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Jazz ensembles prepare for high-profile shows

Jan. 12, 2006

KALAMAZOO--Gold Company, Western Michigan University's award-winning vocal jazz ensemble, and two other WMU music groups are set to play high-profile concerts in the coming weeks.

Gold Company, a 16-voice ensemble backed by an eight-piece jazz instrumental group, is set to perform Saturday, Jan. 14, in New York City at the annual convention of the International Association of Jazz Education. A second WMU ensemble, named the Kruziki Transatlantica Quintet and composed of four current WMU music students and one recent graduate of the WMU School of Music, also will perform on Friday at the convention.

More than 7,000 people are expected to attend the conference, making it the largest gathering of professional and student jazz musicians, music industry representatives and jazz enthusiasts in the world, says Dr. Stephen Zegree, director of Gold Company and the WMU Bobby McFerrin Professor of Jazz.

"We are truly honored to have two ensembles giving featured performances," Zegree says. "This is a testimonial to the excellence of our jazz studies program and our extraordinary students."

Just six days after its New York appearance, Gold Company will hit the stage again, this time at the Michigan Music Conference, a gathering of music educators across the state. Also representing WMU at the event will be the University Jazz Orchestra.

For almost 60 years, the Michigan Music Conference was known as the Midwestern Music Conference and held at the University of Michigan. The two-day event was renamed and moved this year to DeVos Place in Grand Rapids.

"We are also thrilled and honored to be a part of the first-ever Michigan Music Conference in Grand Rapids," Zegree says.

Gold Company also is gearing up for an April performance in New York City's venerable Carnegie Hall and its annual Miller Auditorium concert set for Feb. 11.

Media contact: Mark Schwerin, (269) 387-8400, mark.schwerin@wmich.edu

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