

KALAMAZOO—The Western Michigan University Jazz Orchestra recently won perfect scores from all five judges and pocketed Outstanding Band and four Outstanding Soloist awards at the 56th annual University of Notre Dame Collegiate Jazz Festival.

The festival, held Friday and Saturday, Feb. 28-March 1, is the oldest and one of the most prestigious collegiate jazz festivals in the nation, bringing college bands from across the country together to perform. A group of world-class, professional jazz musicians judge the bands.

"Wycliffe Gordon was our clinician," says Tom Knific, WMU professor of music and orchestra director. "He basically verbally hugged the band for 15 minutes and concluded with, 'It was a masterful performance.'"

Members, outstanding soloists

Orchestra members taking home Outstanding Soloist honors were Rufus Ferguson, piano; Blake Cross, sax; Dominic Carioti, sax; and Andrew Rose, bass.

Additional orchestra members are Lasse Grunewald, Michael Hudson, Marcus Johnson, Paul Hardaker, Curtis James, Elliot Bild, Austin Hunt, Luke Marlowe, Evan Clifton, A.J. Muusse, Aaron Buczek, Kellen Boersma and Dave Van Haren

The orchestra also has been making waves in the studio and is in the midst of releasing its seventh compact disc, "Travel Notes." The CD, put out by Chicago-based BluJazz Records, will be officially released at concerts on Sunday, April 27, at The Union in Kalamazoo and at The Jazz Showcase on Tuesday, April 29, in Chicago.

For more information on upcoming events, visit wmujazz.com.